Friday, July 8, 2011

The #33 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Appetite for Destruction" by Guns N' Roses

One thing that has always been great about the Rock Era is that several styles are represented on the popular chart. There's great R&B, rockabilly, ballads, country, metal. Back in 1987, hard rock's influence was fading and the chart was weighted with mediocre R&B songs (similar to the situation today). Guns N' Roses restored the balance by coming out with this great album Appetite for Destruction.

The album reached #1 for 5 weeks, but the true barometer is that it also spent 15 weeks at #2 and 8 more at #3. That's 28 in the Top 3 and 52 in the Top 10 (#15 All-Time). I grant you that, as anyone can deduce from the above paragraph, the competition was not great, and that's going to detract from those numbers. Still, they are pretty mind-blowing numbers and when you also factor in 147 weeks on the album chart (nearly three years), heavy airplay and 18 million in sales, you know the Top 10 statistics were not a fluke. Besides the competition, the only other thing dragging the album down is its Track Rating* of 8.71. Still, that's not the worst of The Top 100 Albums*.

Many of the songs had been written for this great debut while Guns N' Roses was performing on the Los Angeles club circuit. "Sweet Child O' Mine", one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*
, not only set the tone for the album but launched it in the minds of listeners. The unforgettable guitar riff opening ensure it would be a monster hit and lay the groundwork for "Welcome to the Jungle","Paradise City" and "Nightrain, the album's other singles. "Nightrain" did get some airplay on Mainstream Rock stations but did not do well otherwise. The rest of the tracks on the album are good but not great so what you get is more of an album highlighting those three singles instead of a complete concept album.  The only average songs are "It's So Easy" and "My Michelle", though, so it's not a bad listen.

Guns N' Roses won an American Music Award for Favorite Single ("Sweet Child O' Mine") and were nominated for Favorite Album--Hard Rock and Favorite Artist--Hard Rock.  They also captured Best New Artist at the MTV Video Music Awards for "Welcome to the Jungle" and were nominated for  Best Group Video (for "Sweet Child O' Mine") and Best Stage Performance in a Video (for "Paradise City").
Appetite for Destruction:

1.   "Welcome to the Jungle" (Axl Rose, Slash) --4:34
2.   "It's So Easy" (Duff McKagan, West Arkeen) --3:23
3.   "Nightrain" (Rose, Izzy Stradlin, Slash, McKagan) --4:29
4.   "Out ta Get Me" (Rose, Stradlin, Slash) --4:25
5.   "Mr. Brownstone" (Stradlin, Slash) --3:49
6.   "Paradise City" (Rose, Slash, Stradlin, McKagan) --6:46
7.   "My Michelle" (Rose, Stradlin) --3:40
8.   "Think About You" (Stradlin) --3:52
9.   "Sweet Child O' Mine" (Rose, Slash, Stradlin) --5:55
10. "You're Crazy" (Rose, Stradlin, Slash) --3:17
11. "Anything Goes" (Rose, Stradlin, Chris Weber) --3:26

12. "Rocket Queen" (Rose, Stradlin, McKagan) --6:13

Axl Rose was the lead vocalist and also played percussion, synthesizer and whistle on the album. Elite guitarist Slash played lead, rhythm and talkbox, Izzy Stradlin was on rhythm and lead guitar and backing vocals, Duff McKagan was on bass and backing vocals and Steven Adler handled drums.

Mike Clink was the producer, Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero mixed the album while Victory Deyglio, Dave Reitzas, Micajah Ryan, Julian Stoll, Andy Udoff and Jeff Poe were the engineers Michael Hodgson handled album design and art direction. The cover art was based on Robert Williams' painting Appetite for Destruction while Greg Freeman, Robert John and Jack Lue contributed photography.

Appetite for Destruction was recorded at Rumbo Studios in Canoga Park, California, Take One Studio in Burbank and Can Am Studio in Tarzana. The album was released July 21, 1987 on Geffen Records.

Guns N' Roses cranks up the sound at #33--Appetite for Destruction.

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