Despite being overtly influenced — both musically and visually — by heavyweights like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Hanoi Rocks, and Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses have always had a sound all their own.
As with many seminal genre acts, the key to their success is the distinctive dynamic between their vocalist (Axl Rose) and guitarist (Slash); that said, many other members — namely, drummers Steven Adler and Matt Sorum; bassist Duff McKagan, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, and keyboardist Dizzy Reed — played important parts, too. Together, they became arguably the biggest hard rock band of their generation.
Guns N’ Roses debut album, Appetite for Destruction, launched their career in a colossal way in 1987. Thirty-five years later, it remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. The band would follow that up with a pair of Use Your Illusion albums in 2021, and while they didn’t quite reach the heights of Appetite, they yielded a number of classic songs of their own.
Although they’ve received many accolades (including several American Music Awards, a Billboard Music Award, a few MTV Video Music Awards, and some Grammy Awards nominations), it hasn’t always been paradise for Guns N’ Roses. Indeed, they’ve faced several contentious lineup changes (Slash exited the band in 1996 and McKagan a year later), public outbursts, and lawsuits over the years, leading to interpersonal turmoil, the infamous Chinese Democracy album delay, and the like.
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Thankfully, Axl Rose and company reunited with Slash and McKagan in 2016 and have been going strong ever since. The band has a number of tour dates lined up for 2022 (tickets available here) and is set to release the new Hard Skool EP. Furthermore, GN’R are working on their first new album featuring Axl, Slash, and Duff in more than 30 years. In honor of their reemergence — as well as Axl’s 60th birthday (February 6th, 2022) — we’ve compiled the following list of the 10 best Guns N’ Roses tracks to whet your appetites.
— Jordan Blum,