G N' R Lies

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G N' R Lies
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 29, 1988
StudioRumbo Studios, Take One Studio, and Image Recording Studios
Guns N' Roses chronology
Guns N' Roses
G N' R Lies
Use Your Illusion I
Guns N' Roses studio album chronology
Appetite for Destruction
G N' R Lies
Use Your Illusion I
Singles from G N' R Lies
  1. "Patience"
    Released: April 8, 1989[3]

G N' R Lies (also known simply as Lies) is the second studio album by American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, released by Geffen Records on November 29, 1988. It is the band's shortest studio album, running at 33 and a half minutes. The album reached number two on the US Billboard 200, and according to the RIAA, has shipped over five million copies in the United States.

"Patience", the only single released from Lies, peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 3, 1989.[4][5] This is the band's last full album to feature drummer Steven Adler following his departure in 1990, shortly after the single "Civil War" was recorded, and featured on Use Your Illusion II (1991), as well as their last album to be recorded as five-piece band members.

Background and recording[edit]

Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide[edit]

The first four tracks consist of the previously released EP Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide. These four tracks were also included as bonus tracks on the 2018 reissue of Appetite for Destruction.

G N' R Lies[edit]

The last four songs were recorded with acoustic guitars. They were written and recorded in only a few studio sessions (with the exception of "You're Crazy", which appeared in an alternative version on Appetite for Destruction), which producer Mike Clink called "one of those magical rock and roll history moments".

In later interviews, Axl Rose stated that while he loved how the band sounded on the last four songs, he hated the sound of his voice. Rose recalled that his voice was husky and scratchy from the band's lengthy touring at the time, and if he could he would have re-recorded his vocal tracks in a separate session.

A significantly faster version of "You're Crazy" with electric guitars had previously been released on the band's debut album, Appetite for Destruction, and was now recorded as originally intended.[6] "Used to Love Her" was written as a joke after Izzy Stradlin disliked a song he heard on the radio featuring "some guy whining about a broad who was treating him bad". Slash stated that "People think it's about one of our old girlfriends, but it's actually about Axl's dog."[7]

Three of the four songs from the G N' R Lies EP are included on the 2018 remastered release of the album Appetite for Destruction, with the exception of the controversial "One in a Million".[8]


The reworked cover art for the album with edited texts.

The cover is a parody of tabloid newspapers, as are the liner notes. The album's cover art underwent several minor modifications when the title was released on CD.[9] First, in the bottom left corner reading "LIES LIES LIES" originally read "Wife-beating has been around for 10,000 years." Secondly, instead of "Elephant gives birth to midget", the original headline reads, "Ladies, welcome to the dark ages." Many copies of the original LP release also contained an uncensored picture of a nude model on the inner LP sleeve.[10]


The song "One in a Million" has caused controversy and raised accusations of racism, homophobia and nativism due to the lyrics, which include the slurs "nigger" and "faggot".[11][12][13][14][15] Rose denied that he was a racist and defended his use of the word "nigger", claiming that "it's a word to describe somebody that is basically a pain in your life, a problem. The word nigger doesn't necessarily mean black." He cited the rap group N.W.A. and the John Lennon song "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" as other examples of musicians using the word.[16] Several years later, Rose conceded that he had used the word as an insult towards black people who had tried to rob him, and because the word is a taboo.[17] In response to the allegations of homophobia, Rose stated that he considered himself "pro-heterosexual" and blamed this attitude on "bad experiences" with gay men.[16][18]

Although initially against the song, other members of the band have since defended the song,[19][20] claiming it was misunderstood.[21][19] Nevertheless, the song was not included in future compilation releases that otherwise included all the other tracks on Lies.[22][19][a]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Rolling Stone[25]
The Village VoiceE[24]

Rolling Stone, in a 4 out of 5 star review, stated "Given that Guns N' Roses could probably release an album of Baptist hymns at this point and go platinum, it would be all too easy to dismiss G n' R Lies as a sneaky attempt by the band to throw together some outtakes and cash in on the busy holiday buying season ... The good news is that Lies is a lot more interesting than that ... The calm folk-rock melodies of these four acoustic songs reveal yet another welcome facet of Guns N' Roses. They should also end any further mutterings from the doubting Thomases out there who are still making snide comments about the band's potential for longevity."[25] Allmusic, in a 3.5 out of 5 review, criticized some of the songs on the acoustic side, stating "Constructed as a double EP, with the "indie" debut Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide coming first and four new acoustic-based songs following on the second side, G N' R Lies is where the band metamorphosed from genuine threat to joke. Neither recorded live nor released by an indie label, Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide is competent bar band boogie, without the energy or danger of Appetite for Destruction. The new songs are considerably more problematic. "Patience" is Guns N' Roses at their prettiest and their sappiest, the most direct song they recorded to date. Its emotional directness makes the misogyny of "Used to Love Her (But I Had to Kill Her)" and the pitiful slanders of "One in a Million" sound genuine.[23]

In a negative review for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau stated "Axl's voice is a power tool with attachments, Slash's guitar a hype, the groove potent "hard rock", and the songwriting not without its virtues. So figure musical quality at around C plus and take the grade as a call to boycott, a reminder to clean livers who yearn for the wild side that the necessary link between sex-and-drugs and rock-and-roll is a Hollywood fantasy" while condemning "One In a Million" and "Used To Love Her".[24]

In a 2014 review Metal Hammer dissected the controversy around the album, stating "Conceived as a stop-gap release, the second Guns N' Roses album remains a remarkable one-off – in every sense.[26] Ultimate Classic Rock stated "Ironically, G N' R Lies' tabloid-style cover art also hinted at the incessant scandals and resulting paranoia that would soon engulf the band, and its singer in particular, sowing the seeds to their eventual dissolution after the twin Use Your Illusion behemoths, and protracted creative silence until 2008's historically delayed Chinese Democracy opus."[27]

Track listing[edit]

Songwriting credits via ASCAP.

1986 (Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide: Faux-live songs)
1."Reckless Life"Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, Chris Weber3:23
2."Nice Boys" (Rose Tattoo cover)Angry Anderson, Mick Cocks, Geordie Leach, Dallas "Digger" Royall, Peter Wells3:01
3."Move to the City"Stradlin, Weber, Daniel Nicolson (a/k/a D.J.)[28][29]3:42
4."Mama Kin" (Aerosmith cover)Steven Tyler3:57
1988 (Acoustic songs)
5."Patience"Guns N' Roses5:56
6."Used to Love Her"Guns N' Roses3:13
7."You're Crazy"Guns N' Roses4:10
8."One in a Million"Guns N' Roses6:09
Total length:33:41


Guns N' Roses

Additional musicians

  • West Arkeen − additional guitar, backing vocals on tracks 5–8
  • Howard Teman − percussion on tracks 5–8


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[30] Platinum 60,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[31] Gold 25,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[32] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[33] Gold 250,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[34] Gold 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[35] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[36] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[37] 5× Platinum 5,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


Publication Country Accolade Rank
L.A. Weekly US Chuck Klosterman's Favorite Hair Metal Albums[1] 4


  1. ^ Future pressings & digital releases of the album itself still contain the song in unmodified form.


  1. ^ a b Westhoff, Ben (December 6, 2011). "Chuck Klosterman's Favorite Hair Metal Albums". LA Weekly. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  2. ^ Hal Leonard Corp. (August 1, 2013). 25 Top Acoustic Songs - Tab. Tone. Technique.: Tab+ Series. Hal Leonard. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-4803-5937-6.
  3. ^ https://www.billboard.com/artist/guns-n-roses/
  4. ^ https://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/
  5. ^ "Allmusic (Guns N Roses charts and awards) Billboard singles".
  6. ^ "Song info at GNRSource.com". Archived from the original on October 21, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  7. ^ "Song info at GNRSource.com". Archived from the original on December 6, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  8. ^ "Guns N' Roses' Massive New Box Set Omits "One In A Million"". Stereogum. May 4, 2018. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  9. ^ Kim, Wook (April 19, 2012). "Shock and Awe: Top 10 Controversial Album Covers: Gun N' Roses, GN'R Lies". Time. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  10. ^ Guns N' Roses, G N' R Lies. Geffen Records, GHS 24198; 1988.
  11. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (October 15, 1989). "Behind the Guns N' Roses Racism Furor". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on July 11, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  12. ^ Williams, Juan (October 15, 1989). "Essay Fighting Words". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 22, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  13. ^ Cave, Damien (July 7, 2001). "Axl Rose: American Hellhound". Salon. Archived from the original on June 10, 2001. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  14. ^ "Rock Turns Mean And Ugly". November 18, 1990. Archived from the original on February 21, 2018. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  15. ^ "There's a New Sound in Pop Music: Bigotry". The New York Times. September 10, 1989. Archived from the original on December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  16. ^ a b James, Del (August 10, 1989). "The Rolling Stone Interview with Axl Rose". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  17. ^ Neely, Kim (April 2, 1992). "Axl Rose: The Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 27, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2017. RS:Does it bother you that so many people think you're misogynous, homophobic and racist Rose: 'It can bother me. But the racist thing is just bullshit. I used a word that was taboo. And I used that word because it was taboo. I was pissed off about some black people that were trying to rob me. I wanted to insult those particular black people. I didn't want to support racism. When I used the word faggots, I wasn't coming down on gays. I was coming down on an element of gays'.
  18. ^ James, Del (September 1992). Lonn Friend (ed.). "I, Axl". Rip. Larry Flynt Publications. Archived from the original on March 20, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  19. ^ a b c Grow, Kory (June 6, 2019). "How Duff McKagan Got Woke". Rolling Stone.
  20. ^ Kent, Nick. Pop, Iggy. The Dark Stuff: selected writings on rock music Page 232. Da Capo Press, 2002. ISBN 0-306-81182-0, ISBN 978-0-306-81182-1
  21. ^ Kent, Nick. Pop, Iggy. The Dark Stuff: selected writings on rock music Page 232. Da Capo Press, 2002. ISBN 0-306-81182-0, ISBN 978-0-306-81182-1
  22. ^ Hiatt, Brian (August 14, 2018). "Slash Speaks! Inside the Guns N' Roses Reunion and His New Album". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  23. ^ a b "G N' R Lies". Allmusic. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
  24. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (March 14, 1989). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  25. ^ a b Neely, Kim (January 26, 1989). "G N' R Lies | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  26. ^ "Guns N' Roses: GN'R Lies". November 30, 2021.
  27. ^ "Guns N' Roses Showed Off Both Sides of Themselves on 'G N' R Lies'". Ultimate Classic Rock. November 30, 2013.
  28. ^ "Document Number: V2726P040". U.S. Copyright Office Public Records. Retrieved October 23, 2022.
  29. ^ "GN'R Song Archive: Move To The City". Appetite For Discussion. Archived October 23, 2022, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ "Discos de oro y platino" (in Spanish). Cámara Argentina de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  31. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Guns N' Roses – Lies" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  32. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Guns – Guns R' Lies" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  33. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Guns N' Roses; 'G'N'R' Lies, The Drugs, The Sex')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  34. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Guns N' Roses – G'N'R' Lies" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved July 13, 2022. Select 1994年2月 on the drop-down menu
  35. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Guns N' Roses – G'N'R' Lies". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved July 13, 2022.
  36. ^ "British album certifications – Guns N' Roses – G N' R Lies". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  37. ^ "American album certifications – Guns N' Roses – G 'N R Lies". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 3, 2020.