3. “November Rain” – If “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is the puppy love of youth, this song is waking up to the reality of love and loss. One of GNR’s longest songs and famous for the orchestral accompaniment (which I love – check out Metallica with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra on “Enter Sandman”), it was on the “Use Your Illusion I” album. The video highlights how cool it would be to have Slash as best man at one’s wedding; then he’d climb atop the grand piano for a guitar solo.
4. “Paradise City” – Ah, yet another GNR song you know at first lick. Raw with a bit of country twang at the beginning and then diving headlong into full-fledged hard rock, it has a rock purity to it. And what hard rock group didn’t have their “coming home” song after months on the road playing gigs and partying hard — Ozzy (“Mama, I’m Coming Home”), Motley Crue (“Home Sweet Home”), etc. Pat Boone even covered it on his 1997 “No More Mr. Nice Guy” album.
5. “Don’t Cry” – A hauntingly beautiful rock ballad that’s, again, about loss and leaving. I just prefer it over the other troubled-relationship ballad that occupies this spot on many other GNR lists, “Patience.”
6. “Mr. Brownstone” – Yep, this usually doesn’t make an appearance on top GNR lists, even though it makes it onto every set list. But like its “Appetite” companions, what a great rock song. It’s vintage early GNR — the lyrics were originally written on the back of a paper grocery bag, the song was the first they penned after the band was signed in 1986. It’s basically a first-person song about their early days as heroin addicts.