On this day in 1991, Guns N’ Roses released “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II.” Their long-awaited follow-up to “Appetite for Destruction” was one of the most anticipated album releases of all-time.
There was a period in the late 80s where Guns N’ Roses could make any song sound great. Don’t believe me? Listen to “Cornshucker” and “It Tastes Good, Don’t It?” Both were pure misogynistic filth and never released, but tell me they are not catchy.
The band burst on the scene in 1987 with “Appetite,” the greatest-selling debut album of all time. Critics and fans were so amazed and felt Guns N’ Roses had the potential to have success on the level of The Rolling Stones… if they could hold it together.
By the time the “Use Your Illusion” albums were released, it was apparent that they probably would not. Drummer Steven Adler was kicked out of the band for excessive heroin use (there’s no telling how bad it must’ve been), lead singer Axl Rose had angered fans with the racist and xenophobic lyrics to “One in a Million,” and the band could barely stand each other. In fact, each member of the band recorded most of his parts alone in the studio for the “Use Your Illusion” albums.
A common misconception is that the albums were received to disappointment, but in reality, both albums were given high marks from publications like Rolling Stone and USA Today. Fans also stood in line for hours to buy both of them and each album sold 7 million copies.
And if they were still together today, these albums would be held as worthy efforts. However, the band quickly imploded after a world tour marred with 11:30 am stage appearances, Izzy Stradlin leaving the band and a riot in Montreal when the band left the stage too early.
The band put out one more album, a collection of cover songs known as “The Spaghetti Incident” before calling it quits (I refuse to call that back-up band that Rose tours with Guns N’ Roses). Sadly, these two albums are considered the culminating point of its bloated. I actually can listen to both of these albums in their entirety, but I do believe if they had forced themselves to release just one album, it would’ve been considered one of the best of the last 25 years. Most rock fans have their opinion of what should’ve been on that one album. Here are mine in the order they should’ve tracked.