Out Of Every Guns N' Roses Album, One Stands Above The Rest

When Guns N' Roses came onto the mainstream rock music scene with the release of their first album, "Appetite for Destruction," in 1987, it was obvious these guys were the real deal. Rolling in on the shirt tails of the '80s hair band era, GN'R members Axl Rose, Saul "Slash" Hudson, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin, and Steven Alder showed the world they were something more. They had an edge and a raunchy honesty in their lyrics that harkened back to other rock greats who shared a similar authenticity, like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, plus they had the attitudes and the musical chops to pull it off.

Formed in 1985 in Los Angeles by Rose and Stradlin, Guns N' Roses' blue-hot explosive arrival on the music scene would slowly burn to embers as the rock star lifestyle did its damage. Britannica reported issues like substance abuse problems, violence at some of their concerts, a changing lineup, and accusations of the band penning homophobic and racist lyrics all cumulated into the original band's demise. 

But the cool thing about music is that once it's recorded and people can buy it, no matter what happens to the musicians who created it, the music is here to stay for as long as people are interested. Guns N' Roses released six studio albums, a live record, and a greatest hits album. Of all of their efforts, one stands above the rest.

Guns N' Roses did not find commercial success with all of their albums

The bulk of Guns N' Roses albums were released between 1987 and 1993, in the years before the band disintegrated. But in 2008, frontman Axl Rose released the album "Chinese Democracy" under the name Guns N' Roses, a name he retained, even though none of the other original members played on the record, per Album Liner Notes. The record, which took 11 years to finish, according to Ultimate Classic Rock, performed poorly on the Billboard charts. It peaked at No. 3 but only stayed on the charts for 15 weeks, per Billboard

Still, it wasn't the worst reception a GN'R album ever got. That distinction goes to their 1999 "Live Era '87 — '93." According to Billboard, the album peaked at No. 45 and only stayed on the charts for 13 weeks. The last album Guns N' Roses recorded before they disbanded, the unfortunately titled "The Spaghetti Incident?," may have been a sign of the bands waning popularity as the grunge scene, spearheaded by bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden, was taking its place at the top of the rock 'n' roll food chain. The record only spent 22 weeks on the Billboard charts, peaking at No. 4. 

The band's sophomore album "Lies" spawned the monster hit, "Patience," a song later covered by Soundgarden's Chris Cornell.  Yet the 1988 somewhat pared down compilation album itself was not considered a standout album compared to their first or subsequent efforts. 

GN'R got less gritty and more fancy with their double LP, Use Your Illusion

Off of the heels of "Appetite for Destruction" and "Lies," Guns N' Roses seemed to take on the mantra "go big or go home." In 1991, they released two albums on the same day in September. "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II" came in hot with bigger sounds produced with the use of backup singers and pianos, per Loudwire. The record was accompanied by high end, theatrical music videos that were a whole different animal than the gritty live performance and bar-hang videos that GN'R fans were used to from earlier videos like "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Paradise City." 

Still, according to Loudwire, within two hours of the releases, the albums sold 500,000 copies and topped the charts. According to Billboard, "Use Your Illusion I" peaked at No. 2 and stayed on the charts for 108 weeks. "Use Your Illusion II" peaked at No. 1, then kept a spot in the charts for 106 weeks. 

Appetite for Destruction is still the bestselling debut album of all time

Though successful, the popularity of the "Use Your Illusion" albums never touched GN'R's debut record. That's why the standout record for Guns N' Roses, the one that Loudersound said made the band, was their debut album, "Appetite for Destruction." 

The ferocious and hard rocking record pulled no punches with its in your face, unapologetic, seedy, sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll themes. That record reached out and grabbed us, held us by the shirt and made us listen. And we loved it. There was nothing quite like it. There was — and still is — no denying, "Appetite for Destruction" is hard rock at its finest. 

"Appetite for Destruction" was released in July 1987, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1988. It stayed on the charts longer than any of GN'R's other albums, at 147 weeks. According to Minnesota Public Radio's The Current, "Appetite for Destruction" has sold more than 30 million copies around the world and is still the best-selling debut album of all time.

What's more, 29 years after its original release, the album found itself back in the top 10 on the Billboard 200 charts after releasing a deluxe remastered issue in June 2018, according to Billboard. "'Appetite's' initial reviews ranged from good to great, but today, the album is almost universally viewed as a game changer by critics and fans alike," another Billboard article noted in 2017.