Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion I And II : Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums

Artist : Guns N’ Roses 

Albums : Use Your Illusion I And II 

Released : September 17, 1991 

M.M. Album Rating : 4.5/5 (Two of the best Hard Rock Albums Of The 1990s) 

The whole Guns N’ Roses phenomenon in late 1991 was something I personally had never seen before or since in my lifetime. Never had there been a more anticipated release by any artist or band. They were the biggest band in the world, and were finally ready to release their true follow up to the best Hard Rock Album of the 1980s “Appetite For Destruction” (GN’R Lies was never considered a true follow up) that had been in the making for years. And once fans learned that the band would be releasing not one, but two double albums, of material over three hours long, and thirty songs only made the anticipation build and build. Even at special Midnight releases of the albums singer Ozzy Osbourne, who was releasing his “No More Tears” album the very same day showed up at record stores to autograph and sell his album. A very smart move indeed. 

Not since the band KISS released four solo albums simultaneously over a decade earlier had a band tried to release such a massive output of new original material on the same day. Only a band like GN’R could pull it off at the time. The albums both sold almost a million copies each in the first week, debuting at number one and two on the billboard top 200 album charts. And it seemed that the band had made up for lost time. With so much new material these records were a sprawling piece of work like many double albums are. You have the two main songwriters, Axl Rose, and Izzy Stradlin taking the record in completely different directions. Axl who was influenced by basically every type of music used his influences on epic songs like the Elton John influenced “November Rain, Estranged, and maybe the best song he’s ever written many people haven’t heard until this year because it’s in the reunion set list, the ten plus minute “Coma”. Izzy had a much more Rolling Stones, and Aerosmith influence. He has a bunch of great highlights too. Then you have Slash who wanted to keep things with a more Sabbath/Zeppelin influence. 

In the end after years of deciding what theme the record was gonna take, the band just decided to pretty much release everything they recorded. Like they threw all of their ingredients in a huge pot and just mixed it all together. Of the thirty songs there are two covers from legends Paul McCartney, and Bob Dylan. You also can’t forget that original drummer Steven Adler was fired, and Matt Sorum was hired from the Cult. He saw first hand the difficulty of recording with perfectionist Axl Rose, who could take weeks and weeks just to record a vocal track. It would’ve been great though to see Axl record the song “Get In The Ring” where he calls out different critics and magazine writers for gossip they spread about the band, classic.  

As the years have passed most people either love or hate these albums. Understandably many feel they are bloated, and would’ve been better as a single album. That may be true, but to those who love these records (like me) we love all the different directions the album takes. And most just can’t agree on a single album playlist, which proves it has numerous highlights. In reality making these albums destroyed the band. Izzy quit a few months after it’s release, everyone thought he was nuts, stating it as the equivalent of Mick Taylor leaving The Rolling Stones. It would take decades for Axl to follow up these albums, and by then the original band was no more. That being said these two albums are a testament to how talented the original band was. Nothing was ordinary in Guns N’ Roses. 


Use Your Illusion I  : 


Side One 

1. “Right Next Door to Hell” (Rose, Stradlin, Caltia) – 3:02

2. “Dust N’ Bones” (Stradlin, Duff McKagan, Slash) – 4:58

3. “Live and Let Die” (P. McCartney, Linda McCartney) – 3:04

4. “Don’t Cry” (Stradlin, Rose) – 4:44

5. “Perfect Crime” (Slash, Stradlin, Rose) – 2:24

Side two

1. “You Ain’t the First” (Stradlin) – 2:36

2. “Bad Obsession” (Stradlin, West Arkeen) – 5:28

3. “Back off Bitch” (Rose, Paul Huge) – 5:04

4. “Double Talkin’ Jive” (Stradlin) – 3:24

Side three

1. “November Rain” (Rose) – 8:57

2. “The Garden” (Rose, Arkeen, Del James) – 5:22

3. “Garden of Eden” (Slash, Rose) – 2:42

4. “Don’t Damn Me” (Slash, Dave Lank, Rose) – 5:19

Side four 

1. “Bad Apples” (Slash, McKagan, Stradlin, Rose) – 4:28

2. “Dead Horse” (Rose) – 4:18

3. “Coma” (Rose) – 10:13 

Use Your Illusion II : 


Side One

1. “Civil War” (Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan) – 7:42

2. “14 Years” (Izzy Stradlin, Rose) – 4:21

3. “Yesterdays” (Rose, Arkeen, James, McCloud) – 3:16

4. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (Bob Dylan) – 5:36

Side two

1. “Get in the Ring” (Rose, Slash, McKagan) – 5:41

2. “Shotgun Blues” (Rose) – 3:23

3. “Breakdown” (Rose) – 7:05

Side three

1. “Pretty Tied Up” (Stradlin) – 4:48

2. “Locomotive” (Slash, Rose) – 8:42

3. “So Fine” (McKagan) – 4:06

Side four

1. “Estranged” (Rose) – 9:24

2. “You Could Be Mine” (Stradlin, Rose) – 5:43

3. “Don’t Cry” (Alternate lyrics)(Stradlin, Rose) – 4:44

4. “My World” (Rose) – 1:24


Jesse Vejar

Jesse Vejar

Executive Editor - From Tucson, Arizona. Electrical Engineer/Music Historian. Lover of all genres of music. Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers. Fav Metal Bands, Priest, Maiden.
Jesse Vejar