Thursday, July 25, 2013

Guns N' Roses--Sweet Child O' Mine (1988)

     Just like in the day to day life of millions of people, the artificial existence of those who are exalted in our media culture gives us many who have had lots of talent, but finds a way through mismanagement of  their lives. It's easy to put the blame on the glare of the spotlights on their lives, but let's face it, more than a few of them were headed for a fall long before it actually occurred.
     I bring for your consideration on Axl Rose, lead singer of Guns N' Roses. I personally think that Axl had one of the greatest rock voices of his generation, and one of the best in the history of rock. The album, "Appetite for Destruction" was one of the best (perhaps THE best rock album of the 80's if you only count American acts) rock albums of the 1980's. A whole decade of new wave, dance music, and hair metal was swept away from the mind of those wanting to hear rock on the top 40 by the distinctive sounds of Slash playing the opening riff to "Sweet Child O' Mine". Now, I'm not trying to be pollyanish here, many times from it's development, rock has always pushed the envelope when it comes to behavior their own and what they expected from the audience. Axel always seemed to be angry, and it came across in his lyrics. Instead of being cathartic however, it continued to spill out in his relationship with other band, his own band members, and finally his audience.   
     The band began in early 1985 as a combination of two bands. Axl and his school friend Izzy Stradlin from their group Hollywood Rose, and Tracii Guns, Ole Beich, and Rob Gardner from L.A. Guns. After just a couple of gigs, Beich was replaced by Duff McKagan and later by Slash. Within a year because of relentless touring, and being billed on some of the top places in the Hollywood strip scene, they were signed by Geffin records in 1986.
     "Welcome to the Jungle" was actually the first single off of, "Appetite for Destruction", but the single and album had problems at first catching on. Again the relentless touring and the reception of the video  of "Jungle" on MTV when it was first aired (at four in the morning) got the ball rolling. It was the release of "Sweet Child O' Mine", which was written for Axl's then girlfriend Erin Everly, that broke the group into wide acceptance. It reached number one in the late summer of 1988, and the re-release of "Welcome to the Jungle" as well as "Paradise City" went in into the top 10.



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