In 1987 Guns N’ Roses released their debut album, Appetite for Destruction and, save for a short EP, their next release wasn’t until 1992. The desire for a new material was huge, and fans were rabid with excitement when it was announced that the follow-up album, Use Your Illusion would be not just one, but two double-albums; probably close to 25-30 songs! How amazing would this be?
It should have been, however things weren’t 100% inside the Gn’R camp, politics and egos was taking over everything. As a result the albums’ release seemed to have every musicians input on it, all the songs the wanted, sprawled over the 8 sides of vinyl. But there were some real gems in there.
If like Appetite for Destruction, Use Your Illusion was just one album, then which of those 30 tracks should have made it on the album, and which should have been kept back for future releases, b-sides, EPs, or just not released? It is a contentious and difficult choice.
In fact, in 1998 their US record label released just that; a single CD length entitled Use Your Illusion. Of course this was immediately met with complaints about which tracks are included or missing; the reality was actually that it was a ‘clean’ compilation only including songs with no swearing or unsavoury language. Let’s be honest, this can never be a good way to put a compilation together; not if you care about the music.
Admittedly though, no matter what you drop it will have been someone’s favourite track, so perhaps Gn’R were right to release 30 songs at once, though I don’t think so. 19 years have passed since the original album releases, so here is my view of what that single CD follow-up to Appetite… should have looked like:
Side 1 : 36:32
- Right Next Door To Hell
- You Could Be Mine
- Don’t Cry (Original)
- Double Talkin’ Jive
- Civil War
Side 2: 37:54
- Pretty Tied Up (The Perils of Rock & Roll Decadence)
- Dust N’ Bones
- Bad Obsession
- November Rain
- 14 Years
Total playing time : 74:26
Yes, 17 tracks have been left-off, but just because they were written or recorded doesn’t mean they deserve inclusion on the release. Take “My World” as a perfect example, or indeed the alternative lyrics version of “Don’t Cry”, both of which are at best b-side material. I’ve also left off the two rather brilliant cover versions “Live & Let Die” and “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” which was difficult as they were (and remain) a staple of the Gn’R live set.
Don’t get me wrong they are brilliant, and their reading of “Live & Let Die” is iconic to the point Paul McCartney himself now plays the song more like this version live than his original. However from two albums brimming with so many brilliant self-penned tracks their just wasn’t the place for them.
Try making an iTunes playlist or burning a CD of the above track-listing. It works as a perfect progression from Appetite for Destruction.