Guns N' Roses - Welcome to Paradise City: Limited Edition on Skull Coloured Vinyl





Formed in 1985, Guns N' Roses are one of the best-selling bands of all time with sales of more than 100 million records worldwide and still filling stadiums today. 

Their debut album 'Appetite for Destruction' appeared on July 21, 1987 it soon became the biggest selling debut album of all time. The massive popularity of Guns N' Roses revived the mainstream appeal of rock music, and destroyed the stranglehold of dance music.

This release is the legendary broadcast of an Appetite for Destruction set from The Ritz, New York, on 2nd February 1988.

Guns N' Roses – Appetite for Destruction

Well of course it’s the best-selling debut album of all time, can 30 million people be wrong? The hit songs “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Paradise City” and “Sweet child of mine” alone justify buying this album. G ‘n R at the time just epitomised Rock ‘n Roll. It’s hard to imagine today, but people in 1987 were bored of rock ‘n roll, the world had changed; music had become about looking expensive on MTV videos rather than dangerous, druggie and aggressive which was the typical milieu of rock ‘n roll. In fact, a band member summarised the situation: “Rock ‘n roll in general has just sucked a big fat dick since the Sex Pistols”.

Rock was in crisis; the synthesiser was king, and everyone was buying fancy clothes that weren’t black. So how did G ‘n R happen?

Like so many famous bands, G ‘n R very nearly didn’t happen. Labelling the album’s, A side “G” and the B side “R” was a neat trick but not likely to get them over the line. So, let’s just remind ourselves of who is who in the band. Most of the band adopted stage names – so Bill Bailey is Axl Rose, lead vocalist, Saul Hudson is Slash lead guitarist, Izzy Stradlin (Jeffrey Isbell), Duff (Michael) McKagan and Steven Adler. The band had had years and years of jamming and going nowhere fast. Things started to pick up a bit in the mid 80’s where they were playing regularly at Troubadour, The Stardust Ballroom and Madame Wong’s in LA but their living was very hand to mouth.

In fact, Paradise City was the response to a disastrous gig the band landed. Slash and Adler were the last to join GN'R in 1985 after their original guitarist Tracii Guns and drummer Rob Gardner quit just days before their first show in Seattle. On the way up from Los Angeles, the vehicle broke down and they had to hitch hike the rest of the way, leaving most of their gear behind. They were only paid a fraction of what they had been promised at the one show they played, which was on borrowed amps. They had to surrender their remaining PNW performances and hitch hike back to LA. Fitting enough, the group named this trip the "Hell Tour," and wrote the lyrics to "Paradise City" together as they longed to go home. Though this became one of the group's biggest hits, Slash preferred his own version of the chorus, "Take me down / To the paradise city / Where the girls are fat / And they've got big ti--ies."

While the music industry was itching to sign them, in the late 80’s, on the basis of their regular slots in LA, they were only known in Los Angeles. And in fact, “Night train” is the name of a cheap wine, with high alcohol content which was a staple at the time. In 1986, the band were signed by David Geffen who promised them artistic freedom, but they were not out of the woods yet, by any stretch of the imagination. Appetite for destruction was released and did, well, nothing. The album cost 370,000 USD to make and the band got an estimated 250,000 USD so David Geffen had invested over half a million with no payback. At first, the album sat at No 182, and we mean sat. It took over a year to top the chart, can you imagine how the band felt? How David Geffen felt?

So, what happened? How did the album reach the tipping point? We have to remember that we were living in a pre-streaming time, with no mobile phones, no social media…media could make or break you on a whim. MTV was like a door, or like the firelighters needed to go mainstream and the mainstream was the radio, radio was the taste maker, not influential bloggers. But MTV weren’t playing “Welcome to the Jungle’s video”. In fact, the original album cover showed an alien space robot raping a woman on a sidewalk. There’s good publicity and bad publicity that gets you known, and then there’s just bad taste. The album cover had put the media off G ‘n R before they even started. The record label insisted the cover was changed. So, it was only when Geffen rang MTV himself and asked them to put “Urban Jungle” on MTV, that they rescinded, even then they weren’t keen. But the audience started to ring and ask for the video to air, the calls started to ramp up to such an extent that the radio started to play songs from the album…and that’s how it broke through or rather, trickled through at first.

But there’s still a huge amount that people don’t know about the album. According to Slash, the opening guitar riff of "Sweet Child" was just something he had invented while jamming. "Writing and rehearsing it to make it a complete song was like pulling teeth," the guitarist told Q in an interview years ago. He also wasn't happy about the fact that the song developed into a ballad, since Guns were more about having a bad-boy demeanour.

Then there’s the live porn on the record. You may think that porn being everywhere is a symptom of our times. But not so, if you listen to Rocket Queen very carefully, you’ll get some surprises. Those are the sounds of Adriana Smith, who had been dating Adler until she saw him out with another girl. Hoping to get revenge on the drummer, she developed a physical relationship with Axl Rose.

Later when the band was finishing up the mixing for Appetite in New York, Rose and Smith went at it again - except this time in the studio, and they recorded it to put in the album's closer. "We cleared everyone out of the studio. Dimly lit, there were cushions in the booth, so no one could really see in. There were two guys in one booth and we were in another and I think they got a couple hours of recording of us having sex," she told British Newspaper, the Sunday Mirror a few years ago.

Then there was the David Bowie incident, and that incident got violent. "It's So Easy" later received a video treatment, though it wouldn't be released in the U.S. until last year. The video features Erin Everly, Rose's first wife (and the inspiration behind "Sweet Child") dressed in bondage. David Bowie, who dated Slash's mom and thus had a relationship with the guitarist, showed up to the video shoot drunk and apparently flirted with Everly.

Rose didn't like that much, and the hot-headed singer apparently threw some blows at Ziggy Stardust and insulted him from the stage during their performance later. They eventually made up, but to think Bowie was once on Rose's shit list is comical.

What happened to G ‘n R after their purple period? They were dogged by a line up like a roller-deck, violence at their concerts and by accusations that the band were fascist, homophobic and racist. For example, their song “One in a million” talks about niggers and not understanding the idea of faggots. If you look at the band, they were probably just being honest that they didn’t understand why people would be gay but with the rise of political correctness at the start of the 90’s, the band was out of sync with the times.

The band’s two 1991 albums, Use Your Illusion I and II, sold well but were generally regarded as less compelling than their previous work. The 1993 album The Spaghetti Incident? generated further controversy by including a song written by mass murderer Charles Manson.

Despite the departures of Adler, Stradlin, and Slash and the absence of new product, Rose carried on with the band into the early 21st century. The “new” Guns N’ Roses played a handful of live shows in 2000 and 2001, with Rose leading a line-up that included former members of Primus and Nine Inch Nails. Meanwhile, Slash, Stradlin, and Matt Sorum (who had replaced Adler on drums prior to the Use Your Illusion recording sessions) recruited former Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland to form Velvet Revolver. Velvet Revolver’s debut album, Contraband (2004), topped the Billboard charts and received solid marks from both fans and critics. Rose returned to the studio to continue working on the next Guns N’ Roses full-length album, a process that began in 1994 with a completely different set of musicians. As the production entered its second decade, comparisons were made to the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson’s lost-and-found masterpiece Smile, and many expressed doubts that the album would ever be released.

In August 2008, nine tracks from the album, tentatively titled Chinese Democracy, were leaked to the Internet. After some 14 years, an estimated $13 million in production costs, and an exclusive distribution deal with electronics retailer Best Buy, Chinese Democracy hit store shelves in November 2008. It was greeted with generally positive reviews, but it was ultimately the band’s worst-selling studio album by a wide margin. Rose was quick to blame his record label for Chinese Democracy’s poor performance, but the changing music industry climate was likely a significant factor. Albums simply no longer sold in the quantities that they did in the early 1990s, when the band was at the height of its popularity. Guns N’ Roses remained popular in concert, however. In 2016 Slash and McKagan re-joined the band for a concert tour that concluded in 2019

The short version is that Appetite for destruction, most pundits agree, was their best work. It’s yet another illustration of how hard it is to be a sustainable commodity in the music industry, the constant tension between sounding new, yet redolent of your past remains the biggest challenge to most bands, and that was certainly true of G ‘n R. But buy the album because it’s important, without G ‘n R, rock ‘n roll’s importance would have dwindled further in the late 80’s, which could have seen a world without Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Smashing pumpkins, The Chilies, Soundgarden, Green Day, Nine inch nails, Oasis, Blur, R.E.M….. G ‘n R’s importance can’t be understated, and the album is a piece of rock history.

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