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I Love a Great Trilogy, or Why Was Estranged Left Off The Greatest Hits Package?

I was listening to Guns n' Roses over and over yesterday. Correction: I was listening to two Guns n' Roses songs on repeat, chiefly "Patience" and "Yesterdays." I find both tracks comforting in a familiar way. As I was listening - and I mean literally dissecting the songs with every bit of my being - I started thinking about Guns n' Roses and their place in history. That's right history - not just the musical landscape of the late 1980s. The band really did capture the venom of a generation, tackling tough issues of the day while rising up from the gutter to become a worldwide phenomenon. All along the way there were amazing songs to chronicle a very important time in America.

As I was pondering all this and listening to "Yesterdays" while working in my little corporate cubicle, I became a somewhat emotional. There are great bands today - but it seems none have been able to grip so many, so fast - and for so long. For that reason, Guns n' Roses will always be legendary.

After the endless repeats, I decided to go back through and listen to Guns n' Roses Greatest Hits. Released just a few years ago, Greatest Hits proved wildly successful for both the Gunners and Geffen Records. Something that literally dawned on me for the first time ever, though, was the omission of "Estranged."

The final piece of the wildly popular (and expensive) Guns n' Roses trilogy, the video for "Estranged" takes viewers through a bipolar world - complete with a giant tanker and dolphins. For some, the imagery was just too over the top. For students of the human condition, every part of the "Estranged" video makes perfect sense. After all, water symbolizes rebirth and therefore is a constant theme through the entire production. If you think back to the video for "Don't Cry" the very last scene is a baby, emerging from water. Obviously, water marks a turning point during "November Rain" when Axl's "character" loses his wife - and sanity. It stands to reason, then, that "Estranged" would come completely full circle, depicting a bad breakup, loneliness and a juxtaposition when Guns perform a concert as one of the biggest bands in the world - while the lead singer is in complete isolation.

Symbolism aside, the nagging question regarding the omission of "Estranged" remains. I've heard theories that Geffen just didn't want the song on the album. Considering the album was created against the wishes of Axl Rose, I'd say this is a good answer to the question, but I don't understand the reasoning. After all, "Estranged" was a single. I considered the songs length, but decided this wasn't a good enough reason to leave off a compilation disc. So, what is the answer?

Don't Cry - Guns N' Roses

Guns N' Roses - November Rain

Guns n Roses - estranged

Reader Comments (7)

ugh cuz its not that good. jk its pretty great and idk why
and they r not that AMAZING i always liked them but never totally loved them but for a day. Im reading that book and its reinteresting me with them but i just dont think they were that great. they were different and lucky but bands like poison and of coure MOTLEY CRUE are so much better.
January 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMotleyCrue666
GNR > Poison + Motley Crue
January 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous
GnR was/is the zenith for the music we all love so much.

nothing rivals appetite...nothing.
January 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercruefreak9
Greatest Rock band EVER!
January 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKixRules
not even the greatest band ever but they could have been. from what i've learned axl wanted the songs and videos come out in another order that would have made more sense but the label wanted them put out in their order and won of course. so by the time estranged came along he didn't even follow through with some of his ideas and that's why the video doesn't seem to make any sense at all.
January 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdon
Stephanie Seymour was supposed to be in the 3rd video as well but we all know how that ended... Anyway, after that the story was kind of broken.
I think the song was probably left off the greatest hits due its length and the fact that it never really was a hit. Although it's definetly a great song.
And I'm a big Motley fan but Gn'R was a better band all around, and Poison? Please! They were good at what they did but they had nowhere near the musicianship and songwriting of Guns, or Motley for that fact.
January 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMike
Hmmm.... one of my guesses would be the song's length. The song itself is fantastic lyrically and all the guitars and instruments and that were all great, but I find the vocals to be a little lacking at some parts. Whatever. Guns N' Roses (the REAL GN'R, not the lilly-shit with only Mr. Axl) for life. peace.
January 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNellie

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