Guns N’ Roses, often abbreviated as GNR, is an American hard rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1985. When they signed to Geffen Records in 1986, the band comprised vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler. The current lineup consists of Rose, Slash, McKagan, guitarist Richard Fortus, drummer Frank Ferrer and keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Melissa Reese.
Guns N’ Roses’ debut album, Appetite for Destruction (1987), reached number one on the Billboard 200 a year after its release, on the strength of the top 10 singles “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Paradise City”, and “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, the band’s only single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The album has sold approximately 30 million copies worldwide, including 18 million units in the United States, making it the country’s bestselling debut album and eleventh-bestselling album. Their next studio album, G N’ R Lies (1988), reached number two on the Billboard 200, sold ten million copies worldwide (including five million in the U.S.), and included the top 5 hit “Patience”. Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, recorded simultaneously and released in 1991, debuted at number two and number one on the Billboard 200 respectively and have sold a combined 35 million copies worldwide, including 14 million units in the United States. The Illusion albums included the lead single “You Could Be Mine” (also featured in the film soundtrack for Terminator 2), covers of “Live and Let Die” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, and a trilogy of ballads (“Don’t Cry”, “November Rain”, and “Estranged”), which featured notably high-budget music videos. The Illusion records were also supported by the extensive Use Your Illusion Tour, a world tour that lasted from 1991–1993. “The Spaghetti Incident?” (1993), an album of covers, was the band’s last studio album to feature Slash and McKagan before their initial departure.
Work on a follow-up album stalled due to creative differences between band members; by 1998 only Rose and Reed remained from the Illusion-era lineup. After a decade of work and several lineup changes, Guns N’ Roses’s long-awaited sixth studio album, Chinese Democracy (2008), was released. At an estimated $14 million in production costs, it is the most expensive rock album in history. It debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, but undersold industry expectations despite mostly positive critical reception. Slash and McKagan rejoined the band in 2016 for the Not in This Lifetime… Tour, which became the third-highest-grossing concert tour on record, grossing over $584 million by its conclusion in 2019.
In their early years, the band’s hedonism and rebelliousness drew comparisons to the early Rolling Stones and earned them the nickname “the most dangerous band in the world”. The band’s classic lineup, along with later members Reed and drummer Matt Sorum, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, its first year of eligibility. Guns N’ Roses have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, including 45 million in the United States, making them one of the best-selling acts in history.
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