Art Tavana: What Guns N’ Roses Tells Us about the American Dream
In 1987, just two years before the collapse of the Berlin Wall would usher in the beginning of what Francis Fukuyama would later call the end of history, the rock band Guns N’ Roses released Appetite for Destruction, an album that would go on to become the best-selling debut L.P. in the history of rock and roll.
Packed with hits such as “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” and “Paradise City,” Appetite for Destruction wasn’t just another record. It was a cultural milestone, at once the culmination of decades of trends in popular music and the closing out not just of the rock era but a society-wide flirtation with excess, fear, anger, and nihilism. For the next five years, Guns N’ Roses and particularly the band’s front man Axl Rose, would personify an America in rapid flux and change, desperate to move on from a worn-out, post-war consensus
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