Guns N' Roses' Slash

On this day in 1965, Saul Hudson, better known as guitarist Slash, was born

in Stoke-on-Trent, England. Slash and drummer Steven Adler were

playing in the L.A. band Road Crew when they joined singer Axl Rose,

guitarist Izzy Stradlin and bassist Duff McKagan to form the bluesy hard-rock band Guns

n' Roses in 1985.

An independent EP in 1986 and a successful set of gigs at the

Troubadour club in L.A. led to Guns n' Roses signing with Geffen Records that year.

After issuing a live EP and touring the U.K., the sex- and drugs-loving band released

1987's Appetite for Destruction. The album went on to sell 17 million copies

worldwide and, coupled with the ferocity of its live

performances, made the band one of the biggest of the decade.

The singles

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"Welcome to the Jungle" (RealAudio excerpt) and

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"Sweet Child o' Mine" (RealAudio excerpt) were smashes and were ubiquitous

on the radio. In 1988, GN'R Lies spawned the hit ballad "Patience," which proved

that the band could do soft rock as well. But the song "One In a Million" drew the ire of

human-rights groups with its references to "niggers" and "faggots."

With their notoriety at their zenith, Guns n' Roses took their time making another album,

which eventually was released simultaneously as two separate records, 1991's Use

Your Illusion I and II. The albums showed Guns n' Roses to be an even more diverse

unit, with stabs at epic ballads, cover versions -- including a take on Wings' "Live and Let

Die" -- and honky-tonk. Straight rock came in the form of the hit single "You Could Be

Mine."

Although the albums ruled the charts for a while, Guns n' Roses' reign as the

most popular band in the world soon ended when Nirvana and the Seattle sound broke

in 1992. Guns n' Roses suffered when Stradlin left to pursue solo projects. Guns n'

Roses' 1993 album, The Spaghetti Incident?, featured punk covers and returned

the band to

controversy with its version of a song by murderer Charles Manson.

As the '90s wore on, Rose and Slash began to disagree on the future of the

band; its very existence was in question. In 1995, Slash's side band,

Slash's Snakepit, released It's Five O'Clock Somewhere. Slash said

of his decision to record without Rose: "If I'm not busy all the time, I start sitting around

and it gets to be self-destructive ... creepy friends start coming over, and before you know

it, I'm strung out."

Sessions for the next Guns n' Roses disc reportedly began with Slash participating. But

he departed quickly, saying that Rose had taken over the group. Slash has kept himself

busy in the last few years, working with Alice Cooper, Insane Clown Posse and New

Jack Swinger Teddy Riley (the 1997 song "Fix," which also included Wu-Tang Clan's Ol'

Dirty Bastard).

Slash had an adult-contemporary hit with the instrumental "Obsession" from

Quentin Tarantino's 1996 film "Curdled." Another Snakepit album also is

being planned.

Slash has said of the situation between him and Rose: "Everybody

thinks [we] are supposed to be like Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, which is

not the case. And Axl seems to think the same way, like this is supposed to

be some unprecedented lead duo thing. Where as far as I'm concerned, it's

... about where the music's coming from; where the band's at; who

the members are; and a whole ... tight kind-of group -- it's not just

the front guys. Axl just sees it as nobody matters but he and I, and that's

not the case for me."

Other birthdays: Tony Joe White, 55; Dino Danelli (Rascals), 53; Andy Mackay (Roxy

Music), 52; David Essex, 51; Blair Thornton (Bachman-Turner Overdrive), 48; Martin

Gore (Depeche Mode), 37; Tim Kellett (Simply Red), 34; Sam Watters (Color Me Badd),

28; Alison Krauss, 27; and Chad Gracey (Live), 27.