On July 21st, Guns N' Roses' debut album, Appetite for Destruction turned 30 years young. It's hard to rationalize in my mind that one of the most influential and iconic albums I listened to growing up, has now been inn existence for THIRTY years. Let that sink in for a minute.

Ok, now that we've dealt with that, let's discuss the album itself. I remember the first time I heard it. I was watching MTV, back in a time long ago when they actually played music videos. "Welcome to the Jungle," debuted and I watched it almost out of curiosity because these guys were new and I wanted to see what they had going for them. All I can remember is getting as far as the point in the song where it really kicks in to high gear at the beginning and I was absolutely hooked. I thought "man, these guys are just fantastic!" I went to my local record store and picked up the cassette. I played that album from the opening track, "Welcome to the Jungle," to the final track on side 2, "Rocket Queen," over and over again. I couldn't get enough of it! I wound up investing in 3 cassettes of "Appetite for Destruction" because I kept wearing them out. I was very thankful when cd's finally came along not too long after that.

It's funny because Guns released "Jungle" as their debut single and iconic as it is now, it really didn't move the needle for fans here in the U.S when it debuted in 1987. Then came "Sweet Child O'Mine," that's where the guys started to pick up steam from a radio and notoriety standpoint. By late spring in 1988/early summer, the band had really become popular overseas in the U.K.. The band was booked for a few dates over there, including the Monsters of Rock Tour at Castle Donington. By the time they got back to the states, they had a solid following behind them.

That's where the New Jersey connection comes into play. The band's third single, "Paradise City," one which Slash admits is his favorite song that they ever wrote, became the song that really put the band in the spotlight. Parts of that video were shot right here in New Jersey at the old Giants Stadium in the summer of 1988. Guns N' Roses shot a lot of that footage right on stage during that show.

The band opened for Deep Purple and Aerosmith on that show. Still to this day, I have never seen a stadium so packed for the opening band. People could not wait to get into that show and with good reason.70,000 people, all inside the stadium for the opening act. When does that ever happen at a show? I remember sitting up in the 300 section, in the upper deck, one section off from the stage and it was just a sea of people down on the floor.  It was something to see.

People often refer to "island albums," meaning if you were stranded on an island and could only bring a certain number of albums with you, which ones would you take? "Appetite," would absolutely be one of those albums for me. I still listen to that album to this day and still remember exactly how I felt as a teenager when I first heard it. The album ranks in my top 5 of my all-time favorite albums, without question.

So Happy Birthday to "Appetite for Destruction." It's one of the most iconic albums that set the table for one of rock's legendary bands. You're sounding just as good at 30 as you were back in 1987.


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