Welcome to the Jungle

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"Welcome to the Jungle"
U.S. single picture sleeve
Single by Guns N' Roses
from the album Appetite for Destruction
  • September 28, 1987 (UK)
  • October 1988 (US)
RecordedJune 19, 1987
GenreGlam metal[1][2]
Songwriter(s)Guns N' Roses
Producer(s)Mike Clink
Guns N' Roses singles chronology
"It's So Easy" / "Mr. Brownstone"
"Welcome to the Jungle"
"Sweet Child o' Mine"
Audio sample

"Welcome to the Jungle" is a song by American rock band Guns N' Roses, featured on their debut album, Appetite for Destruction (1987). It was released as the album's second single initially in the UK in September 1987 then again in October 1988 this time including the US, where it reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100[3] and number 24 on the UK Singles Chart.[4]

On the 1987 release, the Maxi Single format was backed with a live version of AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie", the band's debut single "It's So Easy" and Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door". In 2009, "Welcome to the Jungle" was named the greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.[5]

Background and composition[edit]

Axl Rose wrote the lyrics while visiting a friend in Seattle.[6] "It's a big city, but at the same time, it's still a small city compared to L.A. and the things that you're gonna learn. It seemed a lot more rural up there. I just wrote how it looked to me. If someone comes to town and they want to find something, they can find whatever they want."[who said this?][7] Rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin summarises the song as "about Hollywood streets; true to life."[8]

Slash describes the development of the music of "Welcome to the Jungle" in his self-titled autobiography. As the band was trying to write new material, Axl remembered a riff Slash had played while he was living in the basement of Slash's mother's house. He played it and the band quickly laid down the foundations for the song, as Slash continued coming up with new guitar parts for it. He credits Duff McKagan as coming up with the breakdown. Duff contradicts this in his autobiography, It's So Easy (and other Lies), saying it was from a song called "The Fake" that he wrote in 1978 for the Vains, a punk band he was in.[9] He also said it was the first song he ever wrote, and that it was later released as a single by the band.[9] According to Slash, the song was written in approximately three hours.[10]

Rose claimed inspiration for the lyrics came from an encounter he and a friend had with a homeless man while they were coming out of a bus into New York.[11] Trying to put a scare into the young runaways, the man yelled at them, "You know where you are? You're in the jungle baby; you're gonna die!"[11][12]


Martin Popoff included the song at number nineteen in his book The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time;[13] it was ranked the second "greatest metal song" by VH1;[14] it appeared at #467 on Rolling Stone' "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list,[15] it appeared as number seven hundred and sixty-four on Q's "1001 Best Songs Ever" chart;[8] and the song was named the "greatest song about Los Angeles" in a poll in Blender.[16] In 2009 it was named the greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.[5] In 2009 the readers of Rolling Stone Magazine rated it the greatest sports anthem.[17] In 2006, "Welcome to the Jungle" was also rated by VH1 #26 on its list of the "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s".[18]

Music video[edit]

Geffen Records was having a hard time selling the video to MTV. David Geffen made a deal with the network, and the video was aired only one time around 5:00AM on a Sunday morning.[19] As soon as the video was aired, the networks received numerous calls from people wanting to see the video again.

In spite of the early morning airtime, the song's music video caught viewers' attention and quickly became MTV's most requested video. The video in question (directed by Nigel Dick) begins with a shot of Axl Rose disembarking a bus in Los Angeles and a drug dealer (portrayed by Izzy) is seen trying to sell his merchandise while Rose rejects it. As Rose stops to watch a television through a store window, clips of the band playing live can be seen and Slash can also be seen briefly, sitting against the store's wall and drinking from a clear glass bottle in a brown paper bag. By the end of the video Rose has transformed into a city punk, wearing the appropriate clothing, after going through a process similar to the Ludovico technique.

During an interview with Rolling Stone magazine about the music video, Guns N' Roses' manager at the time, Alan Niven, said that he "came up with the idea of stealing from three movies: Midnight Cowboy, The Man Who Fell to Earth and A Clockwork Orange."[20]

Live performances[edit]

"Welcome to the Jungle" is often used as the opener at Guns N' Roses concerts, being played at almost every show on the Appetite for Destruction Tour and Use Your Illusion Tour. From 2001–2007, on the Chinese Democracy Tour, "Welcome to the Jungle" was used exclusively as the show opener, until 2009, when it was replaced by "Chinese Democracy". It now occupies the second spot on the setlist. When performed live, the song often begins with the line: "Do you know where the fuck you are? You're in the jungle baby! Wake up! Time to Die!", in reference to the song's bridge.[citation needed]

The song was used as the concert introduction during Shakira's world tour, the Tour of the Mongoose.[citation needed] Australian rock band Mammal frequently cover "Welcome to the Jungle" live, incorporating the first verse and chorus of the song as part of their own song, "Inciting". Pink performed the song at her 2003 Try This Tour.[citation needed]

Use in media[edit]

Track listings[edit]

All songs credited to Guns N' Roses except where noted

UK 1987 7" vinyl (GEF 30)
1."Welcome to the Jungle" 4:30
2."Whole Lotta Rosie" (Live AC/DC cover)Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Bon Scott5:29
Total length:9:59
UK 1987 12" vinyl (GEF 30T); 12" picture disc (GEF 30TP)
1."Welcome to the Jungle" 4:30
2."Whole Lotta Rosie" (Live AC/DC cover)Young, Young, Scott 
3."It's So Easy" (live)Guns N' Roses, West Arkeen 
4."Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (Live Bob Dylan cover)Bob Dylan 
US 1988 7" vinyl (927 759-7)
1."Welcome to the Jungle" 4:30
2."Mr. Brownstone"Izzy Stradlin3:46
Total length:8:17
UK 1988 7" vinyl (GEF 47)
1."Welcome to the Jungle"4:30
Total length:9:00
UK 1988 12" vinyl (GEF 47T); 12" poster bag (GEF 47TW); 12" picture disc (GEF 47TP);12" patch (GEF47TV); 3" CD (GEF 47CD)
1."Welcome to the Jungle"4:30
3."You're Crazy" (Acoustic Version)4:23
Total length:13:10



Chart (1987–1988) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[23] 41
Finland (The Official Finnish Charts)[24] 13
Ireland (IRMA)[25] 14
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[26] 84
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[27] 6
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[28] 24
US Billboard Hot 100[29] 7
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[30] 37
US Digital Songs (Billboard)[31] 74


  1. ^ Beaujour, Tom (October 3, 2014). "6 Glam-Metal Albums You Need to Own". Revolver. Archived from the original on July 28, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  2. ^ "Readers' Poll: The 10 Greatest Hair Metal Songs". Rolling Stone. February 5, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  3. ^ "Artist Chart History - Guns N' Roses". Billboard. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  4. ^ "Guns N' Roses". Chart Stats. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  5. ^ a b "spreadit.org music". Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  6. ^ "AXL ROSE & GNR Articles : Hit Parader March 1988".
  7. ^ "The Spaghetti Incident". hem.passagen.se. Archived from the original on July 24, 2002. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  8. ^ a b "Welcome To The Jungle". Here Today... Gone To Hell!. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  9. ^ a b McKagan, Duff; Mohr, Tim (2010). It's So Easy (and other Lies). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 42–43, 97.
  10. ^ Bozza, Anthony; Slash (2007). Slash. New York: Harper Entertainment. pp. 108–109.
  11. ^ a b "Just a Little Patience". Spin. July 1999. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  12. ^ Brown, Lane (August 26, 2008). "Exclusive Excerpt: Stephen Davis's 'Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N' Roses'". Vulture.com. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "Top500_Heavy_Metal_Songs.html".
  14. ^ "40 greatest metal songs (40 - 31)". VH1. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  15. ^ [1] Archived June 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Welcome To The Jungle Tops Los Angeles Songs Poll". December 11, 2006.
  17. ^ "Music - New Music News, Reviews, Pictures, and Videos".
  18. ^ "VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the '80s". Spinditty.
  19. ^ Tom King, The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood, p. 430, Broadway Books (New York 2001).
  20. ^ "News".
  21. ^ "Guitar Hero 3 Setlist Revealed". PC World. 2007. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
  22. ^ Tor Thorsen (October 26, 2004). "Full San Andreas soundtrack details". Game Spot. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
  23. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  24. ^ Pennanen, Timo. Sisältää hitin: levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972. Otava Publishing Company Ltd, 2003. ISBN 951-1-21053-X
  25. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Guns N' Roses". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  26. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  27. ^ "Charts.nz – Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  28. ^ "Guns N' Roses: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  29. ^ "Guns N' Roses Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  30. ^ "Guns N' Roses Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  31. ^ "Guns N Roses Chart History (Digital Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  • Davis, Stephen (2008). Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N' Roses. Gotham Books. ISBN 978-1-59240-377-6.

External links[edit]