Today in music history, July 21, marks the 33rd anniversary since one of hard rock's landmark albums was released. Rock legend Guns N' Roses dropped their debut studio album, "Appetite for Destruction," on this day back in 1987.

The first album from GNR featured Axl Rose on vocals, Slash on lead guitar, Izzy Stradlin on rhythm guitar, Duff McKagan on bass, and Steven Adler on drums. The band's iconic lineup was finalized on June 4, 1985. Shortly after, the band toured across Los Angeles clubs, later signing with Geffen Records.

Guns N' Roses
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

During their performances in the local music scene, members started writing songs. Most of them would appear as tracks in the album. Other songs, however, won't make the cut but will later appear in other albums. One of Guns n' Roses' timeless hits, "November Rain," was reportedly cut from "Appetite for Destruction" because it already had a ballad in the form of "Sweet Child of Mine." Their "November Rain" would later appear in the 1991 GNR album "Use Your Illusion I," itself a notable part of GNR music history.

Initial reception before becoming a landmark album

Upon the release of "Appetite for Destruction" on July 21, 1987, the album received minimal attention from local radio and music press. It was later explained by veteran music journalist Stephen Davis. In his book "Watch you bleed: the saga of Guns n' Roses," Davis attributed this lack of promotion to a busy period in music history.

There was heightened competition in the mainstream rock music scene. At the time of Guns n' Roses' debut album release, Aerosmith launched its successful comeback "Permanent Vacation." Def Leppard's fourth studio album "Hysteria" was also on heavy rotation among radio stations. U2's hits were dominating MTV at the time.

In the chart dated August 6, 1987, "Appetite for Destruction" started its run in the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart. It opened at number 182, taking a year before topping the charts on August 6, 1988. It would then spend four nonconsecutive weeks at the top of the albums charts.

Music critic and journalist Stephen Erlewine called "Appetite for Destruction" as "the best metal record of the late '80s." Erlewine attributed this to Rose's singing and songwriting, working well with Slash and Stradlin's guitars. He also called the album as a "dirty, dangerous, and mean record in a time when heavy metal meant nothing but a good time."

Spawning Guns N' Roses' hits

As an important piece of music history, the debut Guns N' Roses album spawned a number of hits that would remain in the band's repertoire in the following years. Its opening track, "Welcome to the Jungle," was released twice in the UK, and once in the US. It managed to peak at No. 7 in the Billboard Hot 100. In the UK singles chart, it rose up to the 24th spot.

It also spawned a favorite rock track among guitar players, "Sweet Child o' Mine." While reports circulated that Slash reportedly disliked the song because its signature guitar solo was only his "string skipping" exercise, it grew to become one of the most popular GNR tracks. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and peaked at No. 6 in the UK Singles charts.

"Appetite for Destruction" also contained GNR hits "It's So Easy," "Nightrain," "Paradise City," and "Rocket Queen," among others.

For other notable dates in music history for the month of July, see the following dates:

July 8, 1996: Spice Girls released "Wannabe" in UK

July 10, 1965: Rolling Stones score their first US #1 single 

July 12, 1979: "Lovin' You" singer Minnie Ripperton dies at 31  

July 16, 1782: Mozart premieres "Die Entführung aus dem Serail