If time is the true test, then Guns N' Roses' Greatest Hits confirms that they really were one of the greatest rock & roll bands in the world. While, in retrospect, fellow graduates of the class of 1987 are about as cool as poodle perms and spandex, the LA bad boys still rock like gods. Listening to the sun-drenched chords of "Paradise City" and the ensuing stadium-sized swagger is enough to make wearing leather trousers and bandanas seem like a good idea. Of course, it helped that for them sex, drugs and rock & roll was a way of life, not a fashion statement. As Axl Rose wails "I wanna watch you bleed" on "Welcome to the Jungle", like a chain-smoking lunatic possessed, it's hard not to believe he meant it. Yet equally, it was his surprisingly poetic nature that made genuinely touching love songs of "Patience" and "Sweet Child of Mine".
Though none of their subsequent albums matched the drug-crazed genius of Appetite for Destruction, they did, as the Greatest Hits reminds, have their moments. From the bloated Use Your Illusion I & II came ultimate rock ballads "Don't Cry" and "November Rain", along with the primal rage that was "You Could Be Mine". And while the covers of the The Spaghetti Incident were largely forgettable, the fact that their final single was a seedy sneer through the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" seems spectacularly fitting. --Dan Gennoe