Five of the Best: Guns N’ Roses

Excitement was at fever pitch when it was announced the Guns N’ Roses was not only reforming, but the group would be performing on our shores.

The ‘real’ Guns N’ Roses – featuring Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan – will perform at Western Springs Stadium in Auckland on February 4 as part of the band’s Not In This Lifetime tour. Click here to buy tickets now.

Throughout the 1980s and 90s there were few bands bigger or more popular than Guns N’ Roses. The rock band enjoyed enormous success, selling more than 100 million albums worldwide and releasing hit after hit.

To celebrate the band’s upcoming tour, we have selected Guns N’ Roses as the subject of today’s Five of the Best. Narrowing down the band’s enormous catalogue has been no easy task, but we hope you will enjoy this trip down memory lane reliving the biggest and best hits of one of the world’s greatest rock bands, Guns N’ Roses.

5 Live and Let Die

While Live and Let Die is a classic Guns N’ Roses hit, most people will also know it as the Bond theme for the film of the same name starring Roger Moore as 007. The song was written by former Beatle Paul McCartney and his wife Linda and was performed by the couple’s band Wings in 1973. The track received a significant makeover when the Gunners got their hands on it and released a juiced-up rock version in 1991. Live and Let Die was the second single off Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion I studio album, which many people credit as the band’s moment of musical maturity. While the song was a classic to begin with, it is testament to Guns N’ Roses that they were able to take a popular track and very much make it their own. We love this song; check it out below.

Guns N' Roses - Live And Let Die (Live)

4 Paradise City

Guns N’ Roses burst onto the scene in a big way. In 1987, the band released Appetite for Destruction and it turned out music fans had an enormous appetite for the band with the album reaching the top of the US charts and selling more than 30 million copies. Paradise City was the fourth single off the album (two of the other singles are referred to below). As the story goes, Paradise City was written by the band members in the back of a rental van following a gig in San Francisco. The track is undeniably Guns N’ Roses and features a heavy Slash guitar riff that punctuates the entire song. This is an incredible song; in fact, Slash is on record claiming it is his favourite Gunners track. We hope you like it as much as we do.

Guns N' Roses - Paradise City (Official Music Video)

3 Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle is the song that introduced most people to Guns N’ Roses. While the track was actually the second single released off the band’s debut album (following It’s So Easy), it was the song that saw the guys flying up the charts. The song went to number 7 on US music charts and was actually hugely popular in New Zealand, peaking at number 6. Apparently Welcome to the Jungle was written by Axl Rose when he visited a friend in Seattle.  Axl recalled a riff Slash had played in his mother’s basement and when the music and lyrics came together, Welcome to the Jungle was born. It is a brilliant track and a very fine example of Guns N’ Roses’ work. Listen below, we know you will love it.

Guns N' Roses - Welcome To The Jungle

2 November Rain

Who doesn’t love an epically long rock song? At just under nine minutes, November Rain is one very long song, but somehow it keeps your interest from start to finish with not one single note out of place. (Fun Fact: November Rain is not actually the longest track on the Use Your Illusion 1 album. That title goes to Coma). The accompanying film clip is akin to a short film and is worth a watch if you have the time. November Rain was released in 1992 and it is a perfect example of a rock ballad. If reports are to be believed, Axl worked on the track from as early as 1983, but didn’t release it for close to a decade. In our opinion, it was worth the wait! The world agreed and November Rain was a top 10 hit throughout the world including in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, UK and many more countries.

Guns N' Roses - November Rain

1 Sweet Child O’ Mine

Any decent list of the top guitar riffs in history will have Sweet Child O’ Mine in one of the top positions. The opening of this song is instantly recognisable and undeniably catchy. While Guns N’ Roses has albums full of great songs, we could not go past Sweet Child O’ Mine as the quintessential GnR track. The song was the third single released off the band’s debut album, Appetite for Destruction (1987) and hit the top of the US music charts as well as the top 10 of many other charts throughout the world. Amazingly, the Slash guitar riff that is now so famous was actually disliked by the man himself as he simply used it as a string skipping, warm-up exercise. Luckily, the rest of the band knew gold when they heard it and one of rock’s most famous riffs was born.

Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine (Official Music Video)

Guns N’ Roses will perform at Western Springs Stadium in Auckland on February 4 as part of the band’s Not In This Lifetime tour. Click here to buy tickets now.