Guns N’ Roses Videos, Ranked Worst to Best
Videos played a considerable role in Guns N' Roses' rise as one of the biggest musical acts in the world. Appetite for Destruction made an indelible mark on rock and roll, and that ascendance was broadcast over MTV's airwaves. The expanding musical palate the band revealed on the Use Your Illusion albums — as well as their expanded capacity for indulgence — was reflected in the ambitious music videos they produced for the seemingly endless supply of songs to be released from those albums. See for yourself on the following list of Guns N' Roses Music Videos, Ranked Worst to Best.
Many of the entries on our list of Guns N' Roses Music Videos Ranked Worst to Best feature live footage of the band rocking out. For the music video for "Bad Apples," GNR decided to try a different take on the theme by making the video choppy and over-saturated.
The Spaghetti Incident? was an oddball record, but not as oddball as this rather surreal video, in which scantily dressed babes lay around with band members and Axl Rose gets tied up and laughed at by a demon.
Rose looks about as comfortable strumming a guitar as he might juggling chainsaws. Fortunately, he only needs to do it for about a minute before the professional guitar players in his band take over.
We're not usually real big on lyric videos, but there's something about this one that keeps pulling us back to watch it over and over. Maybe it's the editing, with all the breakneck cuts and concert pics and that awesome headbanging skull.
Or maybe it's the song, an outtake from Appetite for Destruction that only emerged officially 30 years after that classic's release. To hear it cleanly, in full stereo, fully cranked, is completely cool. Nothing uncool about it. And remember, they were kids! Street ruffians! Scary men, with indulgence issues! One of them wore a top hat!
Man, that was a great band.
The video for "Yesterdays," a low-charting ballad that served as the third track on this album, took on additional poignancy in time. A song with a theme about looking back is paired with images of the original lineup, even as drummer Steven Adler and guitarist Izzy Stradlin departed.
In this never-officially-released video, we get a little backstage/onstage glimpse of the new-look GNR, playing one of the best songs on the long-awaited Chinese Democracy. Strangely enough, they look like they're having a lot of fun — we had gotten used to the band as a dangerous, menacing juggernaut; to see one band member give another a piggy-back ride off the stage, egged on by Axl, does the heart good. Or to see band members relaxing, clinking glasses with one another in a moment of brotherly bonhomie — who'da thunk it? And let us reiterate: the song is really good.
Axl Rose must've had a lot to say on "Don't Cry," because he recorded not two, but three different versions of this song. The video for GNR's second take features shots of the band playing on a rooftop as helicopters circle overhead. Keep an eye out for the late Blind Melon singer Shannon Hoon, who provided vocal harmonies.
A track that almost made it onto Guns N' Roses' debut album, "The Garden" is another tune about the seedy side of life in L.A. Alice Cooper joined Hoon here on guest vocals.
A song that started out as one of guitarist Slash's picking exercises ended up launching GNR to international fame. In fact, "Sweet Child O' Mine," the third single from the band's debut, shot all the way to the top of the Billboard 200 album chart.
While muscular riffs have generally been Guns N' Roses' bread and butter, they've also shown a strong affinity for balladry. Izzy Stradlin's "Patience," is to GNR what something like "Wild Horses" is to the Rolling Stones, a tender moment inside a career of rougher stuff.
The first single from the Use Your Illusion albums, "You Could Be Mine" turned out to be a perfect fit with the blockbuster film Terminator 2: Judgement Day. This memorable clip features Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800, hunting down members of the band.
Though the band would eventually release a studio version of this Bob Dylan classic on Use Your Illusion II, this is arguably a better, rawer and more emotional take on the song. Shot at one of New York City's most famous rock clubs, the video captures early Guns in full force, playing the song to honor a departed friend, bearing down on it, as only they were capable of doing.
While the video for the alternate version of "Don't Cry" is simply footage of GNR playing, this clip is much more complicated. One scene, where Rose and actress Stephanie Seymour fight over a gun, seems to allude to a real-life event involving his then-wife Erin Everly.
"Paradise City," with its catchy guitar riffs and sing-along vocals, is amped up even further with a video shot mainly at Giants Stadium during a huge concert. (For something completely different, check out this crazy version from crooner Pat Boone.)
“We’re making this for the home video," Axl says in this previously unreleased clip. "Actually that’s wrong, it’ll be on the home video, but what we’re making this for is ourselves. So, like, you know if we made a nice video for MTV, we put it out, we’d sell more records and shit. But instead, we’re gonna spend a hundred and fifty grand just to make something we want to see.”
What they apparently wanted to see was performance clips of the band playing live in 1989 at the infamous Cathouse nightclub on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood and scantily clad women engaged in some light bondage.
Guns N' Roses channeled their experience living in the City of Angels to pen "Welcome to the Jungle." Once, when asked who he'd like to hear cover a GNR tune, Rose said, "That's a hard one. I'd like to hear Nirvana do 'Welcome To The Jungle.' That's what I'd like to hear. I'd like to hear Nirvana do 'Jungle' their way, however that is."
Guns N' Roses have released quite a few extra-long songs, but none of them was as popular as "November Rain." That surge of interest was no doubt bolstered by the video, which reportedly cost $1 million to shoot.
After the astronomical expense of the video for "November Rain," "Garden of Eden" seems refreshingly homemade. It was shot with just one camera, two spotlights, and no edits. Careful not to stare at Axl for the entire video, or you might start feeling dizzy.
This clip for the longest track from Use Your Illusion II has everything: a troubled relationship, a police raid and even dolphins, which appear just in time to save a drowning Axl Rose. What better reason for this to top our list of Guns N' Roses Music Videos Ranked Worst to Best?