Appetite for Destruction

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Appetite for Destruction
Studio album by Guns N' Roses
Released July 21, 1987
Recorded March–April 1987
Studio Rumbo Studios, Canoga Park, CA; Take One Studio, Burbank, CA; The Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA and Can Am Studio, Tarzana, CA
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Length 53:51
Label Geffen
Producer Mike Clink
Guns N' Roses chronology
Appetite for Destruction
G N' R Lies
Singles from Appetite for Destruction
  1. "It's So Easy"
    Released: June 15, 1987 (1987-06-15)
  2. "Welcome to the Jungle"
    Released: October 3, 1987 (1987-10-03)
  3. "Sweet Child o' Mine"
    Released: August 17, 1988 (1988-08-17)
  4. "Paradise City"
    Released: November 30, 1988 (1988-11-30)
  5. "Nightrain"
    Released: July 29, 1989 (1989-07-29)
Original Artwork
The original cover art for the album
The original cover art for the album

Appetite for Destruction is the debut studio album by the American rock band Guns N' Roses, released on July 21, 1987 on Geffen Records. It was well received by critics and topped the Billboard 200 chart. By September 2008, the album has been certified 18× platinum by the RIAA, making it the best-selling record released on Geffen and best-selling American debut.

The album has sold 30 million copies worldwide.

Background and recording[edit]

Axl Rose stated that many of the songs featured on the album had been written while the band had been performing on the Los Angeles club circuit, and a number of songs that would be featured on later Guns N' Roses albums were considered for Appetite for Destruction, such as "Back Off Bitch", "You Could Be Mine", "November Rain" and "Don't Cry". It is said that the reason for not putting "November Rain" on it was because they had already agreed to put "Sweet Child 'O Mine" on it and thus already had a ballad on the album (however, both Use Your Illusion albums would contain more than one ballad).[1][2]

The band started searching for someone to produce their debut, mostly recommendations made by Geffen executives Alan Niven and Tom Zutaut. Demos were recorded under both Manny Charlton and Spencer Proffer, with some work made with the latter being issued in the EP Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide.[3] One of the interviewed prospects was Kiss' Paul Stanley, rejected after insisting on changes to Steven Adler's drum setup and the songs. The band considered Robert John Lange, but he proved too expensive to hire. Eventually Mike Clink, who had produced several Triumph records, was chosen,[4] for being the first to record the band exactly the way they wanted.[3]

After some weeks of rehearsal, the band entered Daryl Dragon's Rumbo Recorders in January 1987. Two weeks were spent recording basic tracks, with Clink splicing together the best takes with his razor blade. Clink worked eighteen-hour days for the next month, with Slash overdubbing in the afternoon and evening, and Rose performing vocals. Slash struggled to find a guitar sound before coming up with a Gibson Les Paul copy plugged into a Marshall amplifier. He spent hours with Clink paring down and structuring his solos. The total budget for the album was about $370,000.[2] According to drummer Steven Adler, the percussion was done in just six days, but Rose's vocals took much longer as he insisted on doing them one line at a time, in a perfectionism that drove the rest of the band away from the studio as he worked.[5] Final overdubs and mixing were done at Mediasound Studios, and mastering at Sterling Sound, New York City.[6]

Many of the songs on Appetite For Destruction began as solo tracks that individual band members wrote separate from the band, only to be completed later. These songs include "It's So Easy" (Duff McKagan) and "Think About You" (Izzy Stradlin). "Rocket Queen" was an unfinished Slash/McKagan/Adler song that was written from their earlier band Road Crew, whereas "Anything Goes", written by Hollywood Rose and included in their compilation album The Roots of Guns N' Roses, was later re-written for Appetite. Most of the songs reflect the band's personal experiences and daily life, such as "Welcome to the Jungle", some of the lyrics of which Rose wrote after he encountered a man in New York shortly after arriving there from Indiana in 1980,[7] and "Mr. Brownstone", which is about the band's problems with heroin. Lyrics to some of the songs focus on the band members' younger years, like "Out ta Get Me", which focuses on lead singer Axl Rose's constant trouble with the law as a youth in Indiana.[8] The band also based song lyrics on some of their female friends, reflected in the songs "Sweet Child o' Mine", "My Michelle", "You're Crazy", and "Rocket Queen".

Album cover[edit]

The album's original cover art, based on Robert Williams' painting "Appetite for Destruction", depicted a robotic rapist about to be punished by a metal avenger. After several music retailers refused to stock the album, the label compromised and put the controversial cover art inside, replacing it with an image depicting a cross and skulls of the five band members (designed by Billy White Jr., originally as a tattoo), each skull representing one member of the band: Izzy Stradlin, top skull; Steven Adler, left skull; Axl Rose, center skull; Duff McKagan, right skull; and Slash, bottom skull. The photographs used for the back of the album and liner notes were taken by Robert John, Marc Canter, Jack Lue, Leonard McCardie, and Greg Freeman. The original cover was supposed to be on the 2008 re-pressing of the vinyl, though the record label replaced it with the "Skulls" art at the last minute.[9] The re-pressing of the vinyl, though, is the first Guns N' Roses release to have the Parental Advisory label printed on the artwork; previously, like on the CD, this was a sticker on the cellophane wrap and later (on the CD and cassette releases) on the case itself.

In an interview with That Metal Show in 2011, Axl stated his original idea for the cover art was to be the photo of the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding, which was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1986, but Geffen refused it saying it was "in bad taste".[10] The original album with the original cover art, along with a record contract, two gold and platinum album awards and memorabillia were sold on the second episode of Storage Hunters.

Reception and legacy[edit]

Appetite for Destruction debuted at number 182 on the Billboard 200 in the week of August 29, 1987. It did not top the chart until August 6, 1988, after the band had toured and received radio and music video airplay with singles such as "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Paradise City".[11] It spent four nonconsecutive weeks at number-one on the chart,[12] and a total of 147 weeks on the Billboard 200.[13] Music critics at the time complained that the album's massive success with consumers was fostered by the taboo of "sex, drugs and rock & roll" during the 1980s, when much of the cultural atmosphere in the United States became informed by the Reagan-Bush Administration, the AIDS crisis, and the popularity of MTV.[14] In a contemporary review, Dave Ling of Metal Hammer dismissed the album as an inferior mix of elements from bands such as Aerosmith, Hanoi Rocks, and AC/DC.[15] On the other hand, Billboard magazine's Christa Titus later contended that Appetite for Destruction appealed to rock music's various listeners because it incorporated metal's forceful playing, punk rock's rebellious themes, glam metal's aesthetic, and bluesy guitar riffs that appealed to purists.[11] Nonetheless, it was voted the 26th best album of the year in the Pazz & Jop, an annual critics poll run by The Village Voice.[16] In a 1990 review, the poll's creator Robert Christgau graded the album a "B–" and said that Rose's effortless, convincing vocal abilities are undeniable and set him apart from his contemporaries. However, he found his performance undermined by questionable lyrics that reveal darker ideas: "He doesn't love Night Train, he loves alcoholism. And once that sweet child o' his proves her devotion by sucking his cock for the portacam, the evil slut is ready for 'See me hit you you fall down.'"[17]

In a retrospective review for The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Ann Powers gave Appetite for Destruction five stars and wrote that Guns N' Roses produced a unique mix of different rock values such as "speed and musicianship, flash and dirt", on an album that changed hard rock's sensibilities at the time.[18] Stephen Thomas Erlewine also viewed it as a "turning point for hard rock" in his five-star review for AllMusic and felt that Rose's singing and songwriting are enhanced by Slash and Stradlin's dual guitar playing, which helped make Appetite for Destruction "the best metal record of the late '80s".[19] According to Jimmy Martin of The Quietus, as the 1980s' best hard rock album, Appetite for Destruction had an unrefined, punk quality that marked a shift away from hair metal bands commercialized by MTV.[20] In his list of essential hair metal albums, Chuck Eddy called it "the greatest album ever made about how you can't run away from yourself",[21] while BBC Music's Dennis O'Dell said that the engagingly hedonistic album remains the band's best,[22] as did Ric Albano of Classic Rock magazine: "this band would never again reach this level of importance and breakthrough originality."[23] In a 2000 list, Q magazine named it one of the greatest metal albums ever and hailed it as "a riotous celebration of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll".[24] On the other hand, Sputnikmusic felt that the album has been somewhat overrated and that most of the songs suffer by comparison with the highlights "Welcome to the Jungle", "Sweet Child o' Mine", "Paradise City", and "Rocket Queen".[25]


  • In 1989, Rolling Stone ranked Appetite for Destruction as the 27th best album of the 1980s.[citation needed]
  • The same magazine later ranked it at sixty-two on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[26]
  • In 2001, Q magazine named Appetite for Destruction as one of the 50 Heaviest Albums of All Time.[27]
  • In 2004, Q magazine also named Appetite for Destruction as one of the greatest Classic rock Albums Ever.[28]
  • In 2003, VH1 named Appetite for Destruction the 42nd Greatest Album of All Time.[29]
  • In 2002, Pitchfork Media ranked Appetite for Destruction 59th on their Top 100 Albums of the 1980s.[30]
  • It was ranked 18 in Spin magazine's "100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005".[31]
  • In 2006, Kerrang! ranked the album #1 on the list of best rock albums.[32]
  • The album was ranked 32 on Rock Hall of Fame's 'definitive 200' album list, developed by the NARM, the National Association of Recording Merchandisers.[citation needed]
  • In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at #10 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[33]
  • In 2006, the album was placed No. 2 on Guitar World magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time.[34]
  • In 2011, Australian radio station Triple M listed Appetite For Destruction #1 in their list of the 250 most life changing albums.
  • In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at #37 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[35]
  • In 2012, Clash added the album to its Classic Albums Hall of Fame.[36]

Track listing[edit]

In albums which were issued on double sided media (vinyl records and audio cassettes) the two sides were not conventionally labeled "A" and "B", but "G" and "R". Tracks 1–6 which compose side "G" all deal with drugs and hard life in the big city ("Guns" side). The remaining tracks, which compose side "R", all deal with love, sex and relationships ("Roses" side).

All songs written and composed by Guns N' Roses, except "It's So Easy" (Guns N' Roses/West Arkeen) and "Anything Goes" (Guns N' Roses/Chris Weber). Actual composers listed below[citation needed]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Welcome to the Jungle"   Axl Rose and Slash 4:31
2. "It's So Easy"   Duff McKagan and West Arkeen 3:21
3. "Nightrain"   Axl Rose, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin and Slash 4:26
4. "Out ta Get Me"   Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin and Slash 4:20
5. "Mr. Brownstone"   Izzy Stradlin and Slash 3:48
6. "Paradise City"   Axl Rose, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin and Slash 6:46
7. "My Michelle"   Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin 3:39
8. "Think About You"   Izzy Stradlin 3:50
9. "Sweet Child O' Mine"   Axl Rose, Slash and Izzy Stradlin 5:55
10. "You're Crazy"   Axl Rose, Slash and Izzy Stradlin 3:25
11. "Anything Goes"   Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin and Chris Weber 3:25
12. "Rocket Queen"   Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan 6:13
Total length:


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[6]

Guns N' Roses[edit]



  • Robert Williams – "Appetite For Destruction" painting
  • Michael Hodgson – art direction & design
  • Robert John, Jack Lue, Greg Freeman, Marc Canter, & Leonard McCardie – photography
  • Tom Zutaut – A&R coordination
  • Teresa Ensenat – A&R coordination
  • Stravinski Brothers/Alan Niven – career affairs
  • Boulevard Management – business affairs
  • Bill White Jr. – cross tattoo design
  • Andy Engell – cross tattoo redrawing
  • Robert Benedetti – tattoos (at Sunset Strip Tattoo)


Chart Peak
Australian Albums Chart[37] 7
Austrian Albums Chart[37] 3
Canadian Albums Chart[38] 7
Dutch Albums Chart[37] 3
French Albums Chart[37] 166
German Albums Chart[37] 11
Irish Albums Chart[37] 11
Italian Albums Chart[37] 58
New Zealand Albums Chart[37] 1
Norwegian Albums Chart[37] 9
Swedish Albums Chart[37] 32
Swiss Albums Chart[37] 7
UK Albums Chart[39] 5
US Billboard 200[40] 1


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Argentina (CAPIF)[41] 3× Platinum 180,000x
Austria (IFPI Austria)[42] Platinum 50,000x
Brazil (ABPD)[43] Platinum 250,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[44] Diamond 1,000,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[45] Gold 25,000[45]
France (SNEP)[46] 2× Gold 200,000*
Germany (BVMI)[47] Platinum 500,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[48] Platinum 200,000^
Italy (FIMI)[49] Gold 50,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON)[50] Gold 100,000^
Sweden (GLF)[51] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[52] Platinum 50,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[53] 3× Platinum 900,000^
United States (RIAA)[54] 18× Platinum 18,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "''Axl/Slash Interview'', 1988". Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Hiatt, Brian (August 2007). "The Making of 'Appetite for Destruction'". Rolling Stone Australia (1032). Archived from the original on 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  3. ^ a b Slash; Bozza, Anthony (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment. pp. 151–153. ISBN 978-0-00-725775-1. 
  4. ^ McKagan, Duff & Mohr, Tim (2011). It's So Easy (and other Lies). Simon & Schuster. pp. 118, 120. 
  5. ^ Adler, Steven; Spagnola, Lawrence J. (2010). My Appetite for Destruction: Sex, and Drugs, and Guns N' Roses. It Books. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-06-191711-0. 
  6. ^ a b Appetite for Destruction liner notes. Geffen Records. 1987. 
  7. ^ Ellin, Doug (July 27, 2007). "Welcome to the Jungle". Retrieved November 20, 2007. 
  8. ^ Slash (2008), p.109
  9. ^ "Album cover info at". February 9, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  10. ^ Sciarretto, Amy (November 12, 2011). "‘That Metal Show’ Recap: Axl Rose Talks Lateness, Slash + Original ‘Appetite’ Cover". Loudwire. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Titus, Christa (July 21, 2012). "Guns N' Roses, 'Appetite For Destruction' at 25: Classic Track-By-Track". Billboard. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  12. ^ Slash (2008), p.257
  13. ^ "Billboard 200: Week of August 29, 1987 Biggest Jump". 
  14. ^ "Sons of Aerosmith". Musician (118): 35–45. August 1988. 
  15. ^ Martin, Jimmy (July 27, 2012). "Guns N' Roses' Appetite For Destruction – 25 Years On". The Quietus. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  16. ^ "The 1988 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice (New York). February 28, 1989. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. p. 176. ISBN 067973015X. 
  18. ^ Powers, Ann (2 November 2004). "Guns n' Roses". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David. The Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 351. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  19. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Guns N' Roses – Appetite for Destruction". AllMusic. Retrieved April 2, 2011. 
  20. ^ Martin, Jimmy (July 27, 2012). "Guns N' Roses' Appetite For Destruction - 25 Years On". The Quietus. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  21. ^ Eddy, Chuck. "Essentials – Hair Metal". Spin (New York): 105. 
  22. ^ O'Dell, Dennis (2008). "Guns N' Roses: Appetite for Destruction". BBC Music. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  23. ^ Albano, Ric (October 1, 2012). "Appetite For Destruction by Guns n Roses". Classic Rock. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  24. ^ Q (London): 127. August 2000.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ Med57. "Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction (album review 8)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  26. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Guns N' Roses, 'Appetite for Destruction' : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  27. ^ "In our Lifetime #2". Q magazine. October 1, 2001. Retrieved November 20, 2007. 
  28. ^ " & Mojo Magazine Special Editions Vol.1". Archived from the original on 31 October 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  29. ^ "VH1 Ranks 100 Best Rock Albums". Associated Press. January 4, 2001. Archived from the original on 24 December 2007. Retrieved November 20, 2007. 
  30. ^ "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". November 20, 2002. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  31. ^ Barger, Al (July 3, 2005). "Spin magazine's 100 Greatest Albums 1985–2005". Blog Critics magazine. Archived from the original on 20 November 2007. Retrieved November 20, 2007. 
  32. ^ "Guns N' Roses news:". Here Today Gone to Hell. March 4, 2004. Archived from the original on 24 December 2007. Retrieved November 20, 2007. 
  33. ^ Q August 2006, Issue 241
  34. ^ "Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Albums Of All Time". Rate Your Music. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  35. ^ Slant Staff (March 5, 2012). "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  36. ^ Daultrey, Stephen (July 20, 2012). "Classic Albums: Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction". Clash. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Guns N' Roses – Appetite for Destruction" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  38. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums". RPM. September 17, 1988. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  39. ^ Churchill, Michael. British Albums Chart - All Time Top 1000. Official Charts Company. p. 157. ISBN 978-1-291-56977-3. 
  40. ^ "Appetite for Destruction - Guns N' Roses: Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Argentinian album certifications – Guns – Appetite For D". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. 
  42. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Guns N' Roses – Appetite For Destruction" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter Guns N' Roses in the field Interpret. Enter Appetite For Destruction in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  43. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Guns N' Roses – Appetite For Destruction" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. 
  44. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Guns 'N Roses – Appetite For Destruction". Music Canada. 
  45. ^ a b The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
  46. ^ "French album certifications – Guns N' Roses – Appetite For Destruction" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  47. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Guns N' Roses; 'Appetite For Destruction')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  48. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Guns N' Roses – Appetite For Destruction" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. 
  49. ^ "Italian album certifications – Guns'N' Roses – Appetite for Destruction" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry.  Select Album e Compilation in the field Sezione. Enter Guns'N' Roses in the field Filtra. The certification will load automatically
  50. ^ "Certificaciones – Guns N'roses" (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. 
  51. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  52. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Guns N' Roses; 'Appetite For Destruction')". Hung Medien. 
  53. ^ "British album certifications – Guns N' Roses – Appetite For Destruction". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Appetite For Destruction in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  54. ^ "American album certifications – Guns N' Roses – Appetite For Destruction". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH


Preceded by
Hysteria by Def Leppard
Hysteria by Def Leppard
Billboard 200 number-one album
6–12 August 1988
24 September – 14 October 1988
Succeeded by
Hysteria by Def Leppard
New Jersey by Bon Jovi