From the band's debut album, 'Appetite for Destruction,' this song is about a friend of the band named Michelle Young. According to Axl, Young mentioned that she had always wanted someone to write a song about her. So he responded with this dark, yet honest, ode, including references to her drug addiction, the death of her mother and her father's work in the pornography industry.
With three versions recorded, 'Don't Cry' ended up on both 'Use Your Illusion' albums. The song features backing vocals by Blind Melon's Shannon Hoon, who also appears in the video. 'Don't Cry' was originally intended to be the first commercial single before the 'Illusions' were released in 1991, but 'You Could Be Mine' was chosen instead to coincide with the release of 'Terminator 2.'
The third song on the band's 1987 debut album, 'Nightrain' paid homage to the cheap California wine, Night Train Express. According to legend, GN'R wrote the lyrics while walking down Palm Avenue sharing a bottle. Someone yelled "I'm on the night train!" and the whole band joined in, with Axl improvising the lines in between: "Bottoms up!" "Fill my cup!" After this initial inspiration, the band reportedly finished the song within a day.
Known for sampling Strother Martin's speech in 'Cool Hand Luke' in the intro, as well as featuring the closing line at the end of the song that asks, "What's so civil about war anyway?," 'Civil War' is GN'R's anti-war anthem. It is also the last song on which drummer Steven Adler played before being replaced by Matt Sorum.
'Knockin' on Heaven's Door'
This classic Bob Dylan song has been covered many times over, by the likes of Eric Clapton, the Grateful Dead and the Alarm, but few could argue there is a more popular version than Guns N' Roses'. Originally recorded in 1990 for the 'Days of Thunder' soundtrack, it appeared on 'Use Your Illusion II' in '91.
Though there are many rumored interpretations of the song 'Patience,' it's generally accepted to be about the troubled relationship between Axl and now ex-wife Erin Everly, despite being written by guitarist Izzy Stradlin.
Despite being the only Guns N' Roses song to use a synthesizer, Slash has stated on record that 'Paradise City' is one of his favorites. Maybe it has to do with his outro, double-time guitar solo -- often cited by guitar critics as one of best rock solos of all time.
An ode to the traditional rock ballad, 'November Rain' clocks in at just under nine minutes long -- the longest song to ever reach the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. It also featured one of the biggest budgeted videos at the time; about $1.5 million, including a dress worn by Stephanie Seymour worth $8,000. The video for 'November Rain' went on to become MTV's No. 1 on their Top 100 videos of 1992.
'Welcome to the Jungle'
Labeled by Rolling Stone and VH1 as one of the greatest hard rock song of all time, 'Welcome to the Jungle' was the first song co-written by Axl Rose and Slash. Apparently written while the band was in Seattle, the song pays homage to their hometown of Los Angeles. As Izzy summarized, the song as "about Hollywood streets; true to life."
'Sweet Child O' Mine'
It's easy to see why 'Sweet Child O' Mine' topped this list of the best Guns N' Roses songs; it's the band's first and only No. 1 single. The hit was a total surprise to the band, with bassist Duff McKagan being quoted as saying the song took five minutes to write, while Slash was said to hate the song due to its roots as a "string skipping" exercise and a "joke." Over two decades later, it's recognized as Guns N' Roses most iconic song.