Run That Back: Guns N' Roses' 'Use Your Illusion I and II'

'What we've got here is... failure to commun'cate...'
Axl Rose and Slash of Guns N Roses
Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

Audacy's Run That Back series is a deep dive into some of music’s most popular or underrated projects. Whether it’s been 5 years or 50, there’s never a wrong time to ‘run that back.’

Following up the massive success of their break-out 1987 debut Appetite For Destruction, and their odd-but-still-interesting Lies record which came soon after in 1988, would come at a cost for Los Angeles rockers Guns N' Roses. On September 17, 1991 GN'R returned after three years with their double-album, Use Your Illusion I and II, featuring some of the band's most well-known sing-alongs and biggest hits.

Listen to your favorite music now on Audacy and check out our all-new exclusive stations curated for fans, by fans

Live On-Air
Guns N' Roses Radio on Audacy
Guns N' Roses Radio
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing

Missing from the fold however was founding drummer Steven Adler, who was let go from the band during the recording of Use Your Illusion I and II due to his struggles with drug addiction. The Cult drummer Matt Sorum was added to the team to fill Adler's place, a decision that left some members of the group grasping for the swing that their original beat man provided.

Ever moving ahead, it would be founders Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, and Izzy Stradlin, and newcomers Matt Sorum and keyboardist Dizzy Reed who would make up the band in this era of lengthy arrangements, punk-infused screamers, and wedding-worthy ballads.

Across both albums released on the same date, Use Your Illusion I and II boasted a whopping 30 tracks for fans who were just itching for a return to rock after memorizing all of the wild lyrics on the band's stripped-down acoustic tracks on their previous release.

Hits like their Paul McCartney and Wings cover "Live and Let Die," as well as the beloved power ballad "Don't Cry," and the devastatingly haunting "November Rain" are each featured on Use Your Illusion I, amid a slew of heavy hitters that felt like the Guns of old for longtime fans.

Use Your Illusion II certainly didn't disappoint either, with hits like "Civil War," "Yesterdays," "You Could Be Mine" -- which was featured in the widely popular Terminator 2: Judgement Day -- and their cover of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," remaining some of the biggest fan favorites to this day.

The band recently made another return to the scene they were integral in forming, dropping their 2021 single "ABSURD" in August after 13 years without any new music to speak of. Originally pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic, Guns N’ Roses have also been out on the road with a bunch of rescheduled U.S. tour dates that kicked off in late July and run into early October.

Happy birthday, Use Your Illusion twins! Check out more album anniversaries right here on Audacy and while you're in an Axl N' Slash kinda mood, check out some of our all-new exclusive Rock stations like Guns N' Roses RadioRock N’ Road, Freedom Rock, The Canyon, Arena RockWake Up and Rock, and The Roots of Rock for those who crave the early days.

LISTEN on the Audacy App
Sign Up and Follow Audacy
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram