Use Your Illusion II

Use Your Illusion II is the fourth studio album by the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses. The album was released on September 17, 1991, the same day as its counterpart Use Your Illusion I. Both albums were released in conjunction with the Use Your Illusion Tour. Bolstered by the lead single "You Could Be Mine", Use Your Illusion II was the slightly more popular of the two albums, selling 770,000 copies its first week and debuting at No. 1 on the U.S. charts, ahead of Use Your Illusion I's first-week sales of 685,000.[2] As of 2010, Use Your Illusion II has sold 5,587,000 units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[3] Both albums have since been certified 7× Platinum by the RIAA.[4] It was also No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart for a single week.

Use Your Illusion II
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 17, 1991
RecordedJanuary 13, 1990 – August 3, 1991
Guns N' Roses chronology
Use Your Illusion I
Use Your Illusion II
Use Your Illusion World Tour - 1992 in Tokyo I
Guns N' Roses studio album chronology
Use Your Illusion I
Use Your Illusion II
"The Spaghetti Incident?"
Singles from Use Your Illusion II
  1. "You Could Be Mine"
    Released: June 21, 1991
  2. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
    Released: July 1990 (rereleased) April 1992
  3. "Yesterdays"
    Released: October 26, 1992
  4. "Civil War"
    Released: May 3, 1993
  5. "Estranged"
    Released: December 17, 1993

It is the last Guns N' Roses album to feature rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin. It also includes "Civil War", the last track to feature drummer Steven Adler in any capacity. This album, along with the counterpart of the album, was the last Guns N' Roses album to feature original material until 2008's album Chinese Democracy.


The Use Your Illusion albums were a stylistic turning point for Guns N' Roses (see Use Your Illusion I). In addition, Use Your Illusion II is more political than most of their previous work, with songs like "Civil War", a cover of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", and "Get in the Ring" dealing respectively with the topics of violence, law enforcement and media bias. The thematic material deals less with drug use than previous Guns N' Roses albums. Use Your Illusion I featured several songs pre-Appetite for Destruction while Use Your Illusion II featured more tracks written during and after Appetite For Destruction.

The band's cover of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" had been released almost a year earlier on the Days of Thunder soundtrack, while "Civil War" debuted at the 1990 Farm Aid concert. That concert also featured Guns N' Roses playing a cover of the U.K. Subs song "Down on the Farm", a studio version of which would later appear on the band's 1993 release of cover songs, "The Spaghetti Incident?". "Civil War" was released as a B-side to "You Could Be Mine". The song had also been released on a charity album called Nobody's Child, a fund-raising compilation for Romanian orphans.

"You Could Be Mine" was released in June 1991 and is featured in the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The song was not released on the actual soundtrack. The band also filmed a video featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger in character as the Terminator, with a loose plot featuring Axl Rose as its "target". However, he is saved from termination as he is deemed a "waste of ammo" by the T-800's lock-on system. The original subject matter of the song dealt with Izzy Stradlin's failed relationship with ex-girlfriend Angela Nicoletti.

The Use Your Illusion albums can be considered a single cohesive work, and certain elements of Use Your Illusion II underscore this intent. For instance, both albums have a version of the song "Don't Cry", and both have one cover song; "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney (Use Your Illusion I) and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan (Use Your Illusion II). Each also has at least one track sung by other members of the band: lead vocals on "So Fine" are performed by bassist Duff McKagan – the song, that was dedicated to punk rock musician Johnny Thunders, who died from a drug overdose before the recording of the album.[5]

The song "Get in the Ring" finds the band lashing out at a career's worth of critics and enemies. Among those referred to by name are editors of several entertainment magazines. The industrial flavored "My World", the final track, was written and recorded in three hours, with Rose claiming those in the recording room were on mushrooms at the time.[6]

The band had some difficulty achieving the final sound, especially during the mixing stages of both albums. According to a 1991 cover story by Rolling Stone magazine, after mixing 21 tracks with engineer/producer Bob Clearmountain, the band fired Clearmountain when he tried to replace the real drums with samples. According to Slash's autobiography, "one afternoon we discovered a notepad of his where he'd notated all the drum samples he planned to mix in over Matt's drum tracks" the band decided to scrap the mixes and start from scratch with engineer Bill Price of Sex Pistols fame.[7]

Slash has stated that most of the material for the album was written on acoustic guitars in a couple of nights at his house (the Walnut House), after several months of non-productivity.[8] According to Slash "Breakdown" was one of the most complicated songs to record on the album; the banjo, drum, and piano parts were hard to synchronize and drummer Matt Sorum "lost it" a couple of times trying to get the drums just right.[9] The song "Locomotive" was written in a house Slash and Izzy Stradlin rented in the Hollywood Hills following the Appetite for Destruction tours.[10] The song shows the group dabbling in funk metal.[11]


Both albums' covers are the work of Estonian-American artist Mark Kostabi.[12] They consist of detail from Raphael's painting The School of Athens. The highlighted figure, unlike many of those in the painting, has not been identified with any specific philosopher. The only difference in the artwork between the albums is the color scheme used for each album. Use Your Illusion II uses blue and purple. The original painting was titled by Paul Kostabi as Use Your Illusion and also became the title of both albums. The album's liner notes hide the message "Fuck You St. Louis" amongst the thank you notes, a reference to the Riverport Riot near there at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in July 1991 during the Use Your Illusion Tour.[13]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [11]
Chicago Tribune    [14]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [15]
Entertainment WeeklyA[16]
Los Angeles Times    [17]
Q     [18]
Rolling Stone     [19]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [20]
The Village Voice [22]

Use Your Illusion II received positive reviews, though some critics rated it lower than Use Your Illusion I. Allmusic reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine, in a 3 out of 5 review, stated "Use Your Illusion II is more serious and ambitious than I, but it's also considerably more pretentious." Erlewine criticized what he perceived as filler on the album, singling out the songs "So Fine", "Get in the Ring", "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", "My World" and the alternate version of "Don't Cry".[11] Rolling Stone stated "the band rewards the loyal legions – with 14 songs, which range from ballad to battle, pretty to vulgar, worldly to incredibly naive."[19] The Chicago Tribune (in a dual review with Use Your Illusion I), stated the albums "represent a staggering leap in ambition, musicianship, production and songwriting" and "rank with the best hard rock of the last decade."[14] Rolling Stone listed the album at number 41 in their list "100 Best Albums of the 90s".[23]

Track listingEdit

CD ReleaseEdit

1."Civil War"Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan7:42
2."14 Years"Rose, Izzy Stradlin4:21
3."Yesterdays"Rose, West Arkeen, Del James, Billy McCloud3:14
4."Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (Bob Dylan cover)Bob Dylan5:36
5."Get in the Ring"Rose, Slash, McKagan5:42
6."Shotgun Blues"Rose3:23
8."Pretty Tied Up" ("The Perils of Rock n' Roll Decadence")Stradlin4:48
9."Locomotive" ("Complicity")Rose, Slash8:42
10."So Fine"McKagan4:08
12."You Could Be Mine"Rose, Stradlin5:43
13."Don't Cry" (Alternate Lyrics)Rose, Stradlin4:45
14."My World"Rose1:24
Total length:1:15:55

Vinyl ReleaseEdit

  • The cassette version uses record 1 as side 1, while record 2 is side 2.


Additional musicians
  • Steven Adler – drums on "Civil War"
  • Johann Langlie – drums, keyboards and sound effects on "My World"
  • The Waters – backing vocals on "Knockin' On Heaven's Door"
  • Howard Teman – piano on "So Fine"
  • Shannon Hoon – co-lead vocals on "Don't Cry"
Production personnel



Chart Peak
Australian Albums Chart[24] 1
Austrian Albums Chart[24] 1
French Albums Chart[24] 11
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[25] 2
New Zealand Albums Chart[24] 1
Norwegian Albums Chart[24] 2
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[26] 1
Spanish Albums Chart[27] 3
Swedish Albums Chart[24] 4
Swiss Albums Chart[24] 2
UK Albums Chart[28] 1
U.S. Billboard 200[29] 1

Decade-end chartsEdit

Chart (1990–99) Position
U.S. Billboard 200[30] 67


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[31] 6× Platinum 360,000^
Australia (ARIA)[32] 5× Platinum 350,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[33] 2× Platinum 100,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[34] Platinum 250,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[35] 9× Platinum 900,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[36] 2× Platinum 40,000 
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[37] Platinum 76,688[37]
France (SNEP)[39] Platinum 624,400[38]
Germany (BVMI)[40] 5× Gold 1,250,000^
Italy (FIMI)[41]
sales since 2009
3× Platinum 150,000 
Japan (RIAJ)[42] 2× Platinum 400,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[43]
Gold 10,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[44] Platinum 250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[45] Gold 50,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[46] Platinum 15,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[47] 2× Platinum 100,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[48] Platinum 100,000^
Sweden (GLF)[49] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[50] 3× Platinum 150,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[52] 7× Platinum 7,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Music Planner: Guns N' Roses hit Orlando, the Go-Go's say goodbye, new venue". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved February 10, 2021. glam-metal odysseys like Use Your Illusion I and II
  2. ^ Hasty, Katie. An alternative version of Don't Cry is featured on the second album with the same music but different lyrics. "Kanye Edges GNR, Ludacris For No. 1 Debut". Dec 3, 2008.
  3. ^ Trust, Gary. "Ask Billboard: Battle of the Bands". March 19, 2010.
  4. ^ RIAA's top albums Archived January 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ So Fine Archived September 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Musician Magazine – June 1992".
  7. ^ "Cover story: Guns N' Roses outta control". Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  8. ^ Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York. pp. 298–300
  9. ^ Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York. pp. 316–317
  10. ^ Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York. p. 252
  11. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Use Your Illusion II – Guns N' Roses". AllMusic. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  12. ^ "Use Your Illusion – Mark Kostabi". Retrieved January 8, 2010.
  13. ^ McCracken, D. (July 5, 1991). "Guns N' roses show at world music to be rescheduled". Chicago Tribune.
  14. ^ a b Kot, Greg (September 15, 1991). "Trigger Happy". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  15. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  16. ^ Garza, Janiss (September 20, 1991). "Use Your Illusion I / Use Your Illusion II". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  17. ^ Hilburn, Robert (September 15, 1991). "Guns N' Roses' Double-Barreled 'Illusion'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  18. ^ "Guns 'N Roses: Use Your Illusion I / Use Your Illusion II". Q (62). November 1991.
  19. ^ a b Fricke, David (October 17, 1991). "Use Your Illusion II". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  20. ^ Powers, Ann (2004). "Guns n' Roses". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 350–51. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  21. ^ Perry, Andrew (November 1991). "Guns 'N Roses: Use Your Illusion I / Use Your Illusion II". Select (17): 73.
  22. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 5, 1991). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  23. ^
  24. ^ a b c d e f g "GUNS N' ROSES – USE YOUR ILLUSION II (ALBUM)". Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  25. ^ " – Guns n' Roses – Use Your Illusion II" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  26. ^ Music & Media, vol. 9, issue 32; Aug 8, 1992
  27. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  28. ^ "GUNS N' ROSES – The Official Charts Company". Archived from the original on September 12, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  29. ^ "Guns N' Roses : Chart History". Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  30. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade – The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  31. ^ "Discos de oro y platino" (in Spanish). Cámara Argentina de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  32. ^ Orsted, Knud (October 11, 2016). "This Week In… 1991". Aria Charts. p. BM-26. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  33. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Guns – Use Your Illusion 2" (in German). IFPI Austria.
  34. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Guns – Use Your Illusion II" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  35. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Guns 'N Roses – Use Your Illusion II". Music Canada.
  36. ^ "Danish album certifications – Guns – Use Your Illusion 2". IFPI Denmark. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
  37. ^ a b "Guns N'Roses" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  38. ^ "Les Albums Platine" (in French). Archived from the original on January 29, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  39. ^ "French album certifications – GUNSNROSES – Use Your Illusion Vol 2" (in French). InfoDisc. Select GUNSNROSES and click OK. 
  40. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Guns N' Roses; 'Use Your Illusion II')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  41. ^ "Italian album certifications – Guns'n'roses – Use Your Illusions 2" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved January 26, 2021. Select "2021" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Use Your Illusions 2" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Album e Compilation" under "Sezione".
  42. ^ "RIAJ > The Record > January 1994 > Page 5 > Certified Awards (November 1993)" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  43. ^ "Certificaciones" (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Retrieved January 26, 2021. Type Guns'N'Roses in the box under the ARTISTA column heading and Use Your Illusion II in the box under TÍTULO
  44. ^ "Certificaciones" (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Retrieved January 26, 2021. Type Guns'N'Roses in the box under the ARTISTA column heading and Use Your Illusion II in the box under TÍTULO
  45. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Guns – Use Your Illusion" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter Use Your Illusion in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  46. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Guns – Use Your Illusion 2". Recorded Music NZ.
  47. ^ "IFPI Norsk platebransje Trofeer 1993–2011" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  48. ^ Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (PDF) (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. p. 933. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  49. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden.
  50. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Guns N' Roses; 'Use Your Illusion II')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  51. ^ "British album certifications – Guns N' Roses – Use Your Illusion II". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Use Your Illusion II in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  52. ^ "American album certifications – Guns N' Roses – Use Your Illusion II". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.