The Farr Side: ‘Appetite for Destruction’ at 25
Picture this:?Two newly licensed 10th graders cruise around in a classic VW Bug screaming at the top of their lungs, “Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games.”
Looking back now, we were probably anything but cool — but who really cared? Our music rocked and that’s all that mattered.
I’m sure there are many from my time who had a similar experience listening to “Appetite For Destruction” from Guns ‘N Roses.
It’s almost hard to believe, but 25 years ago last weekend I purchased “Appetite For Destruction” on cassette. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was one of those albums everyone had to have.
Albums come and go.?Few have such a lasting impact as this one. In fact, if you were to ask most anybody what albums defined the ’80s, you’d find “Appetite” listed up there with “Thriller,” “Synchronicity,” “The Joshua Tree” (U2), “Like A Virgin,”?“Hysteria” “Purple Rain” and “Slippery When Wet.”
Axl Rose and Slash became instant pop culture phenoms when MTV first aired “Welcome To The Jungle,” the album’s first single, on “Headbanger’s Ball.” It was clear this band was not your mom and pop’s rock ‘n’ roll. They were here to kick butt and take names.
The band’s original lineup of Rose,?Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagen and Steven Adler was key to the album’s success. They wrote, arranged and performed all 12 tracks, something unheard of at the time for a newly signed band.
“Sweet Child O’ Mine” was the song that broke the mold for GnR and for rock music. It was such a massive hit. You couldn’t do anything or go anywhere and not hear Slash’s famous opening guitar licks. They were an air guitarist’s dream.
“Sweet Child O’ Mine” planted itself at No. 1, quickly establishing the band’s game-changing contention among other leading hard rock/metal bands.
As cool as the songs were to hear, so were the videos. “Paradise City” had to be my favorite from “Appetite.” It seemed to sum up the band’s quick rise to fame and the toll performing and traveling had taken on the band following the album’s success.
Adler’s slow drum interlude as the stadium filled, followed by Axl’s delivery of the lines, “Take me down to the Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty / Oh won’t you please take me home” was so cool. You just knew you were going to hear something great as the melody grew.
“Appetite For Destruction,” although lyrically controversial to some ears, was a masterpiece. It has since sold well over 30 million copies and sounds every bit as good today as it did when the destruction began.
Barrett, in case you’re reading this, I thought we were cool, too. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything!
David T. Farr is a Sturgis, Mich., Journal correspondent. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also find The Farr Side on Facebook.