Guns N’ Roses – Welcome To The Jungle

For me…this was one of those landmark songs that started a change in music. I liked it because it was a guitar players dream and it was raw without much of the 80’s production. I never was a big fan of them but I did like the throw back to the more rawer rock.

The song peaked at #7 in the Billboard 100 and #24 in the UK in 1988. When this was released as a single in 1987, it charted in the UK but flopped in America. It finally became a hit in the US when they re-released it in 1988 after “Sweet Child O’ Mine” hit #1.

The album Appetite for Destruction was huge. It peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #3 in Canada, and #5 in the UK.

The video was shot at Park Plaza and 450 South La Brea in Hollywood. The band’s first video, it was very successful, winning at the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards for Best New Artist Video. Guns N’ Roses performed the song on the show.

Slash: “I was at my house and I had that riff happening and Axl came over and he got those lyrics together, and then the band sort of arranged it. We got an arrangement for the whole band, ’cause that’s how we work. Someone comes in with an idea and someone else has input and in that way everyone’s happy. That came together really quickly too, that was arranged in one day.”

From Songfacts

This song is about Los Angeles. It exposes the dark side of the city many people encounter when they go there to pursue fame. Guns N’ Roses knew this side of the city well: in 1985, they lived in a place on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles that they called “Hell House.” The house was often filled with drugs, alcohol and groupies.

Axl Rose wrote the lyrics when he was in Seattle, which gave him some perspective on the size of Los Angeles.

In 2007 Rolling Stone magazine ran a feature on the 20th anniversary of Appetite For Destruction. They explained that a famous lyrics from this song originated when Axl Rose spent a night in a Queens schoolyard before joining the band. Said Rose: “This black guy said, ‘You’re in the jungle! You gonna die.'”

On 93.1 WIBC FM, a radio station in Indianapolis, Indiana, Jake Query, a friend of Axle Rose, gave a different account, saying: “When Axl Rose hitchhiked to Los Angeles, California, on the last leg, a truck driver drove him to Los Angeles, and when Rose got out of the truck, the truck driver said, ‘Welcome to the Jungle.” >>

This was used in the 1988 Clint Eastwood movie The Dead Pool, where the band makes a cameo. It also plays in the opening sequence of the 1989 film Lean On Me, about an inner-city high school reformed by principal Joe Clark. Other movies to use the song include:

The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)
How to Be Single (2016)
The Interview (2014)
Megamind (2010)
Selena (1997)
The Program (1993)

This was the second UK single and third US single from Appetite For Destruction. The first single, “It’s So Easy,” was a flop.

Numerous college and pro sports teams use this to intimidate their opponents at home games. The Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL were probably the first. The Norwegian Soccer team Lillestrom SK uses this song before every home game. 

This was the first track on Appetite For Destruction, which caused controversy because of its cover, a drawing of a robot apparently raping a woman.

The album was a raging success, selling 18 million copies in America by 2008, making it the best-selling debut album in history until 2018, when the RIAA certified Cracked Rear View by Hootie & the Blowfish at 21 million.

Slash re-recorded his guitar parts as he was dissatisfied with his first attempts. To produce the vicious yet pure tone, the Guns N’ Roses gunslinger used a Les Paul ’59 replica plugged into a Marshall JCM, aided most likely by some Jack Daniel’s.

This was used in the 2017 movie Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and the next installment, Jumanji: The Next Level (2019). The films are set in a virtual jungle.

When Axl says “my serpentine,” he’s describing his famous dance, which he copied from Richard Black, lead singer of the band Shark Island. 

Slash left the band in 1996, leaving Axl Rose firmly in control. Rose kept the band going with new members and in 2001 got in yet another dispute with Slash when producers of Black Hawk Down wanted to use “Welcome To The Jungle” in the movie. According to Slash, Axl refused unless he could re-record it with the current members of Guns N’ Roses, meaning Slash and the rest of the Appetite For Destruction lineup would have lost out on royalties.

The song never made it into the film, which tells the story of an ill-fated US raid on Mogadishu in 1993. It was going to be used in a scene where Army Rangers are preparing for the raid – in real life, they really did blast the song before heading out. The Faith No More song “Falling To Pieces” was used in its place.

Guns N’ Roses made a surprise appearance at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards where they performed this song. At the time Axl Rose was the only original member in the band, but there was great anticipation for their album Chinese Democracy, which was expected soon. The album finally appeared in 2008.

This song is used in the soundtrack to the Playstation 2 game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Axl lends his voice to one of the radio stations. 

In 2007, three teens at Booth Free School in Roxbury, Connecticut (one of them a janitor), were messing around with the public address system when one of them sang some lyrics to this song, including “You’re in the jungle baby; you’re gonna die.” This freaked out one teacher, who thought it was a threat, barricaded herself in a classroom and called the police, who came in and detained the three teens until they could clear up the misunderstanding.

A line from this song became a bit of a catch phrase for Axl Rose, who began screaming at crowds when performing it at shows, “Do you know where the f–k you are!?” Axl said it in 2006 when he introduced The Killers at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Guns N’ Roses opened for Aerosmith in the summer of 1988, culminating in a show on September 15 at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, California. At this final show, Aerosmith’s road crew had some fun by dressing up in gorilla costumes and messing around on stage when G N’ R performed this song. It was all in good fun, as the bands got along great, with Axl expressing his admiration for Aerosmith at every show. When Aerosmith took the stage that night, they had Guns N’ Roses join them for an extended jam of “Mama Kin,” a song Guns often covered.

By the end of the tour, Guns N’ Roses was the hotter band – “Sweet Child O’ Mine” hit #1 the week the tour ended.

Slash’s gear for the entire Appetite For Destruction album was a Kris Derrig-built 1959 Les Paul replica guitar, and a rented S.I.R. (known to S.I.R. as Stock #36) Marshall 1959 Superlead Metal Panel modded by Frank Levi and Glenn Buckley (based on Tim Caswell’s modification to Stock #39). 

This soundtracked a 2016 Super Bowl commercial for the Taco Bell Quesalupa featuring basketball player James Harden, soccer star Neymar, actor George Takei and “Texas Law Hawk” Bryan Wilson. In the spot, we learn that the cheesy treat will be bigger than Tinder, drones, and possibly even football.

Welcome To The Jungle

Welcome to the jungle
We’ve got fun ‘n’ games
We got everything you want
Honey, we know the names
We are the people that can find
Whatever you may need
If you got the money, honey
We got your disease

In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your
Knees, knees
I wanna watch you bleed

Welcome to the jungle
We take it day by day
If you want it you’re gonna bleed
But it’s the price you pay
And you’re a very sexy girl
That’s very hard to please
You can taste the bright lights
But you won’t get them for free

In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Feel my, my, my, my serpentine
I, I wanna hear you scream

Welcome to the jungle
It gets worse here everyday
You learn to live like an animal
In the jungle where we play
If you got a hunger for what you see
You’ll take it eventually
You can have anything you want
But you better not take it from me

In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your
Knees, knees
I’m gonna watch you bleed

And when you’re high you never ever wanna come down,
so down, so down, so down, yeah!

You know where you are?
You’re in the jungle, baby
You’re gonna die

In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your
Knees, knees

In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Feel my, my, my, my serpentine

In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your
Knees, knees

In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your…

It’s gonna bring you down
Ha!

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

59 thoughts on “Guns N’ Roses – Welcome To The Jungle”

  1. Guns N Roses had good timing- as you pointed out. There seemed to be an opening for this type of band. It’s too bad they were so dysfunctional. They were one of those bands who from the get go you just knew wouldn’t have smooth sailing..

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Timing is everything, and their timing was good… they certainly weren’t Michael Bolton or Michael Jackson and seemed more ‘authentic’ as rockers than perhaps Poison and their ilk. Not a big fan of them but this is ok and some of their songs were quite good- “November Rain” is likely my favorite.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I just know I wanted to physically rip his vocal chords out when I heard Knocking On Heavens Door… that ah ah ah ah

        Like

    1. I just commented when yours popped up…the guy gets on my nerves. His voice grates me. The biggest thing they did to me…was the raw production in the late part of the 80s that hit the masses…I like a few things they did.

      The Georgia Satellites had that rawer sound earlier also…just not as hard obviously but they didn’t last long.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw a lot of bands I really liked in the 80s at clubs etc and their sound was great but as you said…only a few knew.
        I try the best I can to separate the art from the artist…sometimes its hard. His voice in Knocking on Heavens Door…no just no.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the fact that they went against what was current back then. It’s a good track been way overplayed but still is a good song even though we have heard a million times. Slash N Izzy are a great guitar team…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Didn’t Izzy do Shuffle It All? I like his voice better than Axls lol….I think that was the name of it. I like the music…but man Axl’s voice can grate me after awhile..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure is. That Ju Ju Hounds was a great album. Too bad Izzy disappeared for a while at that time. My daughters got that one for me for Xmas a few years back on orange vinyl which was limited or so they say…lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I haven’t got any of those yet…the different colored vinyl. I know McCartney’s new album comes in 11 friggin colors…I’m like geez.
        Deke do you remember the picture discs in the 80s? I loved those things. I had Sgt Peppers and I ended up losing it in moving.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Was never a fan of this song because of Axl’s grating vocals that you point out, and that awful stutter he does that was like nails on a chalk board for me. I agree that the music is fantastic and those guitars are on fire, but sadly, his vocals negate the song’s overall quality for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think what this song and Sweet Child of Mine brought is more change. The over production was chipped away little by little after this for rock and roll. The Black Crowes followed a little later and then of course Nirvana was really no frills.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Guns N’ Roses’ music certainly is intense – and it’s true Axl’s vocals are over the top, but they did have some good songs. I really do like ’Sweet Child o’ Mine’ and ’Paradise City’. I can’t listen to this type of music for very long but a tune every once in a while is okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They did have some songs I like…in fact I like their softer songs the most…Patience and November Rain…but there is a time I do like these rocker ones…most of all they ushered in a more rawer rock

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Man, one of the best debut albums ever and such a killer song. I saw them when they toured this album opening for Motley Crue. Personally, I think this was their best album even though a lot of people like the Use Your Illusion albums. I don’t agree with that sentiment. I will take this album any day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always thought this album was a turning point…it brought back more rawer sounds of the seventies and took some of the 80s production out of it…. then Nirvana finished it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeff did you see them with the original members?
      I’m going to head to your blog to see if you saw one particular band from the 80s…this one would be a stretch but I’m going to check.

      Like

    2. Jeff so that you know I’m not a total idiot….You are who I thought you were…I know you by the ticket stub site…I thought oh no…I have the wrong person….but I don’t… The Replacements are who I was wondering if you ever saw…but it’s not in your list.

      Like

      1. There are a lot of bands I have seen that are not on the list: stubs I have not gotten to and shows that were either free or I lost the stubs. But no, I never saw The Replacements. That would have been cool, for sure. Can’t wait to start hitting shows again. I’m definitely jonesing for some live music.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. When they were hot they were hot. I loved them during their heyday. Slash is a damned good guitarist. Definitely see the Aerosmith parallels. Not sure if you ever heard of the cult classic film, “Six String Samurai”? I saw it on an “off-Broadway” channel years ago and fell in love with it. One of the main villains is surely based on Slash’s character. I see youtube has the whole movie available too! Check out this clip:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I never saw that before…I do like Slash and Izzy from Guns and Roses…yea they were huge at this time. That sounds interesting…I’ll look up some info

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was a good, Catholic boy who played piano. Billy Joel was it for me. Then, for some reason, Floyd and Aerosmith. I stayed away from the music my mom didn’t like like GnR and Metallica, but, in high school, that all changed 🙂 No more goody two shoe, haha!

        Like

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