Guns N’ Roses 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 to 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. Rose, wanting to expand the band’s sound with industrial & electronic elements, enrolled an eclectic lineup of musicians, including punk bassist Tommy Stinson, virtuoso guitarist Buckethead, synth-player Chris Pitman and several touring members of Nine Inch Nails, among others. After a decade of work, 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. Following the expansive Chinese Democracy Tour, 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. (wikipedia)
G N’ R Lies (also known simply as Lies) is the second studio album by American hard rock band Guns N’ Roses and was released on November 29, 1988 by Geffen Records. It is also the band’s shortest studio album, running at 33 and a half minutes. The album reached number two on the US Billboard 200, and according to the RIAA, the album has shipped over five million copies in the United States. “Patience” was the only single released from Lies, and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. This is their last full-album to featured the drummer Steven Adler following his departure in 1990, shortly after the single “Civil War” was recorded, and featured on Use Your Illusion II (1991), as well as their last album to be recorded as five-piece band members.
The first four tracks consist of the previously released EP Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide. These four tracks were also included as bonus tracks on the 2018 reissue of Appetite for Destruction.
The last four songs were recorded with acoustic guitars. They were written and recorded in only a few studio sessions (with the exception of “You’re Crazy”, which appeared in an alternative version on Appetite for Destruction), which producer Mike Clink called “one of those magical rock and roll history moments.”
In later interviews, Axl Rose stated that while he loved how the band sounded on the last four songs, he hated the sound of his voice. Rose recalled that his voice was husky and scratchy from the band’s lengthy touring at the time, and if he could he would have re-recorded his vocal tracks in a separate session.
A significantly faster version of “You’re Crazy” with electric guitars had previously been released on the band’s debut album, Appetite for Destruction, and was now recorded as originally intended. “Used to Love Her” was written as a joke after Izzy Stradlin disliked a song he heard on the radio featuring “some guy whining about a broad who was treating him bad”. Slash stated that “People think it’s about one of our old girlfriends, but it’s actually about Axl’s dog.”
Three of the four songs from the G N’ R Lies EP are included on the 2018 remastered release of the album Appetite for Destruction, with the exception of the controversial “One in a Million”.
The cover is a humorous parody of tabloid newspapers, as are the liner notes. The album’s cover art underwent several minor modifications when the title was released on CD. First, in the bottom left corner reading “LIES LIES LIES” originally read “Wife-beating has been around for 10,000 years.” Secondly, instead of “Elephant gives birth to midget”, the original headline reads, “Ladies, welcome to the dark ages.” Many copies of the original LP release also contained an uncensored picture of a nude model on the inner LP sleeve.
The UK/Euro WX 218 924 198 – 1 release had 2 stickers on the cover; Special Limited Edition containing Sheet of Japanese Peel off Stickers, and Contains language that some people may find offensive 924 198 – 1. The Peel off Stickers are on a 21mm x 30mm sheet.
The cover art bears a resemblance to John Lennon’s Some Time in New York City, an album that contains Lennon’s controversial “Woman Is the Nigger of the World”, a song Axl Rose cited when he defended his use of the word “nigger” in “One in a Million”.
In addition to the album cover, two songs from the album caused significant controversy.
The song “One in a Million” raised accusations of racism and homophobia. Rose denied that he was a racist and defended his use of the word “nigger”, claiming that “it’s a word to describe somebody that is basically a pain in your life, a problem. The word nigger doesn’t necessarily mean black.” He cited the rap group N.W.A. and the John Lennon song “Woman Is the Nigger of the World” as other examples of musicians using the word. Several years later, Rose conceded that he had used the word as an insult towards black people who had tried to rob him, and because the word is a taboo. In response to the allegations of homophobia, Rose stated that he considered himself “pro-heterosexual” and blamed this attitude on “bad experiences” with gay men.
Rolling Stone, in a 4 out of 5 star review, stated “Given that Guns N’ Roses could probably release an album of Baptist hymns at this point and go platinum, it would be all too easy to dismiss G n’ R Lies as a sneaky attempt by the band to throw together some outtakes and cash in on the busy holiday buying season… The good news is that Lies is a lot more interesting than that… The calm folk-rock melodies of these four acoustic songs reveal yet another welcome facet of Guns n’ Roses. They should also end any further mutterings from the doubting Thomases out there who are still making snide comments about the band’s potential for longevity.” Allmusic, in a 3.5 out of 5 review, criticizied some of the songs on the acoustic side, stating “Constructed as a double EP, with the “indie” debut Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide coming first and four new acoustic-based songs following on the second side, G N’ R Lies is where the band metamorphosed from genuine threat to joke. Neither recorded live nor released by an indie label, Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide is competent bar band boogie, without the energy or danger of Appetite for Destruction. The new songs are considerably more problematic. “Patience” is Guns N’ Roses at their prettiest and their sappiest, the most direct song they recorded to date. Its emotional directness makes the misogyny of “Used to Love Her (But I Had to Kill Her)” and the pitiful slanders of “One in a Million” sound genuine.
In a negative review for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau stated “Axl’s voice is a power tool with attachments, Slash’s guitar a hype, the groove potent “hard rock”, and the songwriting not without its virtues. So figure musical quality at around C plus and take the grade as a call to boycott, a reminder to clean livers who yearn for the wild side that the necessary link between sex-and-drugs and rock-and-roll is a Hollywood fantasy” while condemning “One In a Million” and “Used To Love Her”.
In a 2014 review Metal Hammer dissected the controversy around the album, stating “Conceived as a stop-gap release, the second Guns N’ Roses album remains a remarkable one-off – in every sense. Ultimate Classic Rock stated “Ironically, G N’ R Lies’ tabloid-style cover art also hinted at the incessant scandals and resulting paranoia that would soon engulf the band, and its singer in particular, sowing the seeds to their eventual dissolution after the twin Use Your Illusion behemoths, and protracted creative silence until 2008’s historically delayed Chinese Democracy opus.” (wikipedia)
Steven Adler (drums, background vocals)
Duff “Rose” McKagan (bass, guitar, background vocals)
W. Axl Rose (vocals, piano, whistling)
Slash (guitar, background vocals)
Izzy Stradlin (guitar, background vocals)
percussion on 05. – 08.:
West Arkeen − Ray Garden − Rik Richards − Howard Teman
Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide: Faux-live songs):
01. Reckless Life (Rose/Stradlin/Weber) 3.20
02. Nice Boys (Anderson/Cocks/Leach/Royall/Wells) 3.04
03. Move To The City (Stradlin/Weber/Del James) 3.43
04. Mama Kin (Tyler) 3.57
Acoustic songs, 1988
05. Patience 5-56
06. Used To Love Her 3.13
07. You’re Crazy 4.10
08. One In A Million 6.08
Written by Steven Adler – Duff McKagan – Axl Rose – Slash – Izzy Stradlin