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Guns'N Roses was the Greatest Rock Band of All Time

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/15/2015 Category: Music
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 614 times Debate No: 71707
Debate Rounds (3)
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With the release of Appetite for Destruction in 1989, Guns'N Roses shattered a decade worth of glam and pop rock. They brought rock back to it's hard and edgy roots, and wrote numerous classic anthems in the process.


I accept the challenge of this debate.

My first rebuttal states the reasons why GnR are not the one of the greatest rock bands of all time (since no rules have been established I will thusly start). Firstly, GnR's lead guitarist Slash was not conversant in music theory, in fact, when it came to solos he had little idea as to what he was playing (except for Sweet Child O Mine as that song employed the use of relative minor). Secondly, GnR were considered a hair metal band but were formed in the last years of hair metal and as such were considered by many far more successful hair metal bands as the outsiders in their targeted genre. To follow up the previous insinuation. due to GnR's late arrival in the hair metal trend, they had to convert to rock in order to conform and ultimately make money, thereby damaging their integrity. Furthermore, GnR had horrible chemistry between their members which ultimately led to their downfall when they disbanded.
Debate Round No. 1


-Firstly, GnR's lead guitarist Slash was not conversant in music theory, in fact, when it came to solos he had little idea as to what he was playing (except for Sweet Child O Mine as that song employed the use of relative minor)

While Slash may have lacked an explicit theoretical base for his solos, he made up for it technical proficiency, his ability to play melodically, and his flawless sense of timing in the pocket.

Secondly, how could GnR have been considered hair metal when their very first album consisted of textbook hard, blues based rock. You say that they "converted" to rock, but they started out as rock, so that point is invalid. Comparing a classic hair metal track like "Nothin but a Good Time" to "Welcome to the Jungle" shows a distinct difference in the fundamental idea of the music.

And lastly, GnR's lacked chemistry on a personal level. On a musical level, they meshed fantastically. The interlocking dual guitar work of Slash and Izzy Stradlin exemplifies how well they played together.


In opposition, slash's meager knowledge in music theory is what dramatically differentiated him from many of the guitar virtuosos who were already successful before his emergence. Such virtuosos included: Dimebag Darrell from Pantera and Paul Gilbert from Racer X. Many of these guitarists saw him as the "d student" of rock and roll.

As for your insinuation that GnR are "blues based rock" which as a die hard metal and rock fan I have never once heard of this genre. Isn't all rock and metal blues based, even neoclassical shredders like Yngwie Malmsteen (personal favourite) based their music on blues to some degree. Furthermore, hair metal was heavily reliant on blues, take bands like Poison and Motley Crue for example.

GnR's chemistry was debilitated by Axl Rose's persona. Even the other members stated that he was too difficult to work with.
Debate Round No. 2


Calling Dimebag Darrell a virtuoso is like calling Saddam Hussein a pretty cool guy. He was an average guitar player who legacy got vastly overhyped because of his premature death. Paul Gilbert on the other hand, is an excellent player, but he is not a great musician. His music is dry and non-melodic. Slash's guitar playing hit's the sweet spot of every song perfect, his feeling is tremendous, and his melodies are moving. Perfect example would be the November Rain solo. While there were not as many notes as would be in say, a Malmsteen solo, Slash played more expressively and said more with the melody of that solo than nearly any other guitar solo in rock history.

As for your failure to understand different genres of music, Neo-Classical is not blues based. It is classically based. You see, "neo" means "new" in Latin, i.e. new classical music. Further, most of the rock music of the 80's was so far removed from the blues that any similarities would be undetectable. GnR was a return to a true blues based rock, in the same vein as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Cream before them.

Where there is any connection between Poison and blues is unimaginable to me.

The fact that Axl Rose eventually caused the original line-up of GnR to break up in no way takes away from their accomplishments and abilities as a band. They played great together, the band meshed tight. Their were no chemistry in their music. Their problems outside of the music cannot be used to evaluate their quality as a band.

GnR put together a level of musical arrangements that has never been rivaled. The way in which the all of the parts flow together to create a complex atmosphere in the music is awe inspiring. GnR had a tremendous stage presence that could dominate a packed stadium. They played great live. They played great in the studio. GnR also had a diverse catalog of music with a wide variety of interesting musical ideas. Look at Welcome to the Jungle, Patience, November Rain, and Don't Cry. Each of those tracks is distinctly different from the three. GnR sounded great in major keys and minor keys. They sounded great acoustic and electric. GnR was good enough to a washed up Bob Dylan tune and turn into an absolutely moving anthem which tremendous power and emotion.

There is no other band that has ever had the ability to diversify their set list as well as GnR, while still maintaining a top-notch sound and their own unique quality to the music. No band has ever had a dual guitar attack as effective as GnR. No one has ever been able to play solos that were as melodically perfect as Slash within the context of a song. GnR was an absolute powerhouse of a rock band. They had the edge, they had the intensity, but they also had fantastic ear for the sound of the band as a whole. No other band has ever had the complete Rock'N Roll package to the level that Guns'N Roses did.


Dimebag Darrell's guitar playing was far more intriguing, interesting, and intricate in contrast to Slash's. Conversely, Paul Gilbert may not have been an aesthetic musician but his playing style was far more sophisticated than slash's. As for moving melodies, you would find that in Metallica's Fade to Black and quite frankly Kirk hammett couldn't even play one clean solo.

I did not state that neoclassical employs blues derivatives but instead I distinctly stated "even neoclassical shredders like Yngwie Malmsteen (personal favourite) based their music in blues to some degree", Malmsteen even claimed that he was a fan of blues while growing up and its a known fact that he was greatly influenced by guitar entrepreneur Jimmie Hendrix (who incidentally played nothing but the blues scale).

Under the analogy that "GnR was a return to a true blues based Rick, in the same vein as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabvath, and Cream before them." and that "No one has ever been able to play solos that were as methodically mixed as Slash within the context of a song." wasn't Jimmy Page considered by many the way you described Slash as a guitarist.

Also, you stated that "They sounded great acoustic and electric." how many other bands out there sound as good as they do on electric as well as acoustic? Lots. Additionally, you further stated "GnR was good enough to a washed up Bob Dylan tune..." how many other bands out there have done excellent cover versions of other bands? Many.

Bands like Dream Theater had far better chemistry musically as well as personally in contrast to GnR.

Poison does correlate to blues, take their song "every rose has its thorn" for example. As for Motley Crue, take their song "girls, girls, girls" for example.

I personally find Yngwie Malmsteen's solos to be intriguing, exciting, and astonishing.
Debate Round No. 3
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