Better known for vocalist Axl Rose and guitarist Slash, Guns N Roses is by far one of the most iconic hard rock bands in the world.

Formed in 1985, the group has dominated the charts for decades, and while they're not as popular as they used to be, they're considered a legend, and they're still active today.

What Are The Key Events Happened to Guns N' Roses?

  • 1985: Guns N' Roses was formed in Los Angeles. It was a merger of two local bands: L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose.
  • 1987: The band released their debut album, “Appetite for Destruction”, which initially received a lukewarm reception but eventually became a massive success, reaching the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200. It included the singles “Sweet Child o' Mine”, “Welcome to the Jungle”, and “Paradise City”, which have since become iconic.
  • 1988: “Sweet Child o' Mine” became the band's only single to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
  • 1991: Guns N' Roses released two albums simultaneously: “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II”. Both albums debuted at the top two spots on the Billboard 200.
  • 1992: During a concert in Montreal (part of the Use Your Illusion tour), Guns N' Roses left the stage early, inciting a riot. This incident has since been known as the Montreal Riot.
  • 1993: The band released “The Spaghetti Incident?”, an album of cover songs. It would be their last studio album for over a decade.
  • 1996: Slash, the lead guitarist, left the band due to creative differences with lead vocalist Axl Rose. This marked the start of a period of instability and change in the band's lineup.
  • 1997: Duff McKagan, the bassist, also left the band, leaving Axl Rose as the only original member.
  • 2001: The band (with a new lineup) performed at Rock in Rio 3, their first live performance in seven years.
  • 2008: After a 15-year hiatus, Guns N' Roses released the long-awaited album “Chinese Democracy”.
  • 2012: Guns N' Roses was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Axl Rose didn't attend the ceremony.
  • 2016: Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan reunited for the “Not in This Lifetime… Tour”, the first time they played together since 1993.

Sometimes I wanna kill, sometimes I wanna die, sometimes I wanna destroy, sometimes I wanna cry; sometimes I could get even, sometimes I could give up, sometimes I could give, sometimes I never give a f*ck.

–Guns N' Roses

Whether you’re just discovering Guns N Roses now or you’ve been a lifelong fan, here are some of my favorite Guns N Roses books out there. Let me make it clear, these aren’t some random releases regarding their career, but some deep insights written with official collaborations.

What Are the Top Guns N' Roses Books & Biographies?

Guns N’ Roses: The Life and Times of a Rock N’ Roll Band, by Paul Elliott (2017)

I could describe this as the best Guns N Roses biography out there, and for a simple reason. It's not just about the highs or the awards, but also about the lows, the failures and the fights, with a touch of great music.

The world renowned phenomenon sold over 100 million albums overtime, and today, the band is still active, with iconic guitarist Slash teaming up with Axl Role once again, not to mention their other members.

Back in 1987, after Appetite for Destruction was released, the record company made a statement. Guns N Roses will make it as a band if the members get to live. Somehow, they did, despite all the excesses they’ve been through.

All in all, this story impressed me. It goes up and down. It’s about the highs, as well as the lows. Now, with a bunch of new members and the icons behind the group teaming up, Guns N Roses is back on track. The story goes on!

The Guns N' Roses Story, by Malik Kanda (2023)

This book is quite comprehensive and offers access to the whole history of the band. It’s one of the most detailed Guns N Roses books out there and gives you a bigger image of everything that happened behind the scenes.

It all starts before the impressive ascent to face in the 1980s, while the band was still in the process of formation. Then, it goes through the top singles and albums, as well as the dramatic split from the 1990s. But the story didn’t finish there.

All in all, it takes you to the present, as well as everything the band has been through, all the internal issues, highs and lows, you name it. Personally, I believe this is probably the most detailed Guns N Roses biography out there.

Guns N' Roses The Spaghetti Incident?, by Hajiba El Kahia (2023)

This is a great release for Guns N Roses fans, not for those who want to read a biography, though. Sure, it brings in some valuable insights from behind the scenes, but the story is more likely to impress those who are already familiar with the group.

This book is not a biography, but a guide, a guide to a stunning album. It’s highly recommended to guitarists, especially those who are trying to do some covers. Get ready to find all the chords and tabs to master the world renowned album with no problems at all.

All 12 tracks are well detailed, and to be honest with you, even if you're not a big Guns N Roses fan, you'll still find this book useful if you like playing the guitar. Each song is transcribed to bring in the essence of an iconic album, no doubt about it.

The author goes even further and includes some insights into the guitar playing style associated with Guns N Roses and what you can do to end up with the same kind of tones.

Double Talkin' Jive, by Matt Sorum, Leif Eriksson and Martin Svensson (2022)

This is the type of Guns N Roses biography given from an internal point of view. Pretty much everything else you’ll read online comes from different authors, but those written by band members tend to stand out in the crowd, at least for me.

This book targets drummer Matt Sorum’s life and ascension to fame. He recalls his early childhood years, his abusive father and the lows he’s been through, including his short career of selling drugs to survive. When things went down, he decided to start a new life.

And that’s when his ascension to being a rock ‘n’ roll legend became. He started drumming for The Cult, but he was soon drawn in towards Guns N Roses. He ended up helping the band record two legendary albums.

Explore the local rock ‘n’ roll scene with everything that was involved back in the day, from music and sex to drugs and fights. Discover the good times of Guns N Roses, but also explore some of the bad times. It’s a candid biography that no fan should miss.

Guns N' Roses Greatest Hits, Guitar Tabs and Chords, by Hajiba El Kahia (2023)

This is another masterpiece from Hajiba El Kahia, ready to teach you to master some of the chords associated with Guns N Roses and the iconic music from the band. If you love the band and you love playing the guitar, this book is from you.

Become your own version of Slash and other famous guitarists, regardless of your experience. Everything is well detailed, so the book is excellent for both newbies and experienced players. Songs are very simple to follow, so soon, you’ll be able to play your own versions of classic songs.

There are more than 100 pages of music. Then, you’ll discover some unique styles from Izzy Stradlin and Slash, among others. Discover new techniques, playing styles and riffs that will boost your guitar playing skills.

Even if you’re not a massive fan of the book, you’ll love the experience, trust me.

Goodbye, Guns N’ Roses, by Art Tavana (2021)

This book is more than just a Guns N Roses biography. I’d say it’s an analysis of what it takes to become such a legendary rock band. It’s an analysis of the issues that come with it, as well as the good things associated with fame.

Over the past few decades, the band has been targeted by numerous myths, and each of them is clearly debunked in this book. Find out how the group influenced culture back in the day, what brought the fame and what made the band break up in the 1990s.

Reading this book with today’s mentality will change what you already know about Guns N Roses. It’s a modern portrait that will help you understand the symbolic importance of the band. It’s not just a group or a band, but a symbol that redefined the genre.

Reckless Road, by Marc Canter and Jason Porath (2018)

It all started with a side job, a passion, a dream. Amateur photographer Marc Canter decided to follow his best friend Saul Hudson in his attempt to become a rock guitarist. It all started in 1982. It was a hobby and looked like a fun project.

Back then, he had no clue he was about to document the birth of one of the most iconic rock ‘n' roll bands in the history of music. His friend became Slash, and the young photographer ended up witnessing a legend in creation.

This book is a serious insight into the Guns N Roses biography. It includes pictures you’ve never seen before, details from behind the scenes, original memorabilia, interviews, ideas, things the band members have said and so on.

There are more than 1,000 unseen pictures and interviews out there. Trust me, this is a bible when it comes to Guns N Roses books.

Guns N' Roses FAQ, by Rich Weidman (2017)

If you’re a fan, you’ve probably read every Guns N Roses biography out there. But if you’re like me, there are always a few questions left unanswered. What if? Why? When? I know, there are details that no one has really bothered to cover.

Well, Rich Weidman’s book clears out everything. The title says everything about it, frequently asked questions, right? This book answers questions from the beginning of the band in the 1980s. It goes through the breakups, the excesses and Axl Rose’s struggle to keep it going.

It includes modern details, stories, trivia questions, unknown details and even bizarre happenings from the past. The best part for me? The feuds, by far! All in all, this book is about small details. Everyone knows the main things, especially a real fan. But only a few know the small details.

Final Thoughts on Guns N' Roses Books

Whether you’re after a good Guns N Roses biography or you want some less known Guns N' Roses books, I believe these are some of the best modern releases out there.

Some of them are suitable for real fans, some others are better for guitar players or perhaps those who are just discovering Guns N' Roses. One thing is for sure, though, this list will give you a bigger image.

Check out also our favorite Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin books.

Featured on Joelbooks