Axl Rose is 50 years old today, so here's one recording for every one of those years

Axl-Rose

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Five decades ago in a small Indiana town, William Bruce Rose, Jr. was born. Though he ended up answering to many names over the course of his life, he is best known as Axl Rose, frontman of Guns N’ Roses and one of the bigger lightning rods in the history of rock music.

That’s right: Axl Rose is 50. 50 years old! Considering how many of his hair-metal brethren didn’t make it out of the Reagan administration, it’s no small feat that Rose can blow that many candles out on his cake.

Of all the eccentric rock stars we know and love, he’s had perhaps the most bipolar career — rarely has a man been so loved (the Appetite for Destruction era) and so hated (basically any time that wasn’t the Appetite for Destruction era). He’s a singular icon and a firebrand, and he wouldn’t have stayed as famous as he has been without both sides of his personality.

Over the course of his career with Guns N’ Roses, Rose has released a total of six albums (five if you count Use Your Illusion as a single entity) and a handful of one-offs, which contain a grand total of 79 songs (though 18 of those are covers, and a couple are alternate versions of the same song). Here are the top 50 Axl Rose recordings, from worst to first:

50. “Dead Horse”

49. “I Don’t Care About You” (Fear cover)

48. “Sympathy For the Devil” (Rolling Stones cover)

47. “Shotgun Blues” 

46. “Mama Kin” (Aerosmith cover)

45. “Reckless Life”

44. “Down on the Farm” (U.K. Subs cover)

43. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (Bob Dylan cover)

42. “Madagascar”

41. “I.R.S.”

40. “Bad Apples”

39. “Double Talkin’ Jive”

38. “The Garden”

37. “Coma”

36. “Better”

35. “Live and Let Die” (Paul McCartney & Wings cover)

34. “Ain’t It Fun” (Dead Boys cover)

33. “Don’t Damn Me”

32. “Dust N’ Bones”

31. “Pretty Tied Up”

30. “Get In the Ring”

29. “So Fine”

28. “Nice Boys” (Rose Tattoo cover)

27. “You Ain’t the First”

26. “Back Off Bitch”

25. “You’re Crazy”

24. “Catcher in the Rye”

23. “Civil War”

22. “You Could Be Mine”

21. “Out Ta Get Me”

20. “The Garden of Eden”

19. “14 Years”

18. “Think About You”

17. “Anything Goes”

16. “Right Next Door to Hell”

15. “Estranged”

14. “Move to the City”

13. “Don’t Cry”

12. “Yesterdays”

11. “November Rain”

10. “Rocket Queen”

9. “Used to Love Her”

8. “Nightrain”

7. “My Michelle”

6. “Patience”

5. “It’s So Easy”

4. “Paradise City”

3. “Mr. Brownstone”

2. “Sweet Child O Mine”

1. “Welcome to the Jungle”

A few notes: Of course “Welcome to the Jungle” closes out the list. In fact, most of Appetite for Destruction makes up the top portion, as that’s more or less a perfect album that Axl never came close to repeating. The list really falls off once you hit number 25; all told, only about 15% of the man’s recordings are any good, which doesn’t really seem like a Hall of Fame number.

The Spaghetti Incident? got unfairly maligned for its Charles Manson cover, but it’s a pretty neat little artifact that if nothing else introduced metalheads to the Damned. Most of Use Your Illusion’s 30 songs are represented, though that’s mostly because Chinese Democracy is so middling. A lot of people will probably flinch at having “Rocket Queen” up that high, but Axl would probably want it there (or even a little higher). “One In a Million” was left off the list for obvious reasons.

What’s your favorite Axl recording? Wish the man a happy birthday in the comments.

Read more on EW.com:
Guns N’ Roses announce club-tour dates
Guns N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Axl Rose fell down in Mexico City, and it’s all your fault

Guns N’ Roses announce club-tour dates

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