Guns N’ Roses

Many would call it unusual to hear a phrase that consisted of two widely opposite words in nature and sound put together as a name for a band. The contrast between both words “Guns” and “Roses”, could have easily been mistaken for gender appropriation but that was certainly not the case of this legendary hard rock band (Guns N’ Roses).

The early 1980s were remembered commonly for the increase of digital recording, pop music and other electronic genres like rock music which were continually enjoyed by a wide audience and this hardly deterred but motivated several groups of musicians and bands to steer in that direction. GNR, the often-used abbreviation of the band Guns N’ Roses, was no exception.

The current line-up for the American hard rock band as of this writing includes the following:

  • Axl Rose
  • Duff McKagan
  • Slash
  • Dizzy Reed
  • Richard Fortus
  • Frank Ferrer
  • Melissa Reese

History/Formation of Guns N’ Roses

This famous American band was established in March 1985 in Los Angeles, California. Current members of the band were initially members of Hollywood Rose (an American band formed in 1983 by Axl Rose, Izzy Stradin and Chris Weber), Road Crew (an American garage band formed 1983 with Slash, Steven Adler, and Duff McKagan), and L.A Guns (also an American band formed in 1983).

In 1984, Jeffrey Dean Isbell (Izzy Stradlin) who was a member of Hollywood Rose at the time was living with a member of the L.A Guns band, Tracii Guns. When the L. A Guns band wanted a new vocalist because their manager had fired vocalist Mike Jagosz, Izzy suggested Axl Rose (a member of Hollywood Rose).

Axl Rose worked with the L.A Guns for about six to seven months in the same 1984 within which the manager once again started having issues with Axl and wanted to fire him too.

L.A Guns members were at that point living together so it became uncomfortable and “weird” dealing with the tension that arose in their group. Tracii Guns and Axl Rose then agreed to form their own band named Guns N’ Roses with Izzy Stradlin, L. A Guns drummer Rob Gardner and Ole Beich.

The new band came up with the name ‘Guns N’ Roses’ by adopting parts of the names of their former groups, after rejecting the suggested names Heads of Amazon and AIDS. 

They had their first show on March 26, 1985 which they promoted. Ole Beich was fired right after their first show and replaced with Michael Andrew also known as Duff McKagan. Duff was with the band till 1997 and left but later returned in 2016.

Tracii Guns also left the band after a disagreement with his co-founder Axl Rose in 1985. He was soon replaced by Saul Hudson (Slash).

Soon after Tracii’s exit from GNR, Rob Gardner followed in the same year and was replaced by yet another member of the Hollywood Rose, Michael Coletti popularly known as Steve Adler, who stayed in the band for 5 years (1985-1990) but was fired over his addiction to heroin.

After these sudden line-up changes, the new line-up played their first show on June 4, 1985. The group embarked on a disorganized tour through three cities: Sacramento, California and Settle, Washington. 

With the band uproar rising in the Hollywood arena coupled with performances at famous and well branded bars like Troubadour and The Roxy, they caught the attention of major record labels and soon landed a contract with Geffen Records in March 1986, where they received a $75,000 advance settlement.

This was after they had turned down a deal from Chrysalis Records, double the worth of Geffen Records. Apparently, Chrysalis Records wanted to change the identity of the band while Geffen gave them complete brand identity control.


Guns N’ Roses amidst various highs and lows still produced what music legends would describe as ‘good music’ and have been greatly rewarded for them through the years of their music career.

With over 100 million records sold worldwide and about 45 million estimated sales in the US, they are regarded as one of the best-selling music acts in history.

They have become recipients of acclaimed honors such as the American Music Awards, for which they earned Favorite Pop/Rock Single for their single Sweet Child o’ Mine and three more AMAs between 1989 and 1992.

In 2017, the hard rock band earned two Billboard Touring Awards for their Not in This Lifetime tour.

Other prominent awards they have received include the likes of MTV Music Awards and the Michael Jackson Video Vanguar Award.

Axl Rose grabbed the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award for the team, and they were also honored with the World Music Awards for Worlds Best Group and Worlds Best Selling Hard Rock Artist of the Year in 1993.

GNR has also swept several nominations from the BRIT Awards and Billboard Music Awards. The Denver GAFFA for Concert of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for their G N’ R Lies album (1990), and Echo Awards were several of the accolades the band received over the years.

Their maiden album (“Appetite for Destruction”), which was officially released in 1987, was a monstrous hit and a bestseller. It actually went on to become the bestselling debut album in the history of US after selling more than 30 million units globally. In the United States alone, it sold 18 million units. Understandably, the album peaked at number one in America.

In 2012, the members of Guns N’ Roses were honored with an induction into the highly coveted “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”.

Guns N Roses

Interesting Facts about Guns N’ Roses

The band in 1986, had their van break down while traveling to Seattle for a tour. This forced them to abandon the van and hitch hike all the way to their destination and back home to Los Angeles only with their guitars.

Their song “Sweet Child o’ Mine” was written in just about five minutes.

Their song “Paradise City” was written in the back of a van.

During their early stage, they were likened to the Rolling Stones for their rebelliousness. Their rebellious behavior earned them the moniker, “the most dangerous band in the world”.

In 2008, they released an album which they interestingly titled “Chinese Democracy”. This album made headlines by accruing more than $14 million in its production costs, making it one of the most expensive rock albums in history.

Founding member, Axl Rose is recalled to have once assaulted his neighbor with a chicken and started a riot.

The band’s lead guitarist, Slash, later turned his house into a zoo.

In conclusion

Through the many years of their career, only a few other bands in the music industry have endured as many trying moments, change of events, plans, line-ups and scandals as the members of Guns N’ Roses; but as time has revealed, their resilience is something that must be greatly acknowledged and appreciated.

Here are some of the biggest hits from Guns N’ Roses:

“Ain’t It Fun”

“Chinese Democracy”

“Civil War”

Don’t Cry


“It’s So Easy”

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

“Live and Let Die”

“Mr. Brownstone”


November Rain

One in a Million

“Paradise City”


“Shadow of Your Love”

“Since I Don’t Have You”

Sweet Child o’ Mine

Sympathy for the Devil

Welcome to the Jungle


“You Could Be Mine”


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