The band, originally called Hollywood Rose, formed during the 1980s in Los Angeles. The name changed to Guns N' Roses after member Tracii Guns of L.A. Guns joined the band. Original members were Axl Rose and Izzy Strandlin. Other members included Stephen Adler; Michael McKagan; Darren Reed; Saul Hudson, a.k.a. Slash; and Matt Sorum. Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction album was released in 1987 and remained on the Billboard's Top 100 for almost three years.
Guns N' Roses opened for such bands as Aerosmith and Motley Crue. Several of the band's more popular songs off the Appetite for Destruction album were "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Paradise City" and "Welcome to the Jungle." The band followed Appetite for Destruction with albums Use Your Illusion I & II. Concert attendance often broke venue records.
The band was not without controversy. There was violence at concerts that resulted in property damage and lawsuits. Lead singer Axl Rose was often late for stage or a no-show. By 1997, Axl Rose was the sole remaining original member.
Axl Rose grew up in Lafayette, Indiana. There, he was known as Bill Bailey. He later took the last name of Rose upon learning his birth father's identity. He legally changed his name to W. Axl Rose once he moved to Los Angeles.