Guns N’ Roses: Appetite for Destruction (1987) by Ryan Hughes 

“I get up around 7, get out of bed around 9…”

This post was contributed by Ryan Hughes of Crucial Blend. Check them out at http://www.crucialblend.com.

I was very young and a little late to get my hands on it, but when I did, I knew I had found something special.

I had never heard an album so powerful before. Songs with such intensity and aggression. Listening to ‘Appetite for Destruction’ made me feel rebellious.

I was just starting to explore music beyond the classic rock that I was hearing from my parents, when I came across Guns N’ Roses’ debut release. Everything about it intrigued me. The banned original album cover was for it’s time (and still today) some pretty intense artwork, portraying a half naked girl laying on the street, ravaged from a robot’s path of terror. The album starts off with the legendary guitar riff of “Welcome to the Jungle” and the howling vocals of Axl Rose that combine to form what is arguably one of the best album intros in Rock n’ Roll history.

But it was more than just the hit singles that were playing on MTV that caught my attention. It was the rest of the album’s tunes that really appealed to me. Songs like “Night Train”, “Mr. Brownstone” and “My Michelle” had such emotion and catchy melodies that I couldn’t stop playing them. I had to get my hands on everything to do with Guns N’ Roses. I would insist on playing the album anytime I was in the car with family members. And when songs like “Out Ta Get Me” came on and the lyrics “Cause I got something that’s been building up inside, for so FUCKING long” would play, I would talk loudly over the song to avoid getting any grief. I had never heard cursing in music before! And Axl’s tales of the seedy, Hollywood rock n’ roll lifestyle really piqued my curiosity.

My love for the band would only grow after seeing music videos and performances of them, getting a glimpse of what they looked like and how volatile they were on stage. I loved the explosive energy of their live performances and the fact that Axl could lose it on stage at anytime. After purchasing their follow up albums, GN’R started getting some bad press for their explicit content and my CD’s soon became contraband. “You shouldn’t let Ryan listen to them, they have incredibly violent and misogynistic lyrics,” I recall one of my Mom’s friends telling her. That made me want to listen even more. They were dangerous. Axl’s vocals sounded like he was screaming through a bed of nails and Slash’s guitar licks and stage presence was so memorizing that it inspired me to pick up the guitar and learn to play it myself.

What I also liked about the album and about the band was their ability to go from a heavy, raunchy tune to a beautifully written ballad like “Paradise City” or “Sweet Child O’ Mine” a song that now lives on as one of the most popular love songs of all time. The intensity and emotion of these wonderfully crafted songs is what did it for me.

‘Appetite for Destruction’ will not only live on as the biggest selling debut record from a band but also as a perfect example of raw talent coming together at the right place and the right time. If for some reason you don’t already have this album, do yourself a favor, get a copy and enjoy this piece of Rock n’ Roll history.

Suitable for: Cruising the sunset strip

Appropriate playback device: Anything loud

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