'Use Your Illusion': Guns N' Roses Gets Bigger And More Ambitious (2023)

What’s your next move when you’re already the world’s biggest rock band? That was the question hanging over Guns N’ Roses after their all-conquering debut album, Appetite For Destruction, sold millions of copies. The group’s answer: Double down on their artistic aspirations and simultaneously release two ambitious and frequently astonishing albums, Use Your Illusion I & II.

“We want to define ourselves,” frontman Axl Rose told Rolling Stone in 1990. “Appetite For Destruction was our cornerstone, a place to start. That was like, ‘here’s our land, and we just put a stake in the ground – now we’re going to build something.’”

Order Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion I & 2ultimate editions.

Rose was as good as his word. Yet, while both volumes of Use Your Illusion are now widely regarded as Guns N’ Roses’ most seminal artistic statements, creating them almost finished the band off on more than one occasion.

The early sessions

Indeed, when they tried to compile new material at an initial pre-production session in Chicago in June 1989, Guns N’ Roses were in disarray. Rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin often failed to show, and Axl Rose drifted in and out of the session. Often bored and distracted, the rest of the band couldn’t agree on the direction their new music should take.

Looking back on this frustrating period, lead guitarist Slash told Classic Rock, “It was definitely exploratory compared to Appetite For Destruction. I mean, honestly, I’d have preferred to do a record with just 10 f_ing songs that were a bit more straightforward, but it was an opportunity to finally get the band to work again.”

With hindsight, the Chicago session wasn’t a complete disaster. The band worked up the basics for key Use Your Illusion tracks such as “Garden Of Eden” and the swaggering, Aerosmith-esque rocker “Bad Apples” during this period. Another key song that emerged, “Estranged,” was the result of the time Axl Rose spent pounding the studio piano in Chicago. Writing this atypically emotive ballad proved a decisive early breakthrough, for it suggested that Use Your Illusion would be far broader in scope than Appetite For Destruction.

(Video) Use Your Illusion I And II | Classic Album Under Review | Amplified

An inspiring return to Los Angeles

Yet, after they returned to Los Angeles, Guns N’ Roses still had numerous issues to overcome before their new recordings could get off the ground. Most notably, narcotic use was still abundant within the band, though they turned a corner when Slash managed to clean up his act. “How was I doing personally back then?” he mused in an interview with Classic Rock. “Well, by then, I was off smack, so that was good. That was like the motivator for me. So I was having a good time just doing my regular heavy drinking as normal.”

A string of jam sessions at L.A’s Mates rehearsal space further confirmed that Guns N’ Roses still had musical chemistry without the same level of chemical input. Gaining in confidence, the band played a series of well-received shows supporting The Rolling Stones in the US and hung onto their new-found creativity when they embarked on a feverish, two-night writing session at Slash’s house in Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon Hills.

During this intensive spell, Slash, Rose, Stradlin, and bassist Duff McKagan finished off a raft of Use Your Illusion’s best songs, not least “The Garden,” McKagan’s Johnny Thunders tribute, “So Fine,” and Rose’s furious, anti-media diatribe, “Get In The Ring.” They also worked up a number of Stradlin-penned tracks, including “Double Talkin’ Jive” – a crunching rocker inspired by an especially grisly real-life event during a previous recording session when the police found dismembered body parts in a dumpster behind the studio.

“All I know is that we didn’t do it,” Slash later wrote in his memoir, Slash: The Autobiography. “But Izzy turned the event into a lyric on ‘Double Talkin’ Jive.’ And I got to play that little Spanish flamenco part on it.”

(Video) Opinion: Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion | Vinyl Community

Double Talkin’ Jive (Live In Las Vegas, Thomas & Mack Center – January 25, 1992/Visuali…

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A new drummer

By this stage, things were looking up in the Guns N’ Roses camp. Yet when the band made their first fully-fledged foray into the studio to cut the epic protest song, “Civil War,” they discovered they had another issue to address before they could concentrate fully on nailing Use Your Illusion. “[That was] the first song when we went into the studio with [drummer] Steven [Adler],” said Slash later. “And [we] realized that he wasn’t really playing up to par.”

To replace him, the band drafted in Matt Sorum, formerly of popular UK rock act The Cult. Slash recalled: “I remembered seeing Matt with The Cult and thinking that he was the only good drummer I’d seen, and calling him and having him come down. We started rehearsing this material, and next thing you know, we’re in the studio.”

The recording sessions

With their new drummer on board, Guns N’ Roses were finally ready to lay the foundations for their twin albums with assistance from Appetite For Destruction producer Mike Clink. Despite their vast wealth of new material, the sessions went relatively quickly. “We did what we always did,” Slash told Classic Rock. “We went in the studio with the band in one room and just played the songs live, and that’s what goes on the record. But because I don’t like headphones, I’d go in there and play along with the band for the vibe and the energy. Then I’d go back into the studio afterward, get in the control room and do my guitar parts there. Before you knew it, we’d done the basic tracks for all the songs in 36 days.”

While the initial sessions went smoothly, painstaking overdubbing took longer, and tensions again bubbled to the surface during the album’s mixing stage, resulting in engineer Bob Clearmountain being replaced by Bill Price, famous for his work on punk era classics such as Never Mind The Bollocks…Here’s The Sex Pistols and The Clash’s London Calling. In retrospect, Slash wasn’t surprised that getting the two Use Your Illusion albums over the line proved difficult: “When you have 30 different songs, different approaches, written at different times, you want to paint each song a certain color,” the guitarist told Classic Rock. “It called for a more intellectual approach than we were used to.”

(Video) Guns N’ Roses Documentary: The True Story Behind Civil War! George Michael Talks Civil War!

The diversity of the two albums

Bearing out Slash’s comments, the breadth of diversity apparent across both volumes of Use Your Illusion demonstrated that Guns N’ Roses now had way more to offer than sleazy, testosterone-fueled anthems. Use Your Illusion I, for example, contained the 10-minute “Coma,” which was written by Slash when he was sharing a home in the Hollywood Hills with Izzy Stradlin. This intense, riff-heavy behemoth of a track was based around what the lead guitarist described as “a repeating pattern that got increasingly mathematical” in his memoir. It’s lost none of its hypnotic presence today.

Elsewhere, Use Your Illusion I found Guns N’ Roses surprising rock fans of all stripes with their surprisingly effective cover of Paul McCartney and Wings’ James Bond theme, “Live And Let Die.” Slash and Axl Rose decided to work this one up after discovering their mutual love of the track. Rose later told Rolling Stone, “We didn’t think we were good enough to get it done right,” but GNR’s dramatic take on the song has an inherent power all its own, much of which Slash later attributed to Rose’s work on the song’s synthesizer arrangements. “What Axl did was really complex,” the guitarist noted. “He spent hours… getting the nuances just right.”

Guns N’ Roses – Live And Let Die (Live)

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Rose truly came into his own, however, on Use Your Illusion’s widescreen ballads “November Rain,” “Estranged,” and “Don’t Cry.” The latter (which was also afforded a more somber makeover for Use Your Illusion II) provided GNR with a Top 10 hit on both sides of the Atlantic, but it’s less celebrated than the lauded “November Rain,” which Rose had been working on since the mid-1980s.

Finally completed for Use Your Illusion I, “November Rain” clocked in at an extravagant nine minutes and boasted ornate piano melodies, synthesizer-programmed strings, and no less than three searing Slash solos. Later peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 as a single, the song was promoted by a suitably lavish video costing $1.5 million. It arguably remains GNR’s most epic track and, in 2018, became the first music video from the 1990s to reach the 1 billion view achievement and is now about to cross over 2 billion views.

(Video) Guns N’ Roses – The Garden

Guns N’ Roses – November Rain

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Use Your Illusion II also captured numerous examples of Guns N’ Roses at their most innovative. The hard-hitting protest song “Civil War” included a smorgasbord of samples (ranging from snatches of dialogue from the film Cool Hand Luke through to an excerpt from a speech delivered by a Peruvian Shining Path guerrilla officer), while on “Locomotive (Complicity),” Guns N’ Roses dabbled with a funk-metal groove akin to Red Hot Chili Peppers or Faith No More. The record’s closing track, “My World,” even pointed the way toward the industrial and electronic stylings Guns N’ Roses would explore further on 2008’s Chinese Democracy.

The release

The simultaneous release of both volumes of Use Your Illusion on September 17, 1991, was one of rock’s biggest calendar events of that year. With only 1988’s hastily-assembled G N’ R Lies to tide them over following Appetite For Destruction, the band’s fan base was ravenous, and they quickly devoured the new releases.

Unsurprisingly, the two albums debuted atop the Billboard 200, with the slightly more accessible Use Your Illusion II initially making it to No. 1, selling 770,000 copies in its first week alone. These sprawling and frequently brilliant records have since established themselves as firm favorites with successive generations of rock fans who continue to marvel at what the Chicago Tribune’s review referred to as representing a “staggering leap in ambition, musicianship, production, and songwriting.”

“You know, when I look back on it, it was a monumental achievement,” Slash told Louder Sound in 2021. “The first thing I think of when I think of those albums is that it was such a whirlwind of s–t was happening at that particular time, but it was a huge accomplishment to get those records made. I think the Use Your Illusion records were victorious, if you know the back story. It was an epic journey, and after all of it, we came through.”

(Video) Guns N’ Roses: Appetite for Destruction | Full Documentary | Izzy Stradlin | Malcolm Dome

Order Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion I & 2ultimate editions.

The only difference in the artwork between the albums is the color scheme used for each album. Use Your Illusion II uses blue and purple. The original painting was titled by Paul Kostabi as Use Your Illusion and also became the title of both albums.

Which is the better Use Your Illusion? ›

Winner: By a score of 6-4, Use Your Illusion II is scientifically proven to be superior to I.

What is on the cover of Use Your Illusion? ›

The covers of Use Your Illusion I and II feature the same detail from Raphael’s painting The School of Athens. They were done by Estonian-American artist Mark Kostabi, who used a yellow and red color scheme for Use Your Illusion I and a purple and blue one for II.

What is the final song of Use Your Illusion by Gun N Roses? ›

After the final climactic chorus, the opening section is reprised before ending with an audio effect of the song being fast-forwarded. “Coma” was written by Rose and Slash about their drug overdoses.

How long is Use Your Illusion II? ›

1. The Use Your Illusion albums are 2.5 hours long in total. 2.

How many copies did Use Your Illusion 1 sell? ›

When they were released in September 1991 – a week before Nirvana’s game-changing LP Nevermind – the Use Your Illusion albums were immediate hits, selling more than 14 million copies combined.

Is Use Your Illusion a double album? ›

Guns N’ Roses’ double album Use Your Illusion I & II was released on September 17, 2021. Use Your Illusion was one of the most anticipated albums not just in 1991, but ever, with the album dropping at midnight on its first day of release resulting in late-night lines at record stores all across the country.

What are the illusions of life? › Suffering itself is an illusion!…

The 6 Illusions

  • The delusion of limitations of space. …
  • The delusion of time. …
  • The delusion of the limitations of attachment. …
  • The delusion of limitations of knowledge. …
  • The delusion of the limitation of creativity. …
  • The delusion of fear.

What are the 6 illusions of depth? › Six Ways to add depth to your images Ins and Outs of Impressionist Photography

  • Light and shadow. Light and shadow help us to make sense of what we see and to understand texture, dimension and perspective. …
  • Linear perspective. …
  • Diagonal lines. …
  • Overlapping objects. …
  • Colours. …
  • Focus.

What is the purpose of illusion art? ›

Optical illusion art, better known as Op art, is a form of abstract art that emerged in the 1960s. It utilizes graphic shapes and block colors to create the illusion of movement or depth, exploiting the intricate ways in which the human eye perceives what we see.

What is the last song in divergent? ›

But it’s Ellie Goulding’s “Beating Heart” that has been featured in the film’s TV ads, and is the end-credits song of the film itself.

What is Guns and Roses longest song? ›

At over nine minutes long, “Estranged”, also known for its music video, is the longest song on Use Your Illusion II and Guns N’ Roses’ second longest song overall (after “Coma” from Use Your Illusion I).

What is the song at the end of the movie Fight Club? ›

After being featured in the 1999 film Fight Club (in which the song plays over the final scene), the song gained an even wider audience. “Where Is My Mind?” was voted number 29 in the “Hottest 100 of All Time” music poll conducted by Australian radio station Triple J in 2009.

How many songs are on Use Your Illusion? ›

Guns N’ Roses have unveiled a massive Use Your Illusion I & II box set featuring 96 songs, including 63 previously unreleased tracks. The collection arrives in numerous formats on November 11th. GN’R released the companion Use Your Illusion albums nearly 31 years ago to the day on September 17th, 1991.

When did Guns and Roses Use Your Illusion? ›

Use Your Illusion
Released August 25, 1998
Recorded January 1990 – August 1991
Studio A&M Studios, Record Plant StudiosStudio 56, Image Recording, Conway Studios & Metalworks Recording Studio
Genre Hard rock

7 more rows How many records did GNR sell? ›

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.

How many albums did one in a million sell? ›

A commercial success, the album was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling three million copies in the United States and six million worldwide.

How many copies did 25 sell first day? ›

Adele’s first day US album sales, 1.49M, were better than the first week album sales for any album of the last 15 years. Adele’s physical album sales alone would have been the fourth-best selling debut week album of the last 25 years in the US. Same goes for her digital sales.

How many copies did 25 sell? › In the US, the album sold over 3.38 million copies in its first week of sales, marking the largest single-week sales for an album since Luminate Data began tracking point-of-sale music purchases in 1991….

25 (Adele album)

Length 48:24
Label XL Columbia

13 more rows What is the point of a double album? ›

A double album (or double record) is an audio album that spans two units of the primary medium in which it is sold, typically either records or compact disc. A double album is usually, though not always, released as such because the recording is longer than the capacity of the medium.

How many albums did Use Your Illusion 2 Sell? ›

According to Universal France, USE YOUR ILLUSION II by GUNS N` ROSES has sold 15,000,000 copies worldwide. The album sold best in United States (7,000,000 copies), Germany (1,250,000 copies) and Canada (900,000 copies).

What is the biggest illusion of life? ›

“The greatest illusion in this world is the illusion of separation.” – Albert Einstein. You know those perceptual illusions where you think you see one thing, but if you look more closely, you can see something else?

What power is illusion? ›

Users can manipulate illusions, causing targets to see, hear, touch, smell or taste things differently from what they truly are. At its base, users can distort the shape and size of an object or area.

What are the 4 types of illusion? ›

This can lead to four types of cognitive illusions: ambiguous illusions, distorting/geometrical-optical illusions, paradox illusions, or fictions (image source).

What are the 3 types of illusions? ›

There are three main types of optical illusions including literal illusions, physiological illusions and cognitive illusions. All three types of illusions have one common thread. The perception of the image given to the brain doesn’t measure up. That’s why optical illusions are referred to as a “trick” of the eye.

What are the main types of illusion? ›

The three main types of illusion include optical illusions, auditory illusions, and tactile illusions.

What message is illusions about? ›

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah is a novel by writer and pilot Richard Bach. First published in 1977, the story questions the reader’s view of reality, proposing that what we call reality is merely an illusion we create for learning and enjoyment.

What was the meaning of illusion? ›

/ɪˈlu·ʒən/ an idea or belief that is not true, or something that is not what it seems to be: We have no illusions about how difficult the job will be.

What are the three causes of illusion? ›

Causes of Illusions in Psychology

The movement or refraction of light. Changes in the length of sound waves. The contextual information surrounding the object being perceived. Interference from other senses and their perceptions.

What was Tris last fear? ›

Tris’s fears include being devoured by crows, drowning in a tank, being kidnapped in her Abnegation bedroom, killing her family, the ocean and rocks, and being burned at the stake. Tris was able to get past all her fears in record breaking time, which Four was impressed by.

Is Tris still alive? ›

At the end of the Allegiant novel, Tris dies as she disseminates the memory serum to those in the bureau’s compound, including David, in an attempt to stop them from further discriminating and abusing “genetically damaged” people.

Why did Tobias change his name to four in Divergent? ›

During his initiation training, when he went through his fear landscape, it was discovered Tobias only had four fears, with the average being between ten and fifteen. As a result, his instructor, Amar, started calling him “Four.” Tobias accepted it so he could escape his past.

What is the longest number 1 song ever? ›

Old Town Road” holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.

What is the longest single song ever recorded? ›

For daily wit & wisdom, sign up for the Almanac newsletter.

The longest recorded pop song is “Apparente Libertà,” by Giancarlo Ferrari, which is 76 minutes, 44 seconds long.

What is the longest playlist ever? ›

Answer: The record for the longest Spotify playlist is held by Willis Orr, with about 10,000 songs (the maximum limit of a Spotify playlist) and over 800 hours of music. For a better perspective, you’d need to listen for more than 33 consecutive days to finish the playlist!

What is the famous line from Fight Club? ›

The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club! Third rule of Fight Club: someone yells “stop!”, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over.

What mental disorder is Fight Club? ›

One of the most widely recognized depictions of a psychological disorder can be found in the 1999 film, Fight Club. The film, which follows the life of an unnamed protagonist and his displeasure with life, makes an attempt at portraying Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

What is the real message of Fight Club? ›

What Fight Club understands is that the modern male is in an incredibly tenuous place when he becomes disconnected from his own emotions and healthy ways of expressing those emotions.

What is the object on the cover of Automatic for the People? ›

The photograph on the front cover is not related to the restaurant: it shows a star ornament that was part of the sign for the Sinbad Motel on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, near Criteria Studios, where the bulk of the album was recorded. The motel is still there, but the star is not since it was damaged in a hurricane.

What is on the Pink Floyd cover? ›

Fans discuss how the white beam of light passing through the triangle represents the start of life, and the rainbow beam represents all the paths and influences one may take during their lifetime. The continuation of the design on the back is said to represent the cyclical nature of life.

Who’s face is on the cover of The Grand Illusion album? ›

Styx releases The Grand Illusion on A&M Records featuring “Come Sail Away” and “Fooling Yourself.” The album cover art is an homage to a painting by René Magritte entitled “Le Blanc-Seing”. It features a photo of keyboardist Dennis DeYoung on the body of a horse. Cindy Trimm and 128 others like this.

What does the cover of Master of Puppets mean? ›

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich had said that the image encapsulates the idea of people, whether they are soldiers (“Disposable Heroes”) or drug addicts (the title track), being subconsciously manipulated — an overall theme of the record.

What is the meaning of Automatic for the People? ›

What did the title Automatic For The People mean? The enigmatic title was a typically local reference from R.E.M, regarding their hometown of Athens, Georgia. “Automatic For The People” was the motto of Weaver D’s Delicious Fine Foods, a restaurant based in the city.

What R.E.M. album is losing my religion on? ›

“Losing My Religion” is a song by American alternative rock band R.E.M., released in February 1991 as the first single from the group’s seventh album, Out of Time (1991).

What object splits light? ›

A Glass Prism is a device used to split white light into seven colours.

What is Pink Floyd’s darkest song? › “Eclipse” is the tenth and final track from British progressive rock band Pink Floyd’s 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon….

Eclipse (Pink Floyd song)

Song by Pink Floyd
Recorded 3 June 1972 – 1 February 1973
Genre Progressive rock
Length 2:03

6 more rows What is the most popular Pink Floyd cover band? ›

Undoubtedly, the most famous Pink Floyd tribute is The Australian Pink Floyd Show. The band perform in mammoth venues across the world and even occasionally take their experience to arenas.

How old is Grand Illusion? ›

Grand Illusions was started as an online community for science and games in 1996. It was developed by Hendrik Ball and George Auckland (then BBC producers) who were exploring the role of the media and the World Wide Web during the late 90s.

What is the meaning of grand illusion? ›

The term Grand Illusion is used in neuroscience, cognitive science and philosophy of mind to describe the “Binding problem”: how a reality emerges from the brain, even with missing or contradictory information, the brain will heuristically make up something that makes sense, a good combination of fast and useful in the …

What is the grand illusion hypothesis? ›

The Grand Illusion hypothesis alleges that vision seems to the Ordinary Perceiver as though it is everywhere photograph-like. For present purposes, we must inquire how vision seems to the Ordinary Perceiver—specifically, whether it seems to her as though her vision is everywhere photograph-like.

Is Puppet Master a girl or boy? ›

While it was confirmed that Puppet’s soul is female, both The Freddy Files and Ultimate Custom Night confirm that The Puppet himself is a male.

Is Master of Puppets anti war? ›

Anti-war sentiment, anti-drug warnings and a musical album that transcends time. Since its formation, American heavy metal band Metallica created masterpiece songs that stood as precedents for every metal band in the future. ‘Master of Puppets’ is one such album that breaks the influence-metre.

Is The Puppet Master a girl? ›

Who is Sandra Clifton? Sandra Clifton is the woman at the centre of new Netflix true crime series The Puppet Master. She married her childhood sweetheart Mark Clifton and they had two children Sophie and Jake. In November 2011 she met David Hendy, who claimed to work in the media selling ad spaces.


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