Guns N’ Roses has been one of the most influential and popular bands in the rock genre, and thanks to its surprise return back in 2016, it seems that the group’s story is far from over. In fact, we’ve just recently heard that the band is hard at work on a brand new album – news that has excited devoted GNR fans even more. It stands to reason that from now until the album’s release, those fans will be anticipating its sound, debating how good it might be, and all that good stuff. But even more than the new album, what we’re excited about is the single that will inevitably herald its coming. In some respects, a great rock group is only as good (or at least only as memorable) as its best singles – and we can’t help but wonder if Axl, Slash and company have one more timeless anthem left in them.
While we wait to find out the answer to that question though, now seems as good a time as any to go back and look at some of the group’s best singles over the years. And these – we would argue – have to be considered four of the best.
“It’s So Easy”
Of course we have to start with Guns N’ Roses’ first single – because it remains one of the best. Without “It’s So Easy” laying the groundwork for how the band handled singles, or how it announced itself to the world, we might never have seen GNR develop into the powerhouse group it became. That’s not to say the sound wouldn’t have been as good, but “It’s So Easy” was the first crack at stardom, and it was clear from the beginning that this band had it. So based on historical context alone, “It’s So Easy” gets a spot on this list. It doesn’t hurt though that it still holds up as a good, enjoyable song to listen to – certainly one that belongs on any fan’s favorite GNR playlist.
“Sweet Child O’ Mine”
One of Guns N’ Roses’ bigger hits, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is the only one of the singles to have topped the Billboard 100, which means we don’t really need to espouse further on its general quality. What we will note however is that this, more than any other GNR song, tends to represent the band in other mediums. The most recent example of this might have been a Guns N’ Roses – based slot machine game, featured on most of the internet’s top slot gaming sites and packed with GNR content. There are other songs that play while you spin the slot reels, but “Sweet Chid O’ Mine” stands out. Going back further, it’s also a popular film soundtrack pick, having appeared in movies ranging from The Wrestler to Big Daddy. The latter was a Sheryl Crow cover version, which speaks to our final point: This is also likely the most commonly covered song in GNR‘s catalogue.
Easily one of the band’s most recognizable and popular songs, “Paradise City” has endured to this day as a quintessential Guns N’ Roses anthem, largely in part due to the extremely relatable lyrics. Just about everyone gets an idea of somewhere special in his mind when “Paradise City” starts playing, such that unless you’re already there, hearing or singing the song can put you in the mindset where you can pretend that you are. This vague, nostalgic idea aside though, “Paradise City” is also perhaps the only GNR song that can match “Sweet Child O’ Mine” for pop culture appeal. Indeed, it’s so popular it inspired an entire video game.
“Welcome To The Jungle”
No list would be complete without what is largely considered Guns N’ Roses’ best-known song, “Welcome to the Jungle.” Despite never having hit the top spot on the Billboard 100, it’s certainly gone on to surpass quite a few songs that have in terms of impact and staying power. It’s synonymous with the band and its image, and is easily among its most-played songs of all time. It may not have its own video game, but it’s on its share of film soundtracks – and one might even say it’s become the theme song for an entire biome, which is a unique distinction in and of itself.
The chances that GNR comes up with something new to match these all-time hits are slim, partly because it takes time or even a great track to develop this kind of clout. But here’s hoping a single from the forthcoming album is up to the challenge.