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Axl Rose Year by Year: 1984-2017 Photos

It’s been more than three decades since Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose arrived on the scene and quickly became one of the most popular and controversial figures in rock music. With the band welcoming original members Slash and Duff McKagan back for a steadily expanding series of reunion tour dates this year, this seems like a good time to take a photographic look back at Rose’s career.

So we tracked down as many pictures as we could from the time Rose began to make a name for himself in Los Angeles’ club scene in the early ’80s. All of his famous hairstyle and headwear choices over the years are well-represented: hairspray, bandannas, cornrows, hats.

As with anything connected to Guns N’ Roses, it wasn’t a straight-ahead task. There were several years where we couldn’t find even an unauthorized photo of Rose. The majority of these seven missing entries are from the so-called “wilderness years,” when Rose was working on 2008’s long-gestating Chinese Democracy album. (Pretty incredibly in this social media-mad, camera-phone-in-every-hand era — we also came up snake-eyes for 2015, although we’ve since updated this gallery with photos from 2016 and 2017.)

Still, the photos above tell a pretty good story. Judging from the way Rose and his band have already generated so many headlines this year without playing a single note in public, it seems pretty clear there will be some interesting additions to make to this gallery in future years.

Next: Guns N' Roses Lineup Changes

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