The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #311: Welcome to the Jungle by Guns n’ Roses (KEXP)

This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #311: Welcome to the Jungle by Guns n’ Roses.

“Welcome to the Jungle” was the second single released from Guns n’ Roses’ debut album called, “Appetite for Destruction”. The initial single was “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, with “Paradise City” being the third big hit spawned from this album. At the time, the original Guns n’ Roses lineup consisted of Axel Rose (lead singer), Slash (lead guitar), Izzy Stradlin (guitar), Duff McKagan (Bassist) and Steve Adler (drums). Prior to releasing “Appetite for Destruction”, Guns n’ Roses honed their chops as mainstays of the L.A. Rock scene. Despite all five band members being addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, at one time or another, they managed to raise the level of their musicianship to a high level and, as a result, played with a sense of tightness and ferocity as a group. However, because of the nefarious nature of their reputation, the release of their debut album was not heralded in a big promotional way. In fact, it was almost a full year later that “Sweet Child O’ Mine” began getting some airplay on MTV. Once that song took root, “Appetite for Destruction” blew up and went on to sell over 30 million copies; making it the best-selling debut album of all-time.

The song, “Welcome to the Jungle” was written to describe the experience of living the rock n’ roll lifestyle in a city like Los Angeles. It talks about how the “industry” uses new talent up and forever changes who they are, as a result. The music video shows an innocent-looking Rose getting off of a city bus, armed only with wide eyes, a guitar and a backpack. He is quickly approached by a drug dealer (who he rejects) but, as he walks around the inner city, he quickly sees many things which let him know he isn’t a small town boy any longer. The video ends with him being transformed into a rocker, more along the lines of what the real Axel Rose looks like. The moral of the song seems to be that there is definitely a price to pay for stardom but, for those willing to pay it, it is more than worth it.

“Welcome to the Jungle” has be voted as one of the best “rock” songs in the past quarter-century. Not only has it been a big hit for Guns n’ Roses but, it has become a staple at sporting arenas and stadiums and is used to “intimidate” visiting teams by implying that playing there will cause them to have to pay a high price, too. Whatever the case, this song captures a moment of musical magic for a band whose future, over the long-haul, always seemed shaky. But, in their prime, Guns n’ Roses were one of the very best Rock bands in the world. Here is the proof. I will post the “official” video below and a live version to follow. Enjoy!

The link to the video for the song, “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns n’ Roses, can be found here.

The pin to the video for the live version of “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns n’ Roses, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Guns n’ Roses can be found here.

Thanks, as always, to KEXP for helping to inspire the writing of this post. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.

Author: Tom MacInnes

Among the many characters I play: husband, father, son, retired elementary school teacher, writer, Cape Bretoner, lover of hot tea and, above all else, a gentleman. I strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others. In Life, I have chosen to be kind.

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