It’s funny how you can remember exactly when you heard certain songs for the first time, and yet so many others just seem to enter your life unnoticed, absorbing themselves into the fabric of your memory as though they’d always been there.
I can’t, for example, remember the first time I heard Guns ‘n’ Roses classics Sweet Child Of Mine and Welcome to The Jungle, but given the enormous mainstream popularity of both songs, I have to believe they came into my life at some point before I turned into a die-hard metal head at the age of 14.
I do, however, remember exactly how lesser-known track Garden of Eden came into my life.
If you’re just joining me on the 52 Songs That Changed My Life, the mixtapes were two cassette tapes given to me by my friend James back in 1998. They contained a cornucopia of kick-ass rock and metal, and served as my introduction to bands like Pantera, System of A Down, and scores more.
They were the same tapes that made me a die-hard Metallica fan, and the very same tapes which made Guns ‘n’ Roses my number two favourite band for a long period of time in my late teens and early 20s.
It’s a Critical Solution and The East Coast Got The Blues
Garden of Eden was the only Guns ‘n’ Roses song on either of those two tapes, and it was one of those that I immediately enjoyed. Fast, ballistic, and balls-out crazy, with a certain sexy swagger keeping the aggressive, adrenalin-charged guitars in check, it was everything you could ask for in a pure rock ‘n’ roll song.
I would be lying to you if listening to that song immediately made me an enthusiastic Guns ‘n’ Roses fan, but I did enjoy it enough to go out and buy a copy of their debut album Appetite For Destruction, and it was from there that I fell in love with songs like Night Train, Mr. Brownstone, and Rocket Queen.
As with Garden of Eden, the music here was exciting and phenomenal, blistering and brilliant and decadent and loud, but then, Guns ‘n’ Roses were always about more than just the music, and there was something about the whole attitude behind these songs that I really appreciated.
It’s Not a Problem You Can Stop, It’s Rock ‘n’ Roll
Beautifully debauched and dripping with sleaze and sex appeal, this wasn’t just great music, this was the very essence of rock ‘n’ roll itself.
It spoke to me and awakened something in me that nothing else had, the wide-eyed realisation that rock ‘n’ roll was actually supposed to lived and experienced, not just heard through a record.
Other bands may have shown me the music I was destined to love, but Guns n’ Roses showed me the lifestyle; the long-hair, leather jackets, swigging whiskey and rocking out.
Although in later years I would take this to the kind of excesses that would land me in a 12 Step programme, I regret nothing about those early days of debauchery, especially since something did come out of it:
A best friend.
When I was 16, I formed my first band with a few friends, who introduced me to a talented keyboard player named Dave. He and I bonded quickly over a shared love of Guns ‘n’ Roses and became friends.
The band didn’t last long, but the friendship did, and seventeen years later, Dave remains the one friend I still keep in touch with from that period of my life. Today, he’s more like a brother than a friend. W
We can go long periods without talking, but always pick up right where we left off, and when we do, you better believe that Guns ‘n’ Roses is the soundtrack.
Garden of Eden by Guns ‘n’ Roses is the nineteenth song in my list of 52 songs that changed my life. Other entries in this list are below:
- Michael Jackson – Bad
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- Queen – The Hitman
- R.E.M – Drive
- Pink Floyd – The Wall
- The Eagles – Take it Easy
- Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes is Back
- Coal Chamber – Loco
- Type O Negative – Everything Dies
- Monster Magnet – Space Lord
- Live – The Dolphin’s Cry
- Metallica – The Memory Remains
- The Prodigy – Poison
- Nirvana – Territorial Pissings
- Iron Maiden – The Angel & The Gambler
- Metallica – Creeping Death
- Pantera – Cowboys From Hell
- System of a Down – Sugar