Few debut albums have signalled their intent with a better opening track than ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ from Guns N’ Roses’ debut album, Appetite For Destruction, which was released on 21 July 1987. The song became the band’s first single, but the second one to chart after the iconic, and wonderful, ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ topped the Billboard singles chart for two weeks in the summer of 1988.
With sales in excess of 30 million around the world, Appetite For Destruction features the classic Guns N’ Roses line-up: Axl Rose on vocals, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan on bass and drummer Steven Adler. The band signed to Geffen Records in March 1986 and by the time their album came out, there was not a massive following to catapult it into the charts. In fact, its rise to the top of the album chart started in August 1987 but it only reached No.1 a year later, after an early morning MTV screening of ‘Welcome To The Jungle’.
Guns N’ Roses’ first shows outside the US were in June 1987 at London’s iconic Marquee Club, and it was in Britain that ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ charted in the autumn of 1987, making it their first success on the singles chart anywhere in the world. ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, though failing to make the British Top 20, did help the album make it to No.5 in the UK charts, where it ultimately spent over three years – longer even than it charted in America. ‘Paradise City’, also from the album, was the band’s first record to make the Top 10 in Britain. G N’ R Lies was an eight-track album that was actually the band’s 1986 debut EP, Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide, coupled with four more tracks that made No.2 in America 1988; ‘Patience’ was the album’s only single and it made No.4 in America.
1991’s proper follow-up albums, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, which, though issued separately, are considered by many to be a double-album. Ironically, it was Use Your Illusion II that topped the chart in America, while its sister album made No.2; a feat repeated in Britain. In a further irony, it’s Use Your Illusion I that includes the biggest single from this period, ‘November Rain’.
Guns N’ Roses Appetite For Destruction: Locked N’ Loaded Edition box set is released on 29 June. Order the box set here.