Anything Goes (1986)
Welcome to the Jungle (1987)
It's So Easy (1987)
Night Train (1987)
Sweet Child O' Mine (1988)
Paradise City (1988)
You Could Be Mine (1991)
Live and Let Die (1991)
Pretty Tied Up (1991)
Don't Cry (1991)
November Rain (1992)
Garden of Eden (1992)
The Garden (1993)
Dead Horse (1993)
Since I Don't Have You (1994)
Ain't It Fun (1994)
Hair of the Dog (1994)
Sympathy for the Devil (1994)
Welcome to the Videos (Oct. 28, 2003, 13 of the most popular)
Axl appeared in "Dead, Jail, or Rock n Roll" by Michael Monroe. Excluding Axl, the rest of the band appear in "Wild Thing" by Sam Kinison who later died.
This infamous video was never released because of the bondage scene with Erin. It was filmed at the Rose Garden, Hollywood, CA on 12/23/86 during the release party for Live Like A Suicide. It was released on YouTube in 2006 after the copyright expired.
Welcome to the Jungle
The video was shot on August 1&2, 1987 at the Park Plaza Hotel and 450 S. La Brea Avenue in Hollywood. Axl overdosed on valiums on August 2, right after the filming was finished. He was in a coma for two weeks and then Todd Crew died of a heroin overdose in September. MTV refused to play any Guns N' Roses videos because of the album's original cover. The band compromised and put the original cover art inside, replacing it with a cover depicting a cross and skulls of the five band members, somewhat like the Grateful Dead artwork. This compromise was not good enough for MTV, and the network continued to ban the video. Finally, David Geffen called MTV and begged them to play the Welcome to the Jungle video. MTV agreed to play it once, on October 3 at 2 am Sunday (a school night) during the aftermath of an earthquake hoping no one would see it. Within 24 hours, it became MTV's #1 most requested song.
What made this video such a huge hit and why it instantly became a part of music history was the Whittier Narrows Earthquake that occurred on October 1, 1987 just two days before the video aired.
This 5.9 earthquake
occurred on a previously unknown, concealed thrust fault approximately 7 miles
east of downtown Los Angeles, California. It resulted in eight fatalities and
$358 million in property damage. Severe damage was confined mainly to
communities east of Los Angeles and near the epicenter. No severe structural
damage to high-rise structures in downtown Los Angeles was reported. The most
severe damage occurred in the "Uptown" district of Whittier, the old downtown
section of Alhambra, and in the "Old Town" section of Pasadena.
It was caused by an undiscovered blind thrust fault, so called because it did not break the surface. It is now known as the Puente Hills fault. What broke the case open was evidence from oil companies who had done extensive drilling and subsurface seismic exploration in the area. Few people are aware of it, but the Los Angeles basin was once one of the most prolific oil fields in the world. It is underlain by folded rocks and fractures where large pools of oil collect. A number of faults cut through the Los Angeles metropolitan area, including the one responsible for the Northridge quake. However, that crack lies north of the Santa Monica Mountains, which protected the city from the worst ground shaking. Then there is the infamous San Andreas fault that runs north to San Francisco and beyond. Most of the motion between North America and the Pacific Ocean floor takes place along that system, which lies well to the east of Los Angeles. Slippage along the San Andreas caused the 1906 San Francisco quake, one of the largest known in the country's history. "Los Angeles is caught in a vise," says John Shaw, an assistant professor of structural and economic geology at Harvard. "It is locked between converging plates of the Earth's crust, carrying North America and part of the Pacific Ocean floor. As the plates collide, rocks beneath the city are shattered and cut by faults of many shapes and sizes." Motion along the faults appears to be shortening or contracting the Los Angeles basin an estimated quarter inch per year. "That doesn't sound like much, but it's a significantly high rate when one of the largest cities in the world is built on top of it," Shaw comments. Stress building up along parts of the newly discovered fault, then rupturing, could cause a series of large tremors every 250 to 1,000 years, according to Shaw. An earthquake of comparable size (6.7) hit nearby Northridge in 1994, killing 61 people and causing $35 billion in damage. A violent breach along the entire fault at once could produce a convulsion three times the intensity of the Northridge quake. Such a cataclysm could happen every 500 to 2,000 years and result in an estimated 3,000 to 8,000 deaths and damages of about $200 billion.
A major economic recession also occurred after the release of this video. Over several days in October 1987, stock markets around the world lost significant value. The worst damage occurred on Monday, October 19, 1987—now known as Black Monday—when exchanges plummeted. Investors, both individual and corporate, suffered significant financial losses. In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 22% on Black Monday alone. Overall, the world’s major economies seemed healthy going into 1987, as the recovery from the 1981–82 recession continued into its fifth year. However, as the year progressed, it became apparent that trade imbalances were huge and increasing among the major OECD countries. It was not long before dramatic international events tipped the scale. Just before the panic, statements by the U.S. administration seemed to imply that the U.S. dollar needed to fall faster and farther to correct their widening trade deficit. On October 19, newspapers were filled with stories regarding possible U.S. military action in the Persian Gulf. Many observers now believe the panic of Black Monday simply reflected a spreading fear that the world situation was rapidly becoming unmanageable. Following Black Monday, however, fears of a global recession passed rather quickly, as central banks moved swiftly to buoy credit conditions and the market regained confidence in the global economy. Economies stayed healthy until the early 1990s and stock markets eventually climbed back up to their pre-panic values. In August 1989, the TSE 300 closed above 4,000 for the first time since the 1987 panic.
These two catastrophes so closely associated with the release of Appetite and the first viewing of the Jungle video cemented both in pop culture and catapulted GNR to over night super stardom.
"Weird Al" Yankovic has parodied the video for his own video, "UHF".
The Famous Video Trilogy
The video November Rain has been hailed as the greatest in history. Axl wanted to make the story Without You into a full-length feature film, but his budget would not allow it so he filmed a trilogy of videos instead. "Don't Cry", "November Rain", the short story Without You by Del James, and "Estranged" are a four part series in this order. The video "Estranged" is last in the series because Del James had finished the story only shortly before Axl finished writing the song. The next to last verse of the song is: "I'll never find anyone to replace you. Guess I'll have to make it through. This time, oh this time, without you". The songs, "Don't Cry", "November Rain", and "Estranged" are about Axl's relationships with Gina, Erin, and Stephanie, respectively. The song Estranged illustrates Axl living alone after his breakup with Erin, but he and Stephanie split as well, so it all fit. Further, it illustrates Mayne living alone after the death of Elizabeth from the story Without You. Del wrote the story about Axl and Erin during a time when he lived with them in their Hollywood apartment. Without You had an obvious appeal to Axl, as it describes the true to life misery of a multi-platinum, blues-influenced rock star who reminisces over an on-and-off-again relationship, and is so drunk and drug-addicted he never knows what day it is.
As Axl stated in the interview of Making Fucking Videos: November Rain, "It wasn't planned that way. It just came together and it fit." During the same interview, Del James stated that, "having his name in the video credits is gratifying but also makes him uncomfortable because people credit him for portions of the video that were not in the book." Axl had taken some artistic license in producing the video, for which Del had given his blessing. Ironic isn't it? Watch the documentary and pay attention to the interviews with Axl and Del. It's almost eerie they way everything fell into place for them. It was like some outside force was in control of the entire project from the song and book writing in 1985 to the making of all three videos nearly ten years later. The Estranged video was supposed to show how Elizabeth died. Stephanie and her son Dylan were expected to be in the video, but she and Axl had broken up before then. In the end, Estranged (a video about he and Stephanie containing a message to Dylan) became the sequel to Don't Cry (a virtual reenactment of Axl's relationship with Erin) and fans had to read the book to know how Elizabeth died.
The Language of Fear, an anthology of horror short stories published by Dell Abyss January 1, 1995 with an introduction by Axl Rose, contains the story Without You at the very end. The book was published following the release of Estranged and during the same month of publication, the publisher went out of business; only a few hundred copies were printed. It is out of print, but Amazon.com has used copies available starting at $120. It is a very rare collector's item.
Del James captured everything about being a teenager in the late 80's early 90's. This book was written during the reign of hair metal before the grunge scene took over. It is about the seamy side of life. The ultimate fear, as this book reveals, is real life. Things like addiction, sex, love, broken homes, damning relationships, pornography, drugs, alcohol, prostitution, loss of innocence, etc are all here along with Rock N' Roll of course. In The Language of Fear we learn what we've always known, that these things are what we are truly afraid of. While other books, and authors rely on gore, or "boogie men" that we know do not exist, Del James plays on our real life fears. The first half of The Language of Fear is the "Appetite For Destruction" brought to life with characters. The second half is "Use Your Illusion" brought to life. For those who are too young to remember, this was life as we knew it in the late 80's early 90's. While we are currently sliding into poverty, and our future is once again less than certain, by the time this president leaves office, The Language of Fear could once again be our lives. For the reviewers who accused this book of being juvenile, I would say this: This is the Language we all once spoke; appreciate the book if nothing else as a time capsule.
I transcribed the story from my own copy of the book. Without You