Guns N' Roses (sometimes abbreviated as G N' R or GNR) is an American hard rock band. The band formed in Hollywood, California in 1985. Led by frontman and co-founder Axl Rose (born William Bruce Rose, Jr.), the band has released six studio albums, three EPs, and one live album while going through numerous line-up changes and controversies since its formation. The band has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, including over 76 million in the United States.
Guns N' Roses signed a deal with Geffen Records in 1986 and released the EP “Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide.” The band's 1987 major label debut album, ''Appetite for Destruction,'' has sold in excess of 38 million copies worldwide, been certified 18x platinum and reached #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The album is the best-selling debut album of all-time worldwide, beating Boston's debut album “Boston,” which has gone 17x platinum. In addition, the album charted three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, including "Sweet Child o' Mine" which reached #1, "Welcome to the Jungle" which reached #7 and “Paradise City” which peaked at #5.
“G N' R Lies,” also known as “Lies,” their second studio album was released in 1989 and featured the #4 Hot 100 hit, “Patience.” While officially an extended play, it was treated as a studio album when released. According to the RIAA, the EP has sold over five million copies only in the United States. It was nominated for a Grammy. It is the last Guns N' Roses album to feature the well-known lineup of lead vocalist Axl Rose, guitarists Slash and Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler.
With enough music for two albums, the band released “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II” on September 17, 1991. The tactic paid off when the albums debuted at #2 and #1 respectively in the Billboard 200, setting a record as they became the first and only group to achieve this feat until Hip-Hop artist Nelly accomplished the same with his simultaneously-released albums “Sweat” and “Suit” in 2004. Both Guns N’ Roses albums were certified 7x platinum.
“Use Your Illusion I” featured the Paul McCartney & Wings cover "Live and Let Die" which became a Top 40 hit, peaking at #33 on the Hot 100. The original version of “Don’t Cry” peaked at #10 on the Hot 100, becoming the band's fifth Top 10 hit there. “November Rain” featuring a sweeping orchestral backing reached #3 on the Hot 100.
“Use Your Illusion II” featured the singles “You Could Be Mine” which appeared in the film “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and a cover of the Bob Dylan song, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” which appeared on the “Days of Thunder” soundtrack.
In 1993, the band released "The Spaghetti Incident?," an album of cover songs which debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200. This was the last Guns N' Roses album to feature lead guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum and the only album to feature guitarist Gilby Clarke.
Following that just Rose and Reed remained from the “Use Your Illusion” era. Their sixth studio album, “Chinese Democracy” was released in 2008 after over a decade of work and many line-up changes. “Chinese Democracy” reached #3 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. The title track peaked at #34 on the Hot 100. The current lineup comprises lead vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarists Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and DJ Ashba, rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus, bassist Tommy Stinson, keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pitman and drummer Frank Ferrer.
Guns N' Roses have sold an estimated 100 million albums worldwide, including over 43.5 million in the United States.