Why Guns n’ Roses chose the Celtic Cross for iconic album cover

There are millions of fans of rock legends Guns n’ Roses and many will have the iconic album Appetite for Destruction in their CD or record collection.

The album contains arguably the bands’ most famous hits such as Sweet Child o’ Mine, Paradise City and Welcome to the Jungle.

Why Guns n’ Roses chose the Celtic Cross for iconic album

The front cover is equally memorable, with the five band members being depicted as skulls laid out over a Celtic Cross.

But that iconic image might never have been, as it was not the bands’ first choice for the album cover.

The original choice was based on the Robert Williams’ painting of the same name; Appetite for Destruction.

However, the image which depicts a “robotic rapist about to be punished by a metal avenger” was considered too violent by many retailers who refused to stock it on their shelves.

This forced the band to rethink, and the Celtic Cross and skulls design was chosen.

Artist Billy White Jr had originally designed the picture for a tattoo. In a 2016 interview he explained: “The cross and skulls that looked like the band was Axl’s idea, the rest was me. The knot work in the cross was a reference to Thin Lizzy, a band Axl and I both loved.”

Guns n’ Roses are undoubtedly rock legends. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Watch Dave Grohl perform Paradise City with Guns n’ Roses.

The Celtic Cross design is synonymous with Ireland, and has been used in various designs throughout modern culture.

Written by Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore is a writer for Irish Music Daily and Ireland Calling.
His favourite Irish music bands are the Dropkick Murphys and the Pogues.
You can follow him on

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Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore is a writer for Irish Music Daily and Ireland Calling. His favourite Irish music bands are the Dropkick Murphys and the Pogues. You can follow him on

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