154: GUNS N’ ROSES

It’s time for another one of those can’t-be-recommended-because-you-absolutely-already-know-them kinda band posts… Guns N’ Roses are one of the biggest rock bands on the planet – and while in a lot of other cases that level of success could be attributed to longevity, GnR have held this status for most their 30+ year career.

By straddling two scenes – the glam metal excess of the 1980s and the emotional hard rock of the early 90s (which would in part evolve into the grunge movement) – Guns N’ Roses were able to capture something special, drawing in a broad and eclectic fanbase. This quick ascent to worldwide recognition has given GnR that sort of ‘generation-spanning popularity’ that I’ve discussed in the past – it’s an adoration for the band that is passed from parent to kid, which is a remarkably rare thing. Of course, everything I’ve just said would be nothing if not for the quality of the actual music.

Amongst their relatively small back catalogue, Guns N’ Roses are responsible for many songs that would be considered genuine modern classics, and often included in lists of the greatest rock songs of all time. Songs like ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, ‘Paradise City’, and ‘November Rain’, carry global recognition and are true cultural touchstones.

Such is their level of fame, that original members are huge stars unto themselves. Axl Rose, probably one of the most unique and recognisable voices in rock, was even able to front AC/DC for a tour to great adoration. Meanwhile, Slash is possibly one of the most iconic guitarists on earth, and certainly one of the first people many people would bring up if asked to name a guitarist.

Five years ago, with Slash and Duff returning to the band, GnR’s “Not In This Lifetime… Tour” bumped them up to stadium status and cemented them as one of the biggest rock bands in history, though as I mentioned earlier, they’ve been undeniable for thirty years.