Song of the Day #370: ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ – Guns N’ Roses

destruction[Note: Today’s selection comes to us courtesy of a guest blogger… my wife, Alex. Take it away, dear!]

There are songs that lose their appeal after you leave high school. Or at least they should. Every Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd song comes to mind. But whenever I hear ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ by Guns N’ Roses, especially from the beginning, I vividly remember and relish that part of being a teenager that shouts to the world: I am angry and loud and indestructible.

In the summer before my sophomore year of high school at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy for girls, the Los Angeles-based metal/rock group Guns N’ Roses put out their first album, Appetite for Destruction. On its simple black cover five skulls, long-haired in sunglasses, hover atop a cross. For a Catholic schoolgirl, that alone was cool. And those skulls were not smiling, no, they were sneering.

For someone who did NOT want to put on that Smurf-blue polyester jumper every morning and face the wrath of Sister Anthony or Sister Bill or God forbid, Sister Peter Mary, this album was the essence of rebellion. And after two years of teaching sophomores myself, I can see that their embrace of the angrier side of rap music is for them what Guns N Roses was for me.

There are a lot of great song beginnings — The Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter,’ U2’s ‘Where the Streets Have No Name,’ ‘Sabotage’ by The Beastie Boys — but none of those great intros compare to this song. I don’t ask the readers of this blog to get through the whole song — it’s loud and the lyrics are ridiculous — but listen to the opening. I know and care little about music, but I know that this song, even today, feels like that moment just before the roller coaster takes off. There’s excitement and a little bit of fear of what’s coming, but you know you’re in for a great ride.

I spent New Year’s Eve 1990 at a Guns N’ Roses concert. I was about to graduate from that same high school, a little less angry, a whole life ahead of me. I had no idea that nearly two decades later I would still love taking that roller coaster ride.

Welcome to the jungle
We got fun ‘n’ games
We got everything you want
Honey we know the names
We are the people that can find
Whatever you may need
If you got the money honey
We got your disease

In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your shun na,na,na,na,na,na,na,na,knees, knees
I wanna watch you Bleed

Welcome to the jungle
We take it day by day
If you want you’re gonna bleed
But it’s the price you pay
And you’re a very sexy girl
Very hard to please
You can taste the bright lights
But you won’t get there for free
In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Feel my, my, my, my serpentine
I, I wanna hear you scream

Welcome to the jungle
It gets worse here everyday
Ya learn to live like an animal
In the jungle where we play
If you got a hunger for what you see
You’ll take it eventually
You can have anything you want
But you better not take it from me

In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your shun na,na,na,na,na,na,na,na,knees,knees
I’m gonna watch you plead

And when you’re high you never
Ever want to come down, so down, so down, so down YEAH!!!!!

You’re in the jungle baby!!!!
You’re gonna die
In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your shun,na,na,na,na,na,na,na,na,knees,knees
In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Feel my, my, my, my serpentine
In the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your shun,na,na,na,na,na,na,na,na,knees,knees
Down in the jungle
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your
It’s gonna bring you down!


12 thoughts on “Song of the Day #370: ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ – Guns N’ Roses

  1. Clay says:

    Thought I haven’t heard Appetite for Destruction all the way through in years, I find this to be a truly great song to this day. And I totally agree about the beginning… one of the best countdowns to take-off in music history.

  2. Amy says:

    Confession…. if this had been Clay’s blog entry, I likely wouldn’t have listened to the song, knowing it, I thought, all too well. But for you, Alex, I’m listening. And I’m realizing I doubt I’ve ever truly hear the intro. the way you did. I never had the Catholic school girl need to rebel, so I managed to live my teenage years without ever listening to, let alone owning, this album (I think today’s cover art may be the first time I’ve ever looked at the cover). Still, I somehow know the song pretty well. I guess it’s just one of those songs that has made it into the collective consciousness. And hearing it now, I can certainly envision how it made your 15 year old self feel – lyrics and music pounding in your brain as the nuns droned on. God, I hope our students don’t think of us droning on in that way. Maybe I should start the school year with this song…. hmmmmm….. Thanks, Alex, for an invigorating start to my day.

  3. Clay says:

    I have one vivid memory of hearing this song that makes the roller coaster analogy quite literal (and I think you were there, Amy).

    It was at a roadside fair — maybe in Gainesville? — on one of those ‘Himalaya’ rides that run in a circle at ever-increasing speed first forward and then backward while loud music plays. This was the song playing for our ride and ever since I’ve felt that this is the only song that should play on one of those things.

  4. Amy says:

    That does seem familiar, but I can’t imagine it was Gainesville. I don’t recall such a fair there. Either way, I get the roller coaster analogy. Not that Steve Tyler would like this, but I can easily imagine that song playing on the Rock and Rollercoaster at MGM.

  5. Dana says:

    A few thoughts here:

    First, guest bloggers are allowed? Does one have to be sleeping with the moderator to get that privilege? But seriously, I like the idea of guest bloggers for SOTD posts. You should consider doing that more often.

    Second, there was a female teacher at your school named “Sister Bill?” THere MUST be a story on this “woman!”

    Third, while I don’t count myself as a heavy metal fan, I do recognize when talent is present even in a genre I don’t like. Axl Rose clearly had/has talent and this song stands out as a cut above the generic metal. And, yes, this is the perfect carnival roller coaster song.

    Fourth, I don’t agree with your comment that Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd songs are now forgettable. I think many of them still hold up today, I also still enjoy the occasional Van Halen and AC/DC classic (and my guilty pleasure for Kiss), which is about as metal as I ever got.

    Fifth, I don’t recall any rollercoaster riding in Gainesville. Must have been somewhere else.

  6. Clay says:

    I’d be happy to post the work of any guest blogger… please, feel free to volunteer!

    As for the nun’s name, prior to Vatican II (early 60s) nuns had to change their names to the name of a saint, male or female. Now most just keep their own names. I didn’t know that either until just recently, fellow heathen!

  7. Kerrie says:

    First things first, that means there is a Saint Bill somewhere?? Interesting…

    Second, I agree with Alex about the intro to this song. And although I was never what you would call a Guns N’ Roses fan, to this day, when I come across this song flipping around on the radio, I stop to listen. The intro totally makes you want to listen even if the lyrics that follow are not what one might otherwise be looking for. Carlos has long been a fan of GNR and I think his time served in Catholic school may have been what started it all (the rebellion was certainly there at an early age…). πŸ™‚

    Oh, and you could have gone on that rollercoaster in Gainesville if you ever went to the Alachua County fair. I made it out there a couple of years and I know they had the Himalaya. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for mixing it up with the guest blog this morning. This song energized me for the day.

  8. Kerrie says:

    That wasn’t meant to suggest that the regular blogger’s posts don’t energize me on a regular basis. He just doesn’t often feature songs like this. πŸ™‚

  9. Clay says:

    OK, it’s headbanger week starting Monday! Alex, see what you’ve wrought. πŸ™‚

  10. Dana says:


  11. Alex says:

    Wow. Thanks for all the comments. I’m glad you enjoyed them! Sister Bill was Sister William – Saint William of something or other. I don’t think we called her Bill to her face. They were all just Sister. Sort of the way my students call me Ms. Amy, I’m afraid that some of my students probably do feel the same way about me.

  12. Amy says:

    I’m assuming your students call you Ms. Alex, unless you’ve been filling their heads with nasty thoughts about me πŸ˜‰

    And I can’t imagine many things as daunting as being taught by a nun. Sheesh.

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