Appetite for Destruction
|Appetite for Destruction|
|Studio album by Guns N' Roses|
|Released||July 21, 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, hair metal|
|Guns N' Roses chronology|
|Singles from Appetite for Destruction|
Appetite for Destruction is the debut studio album by American hard rock band Guns N' Roses. It was released on July 21, 1987, by Geffen Records to massive commercial success. It topped the Billboard 200 and became the best-selling debut album as well as the 11th best-selling album in the United States. With about 30 million copies sold worldwide, it is also one of the best-selling records ever. Although critics were ambivalent toward the album when it was first released, Appetite for Destruction has since received retrospective acclaim and been viewed as one of the greatest albums of all time.
Axl Rose stated that many of the songs on the album were written while the band was 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).
The band started searching for someone to produce their debut, mostly recommendations made by Geffen executive 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. 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, for being the first to record the band exactly the way they wanted.
Recording and production
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. 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. Final overdubs and mixing were done at Mediasound Studios, and mastering at Sterling Sound, New York City.
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, 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.
The album's originally planned 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. In a 2016 interview, Billy White Jr. explained, "The cross and skulls that looked like the band was Axl’s idea, the rest was me. The knot work in the cross was a reference to Thin Lizzy, a band Axl and I both loved.”
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 vinyl reissue, though the record label replaced it with the "Skulls" art at the last minute.
The band stated the artwork is "a symbolic social statement, with the robot representing the industrial system that's raping and polluting our environment." 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). 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".
Reception and legacy
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". It spent four nonconsecutive weeks at number-one on the chart, and a total of 147 weeks on the Billboard 200. By September 2008, it had been certified 18× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), having shipped 18 million copies in the United States, making it the country's 11th best-selling album ever. According to Billboard in 2008, it is also the best-selling debut album of all time in the US. That year, Sky News reported the album's worldwide sales to be approximately 28 million copies, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time. More recent figures have it at approximately 30,000,000 sold worldwide.
When Appetite for Destruction was first released, music critics complained that its 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 US became informed by the Reagan-Bush Administration, the AIDS crisis, and the popularity of MTV. In a contemporary review, Dave Ling from Metal Hammer dismissed the album as an inferior mix of elements from bands such as Aerosmith, Hanoi Rocks, and AC/DC. On the other hand, Billboard magazine's Christa Titus later contended that Appetite for Destruction appealed to rock music's various listeners because the band incorporated metal's forceful playing, punk rock's rebellious themes, glam metal's aesthetic, and bluesy guitar riffs that appealed to purists. Nonetheless, it was voted the 26th best album of the year in the Pazz & Jop, an annual critics poll run by The Village Voice. 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.'"
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. Stephen Thomas Erlewine also viewed it as a "turning point for hard rock" in his five-star review for AllMusic and felt 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". 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. Nonetheless, Chuck Eddy named it one of his essential hair metal records and wrote in Spin, "[It was] the greatest album ever made about how you can't run away from yourself", while BBC Music's Dennis O'Dell said the engagingly hedonistic album remains the band's best, as did Ric Albano of Classic Rock magazine: "this band would never again reach this level of importance and breakthrough originality." In a 2000 list, Q named it one of the greatest metal albums ever and hailed it as "a riotous celebration of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll". On the other hand, Sputnikmusic believed 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", "Mr. Brownstone", and "Rocket Queen".
- In 1989, Rolling Stone ranked Appetite for Destruction as the 27th best album of the 1980s.
- The same magazine later ranked it at sixty-two on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
- In 2001, Q magazine named Appetite for Destruction as one of the 50 Heaviest Albums of All Time.
- In 2004, Q magazine also named Appetite for Destruction as one of the greatest Classic rock Albums Ever.
- In 2003, VH1 named Appetite for Destruction the 42nd Greatest Album of All Time.
- In 2002, Pitchfork ranked Appetite for Destruction 59th on their Top 100 Albums of the 1980s.
- It was ranked 18 in Spin magazine's "100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005".
- In 2006, Kerrang! ranked the album #1 on the list of best rock albums.
- In 2006, the album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
- 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.
- In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at #10 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".
- In 2006, the album was placed No. 2 on Guitar World magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time.
- In 2011, Australian radio station Triple M listed Appetite for Destruction #1 in their list of the 250 most life changing albums.
- In 2012, Rolling Stone ranked Appetite for Destruction as the 62nd greatest album of all time
- In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at #37 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".
- In 2012, Clash added the album to its Classic Albums Hall of Fame.
Credits via the album's liner notes.
|1.||"Welcome to the Jungle"||Guns N' Roses||4:31|
|2.||"It's So Easy"||Guns N' Roses, West Arkeen||3:21|
|3.||"Nightrain"||Guns N' Roses||4:26|
|4.||"Out ta Get Me"||Guns N' Roses||4:20|
|5.||"Mr. Brownstone"||Guns N' Roses||3:46|
|6.||"Paradise City"||Guns N' Roses||6:46|
|7.||"My Michelle"||Guns N' Roses||3:39|
|8.||"Think About You"||Guns N' Roses||3:50|
|9.||"Sweet Child o' Mine"||Guns N' Roses||5:55|
|10.||"You're Crazy"||Guns N' Roses||3:16|
|11.||"Anything Goes"||Guns N' Roses, Chris Weber||3:25|
|12.||"Rocket Queen"||Guns N' Roses||6:13|
Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.
Guns N' Roses
- W. Axl Rose – lead vocals, synthesizer, percussion
- Slash – lead guitar, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, talkbox
- Izzy Stradlin – rhythm guitar, lead guitar, backing vocals, percussion
- Duff "Rose" McKagan – bass, backing vocals
- Steven Adler – drums
- Mike Clink – production & engineering
- Steve Thompson – mixing
- Michael Barbiero – mixing
- George Marino – LP & cassette mastering
- Barry Diament – CD mastering
- Dave Reitzas, Micajah Ryan, Andy Udoff, Jeff Poe, Julian Stoll, & Victor "the fuckin' engineer" Deyglio – engineering assistance
- 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)
|Argentina (CAPIF)||3× Platinum||180,000*|
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||Platinum||50,000*|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Diamond||1,000,000^|
|France (SNEP)||2× Gold||200,000*|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Platinum||50,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||3× Platinum||900,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||18× Platinum||18,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- List of best-selling albums
- List of best-selling albums in the United States
- List of best-selling albums in Argentina
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- "Argentinian album certifications – Guns – Appetite For D". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers.
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- "Brazilian album certifications – Guns N' Roses – Appetite For Destruction" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos.
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- "Italian album certifications – Guns'N' Roses – Appetite for Destruction" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Select Album e Compilation in the field Sezione. Enter Guns'N' Roses in the field Filtra. The certification will load automatically
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- Appetite for Destruction at Acclaimed Music (list of accolades)
- Appetite for Destruction at Discogs (list of releases)
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