Top 10 Guns N' Roses Songs

Your votes have been counted. Now we can reveal UG reader's take on the best Guns N' Roses songs ever - see if you agree with the results here.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
25

Guns N' Roses are one of the most iconic bands ever, and in many ways defined the post-glam image of what a rock musician should look like. In the years since their so-called original lineup fell apart, the drama continues and reached another peak when Axl Rose refused to perform at their Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction.

With all that drama, it's easy to forget that they wrote plenty of incredible songs that still sound original decades later.

UG readers know more than a thing or two about Gn'R, so on Wednesday we asked them to nominate their favorite Gn'R tracks. Thousands of votes later, the results are in.

What are the best Guns N' Roses songs ever? Read on to find out.

10. "Sweet Child O' Mine" From "Appetite For Destruction"

This might as well be a dictionary definition for the term "power ballad". It was probably the band's biggest hit as their only number one single in the US, but legends say guitarist Slash played the opening riff as a joke and later called the song a simple "string skipping" exercise. The lyrics "where do we go now?" were from Axl literally asking producer Mike Clink what the song should do in the finale.

9. "You Could Be Mine" From "Use Your Illusion II"

James Cameron picked this song as the official theme to the film "Terminator 2: Judgement Day", and there's some cool references to Gn'R in the film too - notice how the Terminator takes a shotgun from a box of roses.

8. "Mr. Brownstone" From "Appetite For Destruction"

Slash and Izzy Stradlin wrote this song while complaining about being heroin addicts (you can probably guess what they mean when they say "Mr. Brownstone"). "I used to do a little, but a little wouldn't do, so the little got more and more. I just keep trying to get a little better, said a little better than before," sing the lyrics about drug tolerance and what it's like to live the tedious life of a drug addict.

7. "Welcome To The Jungle" From "Appetite For Destruction"

Axl wrote the lyrics about this metaphorical jungle while visiting Kingston, Washington, near Seattle. It's a rural but relatively large city, and Axl apparently wrote about how it looked to him and how it's established local economy meant you could get hold of anything - and to a rockstar, that's pretty useful.

6. "Rocket Queen" From "Appetite For Destruction"

Axl Rose: "I wrote this song for this girl who was gonna have a band and she was gonna call it Rocket Queen. She kinda kept me alive for a while. The last part of the song is my message to this person, or anybody else who can get something out of it. It's like there's hope and a friendship note at the end of the song."

5. "Civil War" From "Use Your Illusion II"

Rock stars aren't exactly the most qualified commentators on human conflict, but it won't stop them from trying. Axl asks "What's so civil about war anyway?" and calls all war a civil war. 90s rock stars might have be easier to take seriously if they didn't generally indulge in a relentlessly hedonistic lifestyle, but there you go.

4. "Nightrain" From "Appetite For Destruction"

An ode to cheap wine with a high alcohol content, namely the Night Train Express brand which was popular with the band in their early days. The band often play it as the last song of their set before the encore.

3. "November Rain" From "Use Your Illusion I"

At first glance "November Rain" looks like the indulgent results of giving a band loads of cash to record a big budget orchestral score, but Axl had actually been working on the track since 1983. He always knew there was something special about it, but it took almost a decade to find a home.

2. "Paradise City" From "Appetite For Destruction"

This is Slash's favorite Gn'R song. He wrote the opening guitar in the back of a tour van, and wanted the verse lyric to open with "Where the girls are fat and they've got big titties." Axl offered a more attractive alternative, and Slash was outvoted. It's probably they most loved anthem and often closed their live sets.

1. "Estranged" From "Use Your Illusion II"

At 9 minutes and 23 seconds long, this is Gn'R's second longest song and one of their most progressive tracks ever. There's no set chorus, and evolves with everything from sentimental pianos to soft whale-like guitar sounds. Axl says it was written during a low point when his marriage to Erin Everly was annulled.

How does the list stack up compared to your personal favorites? Let us know what you think in the comments.

207 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Badmotorfingers
    Do Led Zeppelin for next week.
    Braykah
    Good list, a little disappointed that Locomotive and Don't Damn Me didn't get onto the list, but I'm still content with it. Estranged is an amazing song.
    GuilT
    Locomotive is a very underrated song IMO. The end of that song still gives me chills to this day.
    rich210685
    Glad to see Estranged at 1st place...it's my favourite gnr song and probably my favourite rock song ever...now make a poll for Iron Maiden's best song please!
    Satrianifan281
    An Iron Maiden list would be awsome here's my top ten of theirs: 10: Alexander the Great 9: Coming Home 8: Phantom of the Opera 7: Powerslave 6: Paschendale 5: Run to the Hills 4: Fear of the Dark 3: The Trooper 2: Hallowed Be They Name 1: Dance of Death
    regnemer
    Nice list. Rime of the Ancient Mariner needs to be top 3 in my humble opinion.
    Satrianifan281
    Sorry, forgot that one, also forgot Aces High, but hey it's hard to chooose a top 10 out of 120+ songs.
    rich210685
    pretty good list man! as an Iron Maiden fan, i appreciate that. It would be difficult for me to make a good top ten. I would only put Hallowed be thy name at 1st, but I personalliy won't be able to do an objective list. Too many great songs.
    Satrianifan281
    Hallowed be thy Name is probably their most influential, but Dance of Death really got me hooked on Iron Maiden, I think the lyrical, progressive story telling in Dance of Death is a little better than HBTN and I love the triple solo in Dance of Death, but I think any Maiden fan would agree these are both great songs, thanks for the comment, I appreciate and respect your opinion, UP THE IRONS!
    hendrix04
    Dude, awesome list. It's nice to see that a song from their new album made it on your list I feel like a lot of people, even the die-hard Maiden fans, haven't heard that album.
    Satrianifan281
    I love Adrians solo in it, it's so emotional and very difficult, I also wanted to put Mother of Mercy on the list but there were a few other songs that deserved the list more.
    rich210685
    and by the way, even if it's just my opinion, "so fine", written by Duff McKagan deserves a place in the top 10. Also "Pretty tied up" and "14 Years" are great songs..
    TomWhaley
    Always thought "Estranged" was their best song. Glad to see it top this list. It's so adventurous, yet so well written.
    TombOfHorror
    Gee, No Chinese Democracy? What a shocker. I thought the list would be nearly all Chinese Democracy, with couple tracks from The Spaghetti Incident thrown in (Kidding!) I'm actually surprised that Patience or Used to Love Her from Lies aren't on the list.
    Shaggy91
    Basically we've established that Appetite was their best album, and as Axl got more involved musically the albums got worse. No kidding.... Next week Soundgarden or Zep
    third(-)eye
    Next week should be Pink Floyd. IF they do another "band" one.
    JonoD
    Soundgarden would be a great list, I'd be curious to see if the new material would make it
    dewitt
    I don't know if others will agree with me, but I don't think anything on the new album is even as good as their lesser stuff from the older albums. It just feels like they went in and threw whatever together, which is fine, but it's just not as good as their old stuff. It all sounded good enough, and none of it was particularly bad, but I don't think I actually liked a single song on that album.
    Brandon1993
    I'd like to see either Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, or Led Zeppelin next if they do this again.
    aerosmithfan95
    Well, The Sphagetti Incident was pretty bad and I like quite a bit off of Chinese Deomcracy (it's a good album but overlooked cause it's a GNR album without Slash). I love Appetite, but I prefer the Use Your Illusion albums more. Just my opinion though, so there is no need to start a flame war.
    dudester410
    I've owned Chinese Democracy since its release and must say that it definitely isn't overlooked to the fact Slash isn't on it. Whether Slash would be on it or not, to me that album isn't the GNR album anybody was expecting. I'm not trying to bash it, it's a good effort nonetheless and I enjoyed it for the most part, but I once played it while my dad was in the room and he asked "who is this?", replied with GNR, his reaction was that of strong distaste and being let down in what their sound became. Spaghetti Incident was one turn, but Chinese Democracy just isn't meant to be labeled GNR, it deserves a different band name or something
    rightfoot
    Chinese Democracy sucks. I'm sorry, it just does. I'm not bashing it because it's not the original lineup, it just sucks. On it's own, by itself, it blows. If Chinese Democracy was their first album release, you'd have no idea who Guns is
    jebbe9696
    I actually think Catcher in the Rye deserves this list. As a whole album, Chinese Democracy is not so bad.
    Onehitsrock
    The songs "Better and "Chinese Democracy" were actually great songs...the rest of the album sucked though
    UncleBluck
    THEY ALL BLOW!!!!!
    TJWhonley
    used to love her should be on there, but if you ask me it needed different guitar tone to be the same level of energy as the others on this list.
    gunsnroses#1
    Well no shit. That's cuz all you people hate on it just because you think axl's a dick.
    mpk3432
    im amazed noones even mentioned breakdown, that song hits a nerve inside me like no other song does
    Darth Wader
    This is actually one of the better and more accurate UG lists. We can argue about the rankings (like Sweet Child O Mine should have been in the top 5), but still pretty good overall.
    Bleak91
    it would have been obvious to put sweet child of mine on the top 5, don't you? However I'm happy to see Civil War on the top 5
    rockstarbear
    I sure love Rocket Queen. Great bluesy funk at the start and heavy ballady rock at the end. The most mature song of Appetite. Other killer songs not mentioned enough are Locomotive, Dead Horse and Street of Dreams.
    rockfreak611
    Excellent list. Really glad to see Estranged taking the number one spot, always thought that song deserved more recognition that it had going for it.
    JuteJute
    There is just too many songs to pick. Good list anyway. Any of those could probably take number 1
    bdas1977
    Solid list. Would have ranked Rocket Queen higher and added Coma. That was a pretty good song.
    33SLASH33
    This list was Not bad, but man.. Where did those great song go ? : Reckless Life, Don't Damn Me, Dust n' Bones, Pretty Tied Up, One In A Million, Out Ta Get Me, It's So Easy, Double Talkin' Jive, Move To The City, Ain't It Fun
    likeaneagle
    I figured Patience could make their top 10. I just really love the song, especially how Axl cranks it up at the end
    OneHappyCamper
    I'm not familiar with the new Guns tours, but throughout the UYI tour they OPENED with Nightrain, not closed. Solid list otherwise!
    guitarist5477
    I think its a great list. I wouldn't have put Estranged as one, but its great that its getting some recognition
    ripper992
    Was expecting Sweet Child Of Mine in the top 3. And no Patience? And Estranged is number one? Makes no sense really...
    webber243
    Where's "My World"???
    Megatallica18
    I was hoping for Coma to be at least on this list. That song is just as good as estranged to me!
    DerekSoundGuy
    I dont think Coma is the best, but I love that song, its another song with no chorus that just builds .... LOVE IT!
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    beat me to it, supposedly that is a tribute to NIN, it makes NIN's worst songs sound like masterpieces.
    Dalamander
    I'm sorry but if it wasnt for slash, guns n roses would have been the nickelback of the late 80s/early 90s. I hate guns n roses
    LukaFru
    No dust and bones? all in all decent list, but I would definetly put dust and bones and patience od dead horse
    PirateMuffinDan
    Honorable mentions? Don't Cry Back Off Bitch Don't Damn Me Coma I guess Illusions I was my fav album.
    Noob_Brood
    Tell Kaitlyn about Sean's story of when he joined this pyramid scheme that dealt with male enhancement pills but couldn't make profit because he bought too much into his own product. It is an awesome story ya'll. Long story short he ended up homeless, f**kless, toothless but at least he found a stick to deal with his blindness.
    Nonesta13
    14 years is my favorite...i think the only reason why sweet child o mine or welcome to jungle didnt make it in the #1 stop was because they are overplayed
    Laith5
    These lists are always insanely hard, I'd need a top 30 songs list for bands such as Guns, Maiden, Metallica etc. and I'd still probably struggle! Don't Damn Me is an underrated track btw
    ejr94
    "There should be a lot more Chinese Democracy on this list." -No one ever
    dennisrossonero
    do a good band next week
    JuteJute
    And what that might be?
    purkey2
    slipknot. that would be a fun list. or creed. alter bridge. motley f-in crue. that would be a great list.... linkin park. led zeppelin would piss alot of ppl off cuz no one can agree on their best songs. metallica.
    iommi600
    "or creed. alter bridge." Considering this is Ultimate-Guitar, I'd say you just signed your death certificate.
    D4CE
    Alter Bridge is a guitar based band with 2 incredible talented guitarists.. Don't see why they wouldn't fit on UG..
    Abacus11
    Yeah, Zeppelin and Metallica are the only decent bands you mentioned. Linkin Park??? Do they even have ONE good song?
    DaveCobain
    haha, mate, those are the exact polls that go all the time on this site so quit moaning straight away! This is a guitar site, so why not list the best guitar band of all times? I mean, there are many types of guitar playing (like, I dunno, bluegrass, funky shit or whatever, reggae type backbeat stuff, spanish flamenco style stuff and so on and so on) but it seems the mainstream music that the big masses of guitar dudes are still playing is the same rubbish over and over. Some minor variations but basically it always revolves around the same goddamn bands that were pushed by big bucks labels in the 70's-90's. The music is good but stop going on about it!!! We've all heard Maiden, GNR, Metallica, Nirvana, FooFighters, Oasis, Zeppelin, Floyd, ACDC, Mtley, Megadeth, Slayer, Sabbath, Slipknot, ALL THOSE FUCKING BANDS ARE GREAT BUT WHY DON'T YOU STOP ARGUING ABOUT POINTLESS OLD SHIT AND TALK ABOUT NEW BANDS INSTEAD!! Or like I said, why not just list different cool guitar bands that have some cool innovative playing styles or sound or whatever instead?
    Satrianifan281
    The only logical thing you said was that there are too many good Zeppelin songs. And they already did a top 10 Matallica songs. If you want good lists try Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Deep Purple, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, or anyone that can be considered and actual band or musician.