Appetite for Destruction – Guns N’ Roses (1987)

*****

By the time Guns N’ Roses arrived at the final tracklist for their landmark debut LP Appetite for Destruction, it already sounded like a best of compilation. The group had already recorded a number of tracks that would later appear across the Use Your Illusion albums, but narrowed its focus to the best of the best featuring tracks lifted from individual members (Izzy Stradlin’s “Rocket Queen and Duff McKagan’s “It’s So Easy”), now legendary Rock anthems (“Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City”) and a power ballad so strong that it’s a shame to consider most others in the same category. You may not find “Sweet Child o’ Mine” in most hardcore Guns fans’ playlists, but that track’s radio airplay is essentially single-handedly responsible for saving Appetite for Destruction from the bargain bin and launching it to become one of the best-selling albums ever released.

Today, the appeal of Appetite remains as strong as ever, cementing it as perhaps the greatest pure Hard Rock album ever recorded. While the album’s painstaking production featuring 18-hour workdays from producer Mike Clink, individual line recordings from perfectionist Axl Rose, and multi-layered guitar magnum opuses from Slash is notable, the often overlooked secret to Appetite‘s greatness lies in the cohesiveness of a collection of truly skilled musicians all hitting their stride at exactly the same time. What would “Rocket Queen” or “Nightrain” be without Duff McKagan’s unstoppable bass lines? What would “Mr. Brownstone” be without Izzy Stradlin’s razor sharp rhythm? What would “Paradise City” be without Steven Adler’s joyful pulse? It’s hard to imagine. But together, it all comes together to create a sound and a tracklist that is truly legendary.

Essential Tracks: “Out Ta Get Me,” “My Michelle,” “Think About You,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “You’re Crazy,” “Anything Goes”

Masterpieces: “Welcome to the Jungle,” “It’s So Easy,” “Nightrain,” “Mr. Brownstone,” “Paradise City,” “Rocket Queen”

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