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
ReleasedSeptember 28, 1987
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"
Music video
"Welcome to the Jungle" on YouTube
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[8] and number 24 on the UK Singles Chart.[9]

On the 1987 release, the 7” was backed with a live version of AC/DC's "Whole Lotta Rosie", while the 12” also contained live versions of 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.[6] In 2021, Rolling Stone listed "Welcome to the Jungle" at 491 on their “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list.[10]

Background and composition[edit]

Axl Rose wrote the lyrics while visiting a friend in Seattle: "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."[11] Guitarist Izzy Stradlin summarizes the song as "about Hollywood streets; true to life".[12]

Slash describes the development of the music in his self-titled autobiography. As the band was trying to write new material, Rose 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. "It was really the first thing we all collaborated on…" the guitarist recalled. "In that whole 'discovering ourselves' period from '85 through '86 – when we were living together very haphazardly and getting together and jamming – there was something going on that not a lot of people had. And this song just had this natural feel that was very cool."[13]

The breakdown was based on a song called "The Fake" that Duff McKagan wrote in 1978 for his punk band the Vains.[14] The bassist said it was the first song he ever wrote, and that it was later released as a single by that band.[14]

According to Slash, the song was written in approximately three hours.[15]

Rose claimed the lyrics were inspired by an encounter he and a friend had with a homeless man while they were coming out of a bus into New York.[16] 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!"[16][17] "It was a very telling lyric – just the stark honesty of it," said Slash. "If you lived in Los Angeles – and lived in the trenches, so to speak – you could relate to it."[13]


"Welcome to the Jungle" was ranked number 19 in Martin Popoff's book The Top 500 Heavy Metal Songs of All Time.[18] It was also named the second greatest metal song by VH1 in 2008.[19] In 2006, VH1 also placed the song at number 26 on its list of the "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s" and, in 2009, the channel ranked it the greatest hard rock song of all time.[6] It was ranked number 467 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list in 2004, number 473 in 2010, and number 491 in 2021.[20] (Rolling Stone readers named it "the greatest sports anthem" in 2009[21]) and number 764 in Q's "1001 Best Songs Ever".[12] Paste and Kerrang both named it Guns N' Roses' greatest song.[22][23] It was named the "greatest song about Los Angeles" in a 2006 Blender poll.[24]

"'Welcome to the Jungle' had this high velocity, high impact, aggressive delivery," Slash observed. "But there were a lot of emotional subtleties in the song that the band really grasped. If Axl went here, the band went with him. I really love that about the band and the music and how it all came together. There was something magical in all of that."[13]

Cash Box called it a "solid, satisfying chunk of metal."[25]

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.[26] 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."[27]

Uses in TV, film and video games[edit]

The song has been used in numerous Hollywood films, as well as on television. Films that have used it include:

The song was used in the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on the in-game radio station Radio X, and was used in the second trailer for the game. [32] "Welcome to the Jungle" is also a playable song in the 2007 video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock; the band's then-former guitarist Slash makes an appearance as a playable character in the game.

It also serves as the unofficial anthem for the Cincinnati Bengals whose stadium is nicknamed The Jungle.[33][34]

Former professional baseball closer Éric Gagné used the song as his entrance music during his career.

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)
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)
UK 1988 3" CD (GEF 47CD)
1."Welcome to the Jungle"4:30
3."You're Crazy" (Acoustic Version)4:23
Total length:13:10




Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[48] Platinum 90,000
Germany (BVMI)[49] Gold 250,000
Italy (FIMI)[50]
sales since 2009
Platinum 50,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Platinum 600,000
United States (RIAA)[53] Gold 2,917,390[52]

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Sleazegrinder (December 4, 2015). "The 20 Best Hair Metal Anthems Of All Time Ever". loudersound. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  4. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo (November 22, 2018). "11 More of the Heaviest Hair Metal Songs". Loudwire. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  5. ^ "Readers' Poll: The Best Hair Metal Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. June 20, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "spreadit.org music". January 1, 2009. Archived from the original on January 4, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  7. ^ Boldman, Gina. "Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle – Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  8. ^ "Artist Chart History - Guns N' Roses". Billboard. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  9. ^ "Guns N' Roses". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  10. ^ RS 500 songs
  11. ^ "AXL ROSE & GNR Articles : Hit Parader March 1988". Archived from the original on November 3, 2007. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Welcome To The Jungle". Here Today... Gone To Hell!. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  13. ^ a b c Elliott, Paul (August 2015). "The stories behind the songs". Classic Rock. p. 28.
  14. ^ a b McKagan, Duff; Mohr, Tim (2010). It's So Easy (and other Lies). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 42–43, 97.
  15. ^ Bozza, Anthony; Slash (2007). Slash. New York: Harper Entertainment. pp. 108–109.
  16. ^ a b "Just a Little Patience". Spin. July 1999. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ "Top500_Heavy_Metal_Songs.html".
  19. ^ "40 greatest metal songs (40 - 31)". VH1. Archived from the original on September 13, 2006. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  20. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. May 25, 2009. Archived from the original on May 25, 2009.
  21. ^ "Music - New Music News, Reviews, Pictures, and Videos". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 7, 2008.
  22. ^ Rolli, Bryan (September 27, 2017). "The 15 Best Guns N' Roses Songs". Paste. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  23. ^ Law, Sam (October 8, 2020). "The 20 greatest Guns N' Roses songs – ranked". Kerrang. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  24. ^ "Welcome To The Jungle Tops Los Angeles Songs Poll". December 11, 2006.
  25. ^ "Single Releases" (PDF). Cash Box. May 7, 1988. p. 8. Retrieved December 21, 2022.
  26. ^ Tom King, The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood, p. 430, Broadway Books (New York 2001).
  27. ^ "Guns N' Roses Video History: Behind the Scenes of the 'Appetite' Clips". Rolling Stone. August 3, 2007. Archived from the original on February 3, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  28. ^ a b "Guns N' Roses' Biggest Movie and Soundtrack Moments". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g Songfacts. "Welcome To The Jungle by Guns N' Roses - Songfacts". www.songfacts.com. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  30. ^ "The 10 Best Uses Of Guns N' Roses Songs In Movies". ScreenRant. February 4, 2021. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  31. ^ Tangcay, Jazz (July 9, 2022). "How 'Thor: Love and Thunder' Uses the Music of Guns N' Roses to Tell a Story". Variety. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  32. ^ "GTA: San Andreas soundtrack listing". Eurogamer.net. October 26, 2004.
  33. ^ "Bengals Fans, It's Time to Rule The Jungle!". Bengals.com.
  34. ^ "Guns N' Roses is about to make more money in Cincinnati: Creating a Bengals music playlist". Cincinnati.com.
  35. ^ "Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  36. ^ Pennanen, Timo. Sisältää hitin: levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972. Otava Publishing Company Ltd, 2003. ISBN 951-1-21053-X
  37. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Guns N' Roses". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  38. ^ "Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  39. ^ "Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  40. ^ "Guns N' Roses: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  41. ^ "Guns N' Roses Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  42. ^ "Guns N' Roses Chart History (Hot Canadian Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  43. ^ "Veckolista Heatseeker, vecka 30, 2018" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  44. ^ "Guns N' Roses Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  45. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  46. ^ "1989 The Year in Music: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 101, no. 51. December 23, 1989. p. Y-22.
  47. ^ "Longbored Surfer - 1989". longboredsurfer.com.
  48. ^ "Danish single certifications – Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved January 17, 2024.
  49. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Guns N' Roses; 'Welcome to the Jungle')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  50. ^ "Italian single certifications – Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved November 9, 2021. Select "2018" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Welcome to the Jungle" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  51. ^ "British single certifications – Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  52. ^ "Chart: Digital Songs" (PDF). Nielsen Soundscan. June 23, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  53. ^ "American single certifications – Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle". Recording Industry Association of America.

External links[edit]