On this day in 1987, Guns N’ Roses released the best-selling debut album of all-time.
But it didn’t start out that way.
Appetite for Destruction debuted at #182 on the Billboard 200 on August 29, 1987. Almost a year later, the album would top the charts on August 6, 1988. The band’s constant touring schedule and radio airplay propelled Appetite to number one. It would spend four nonconsecutive weeks at the top, and 147 weeks in total on the charts.
The album was certified 18x Platinum in 2008, making it the 11th best-selling album in the United States. Ever. Worldwide sales estimate it at around 30 million copies.
Critics were turned off by the themes of the album, including sex and drugs, but the anticulture themes drove home with fans. In a retrospective review, Pitchfork writer Maura Johnston gave it a 10 out of 10:
“The debut from Guns N’ Roses was a watershed moment in ’80s rock that chronicled every vice of Los Angeles led by the lye-voiced Axl Rose and a legendary, switchblade-sharp band.”
Axl Rose says the songs were written as the band played the Los Angeles circuit. They had so many songs that many appear in later works, including “November Rain.”
The band settled on Miek Clink to produce the album, who gave them the creative freedom to do as they please. We’re thankful he did–who knows how the album would’ve turned out if Axl, Slash, and the gang had limitations placed on them.
Cheers to this incredible album turning 30.
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