Marc S. Canter / Getty Images file
Guns N' Roses, from left, Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, Slash, Steven Adler and Duff McKagan in Los Angeles in 1985.
There's something strange about watching the hair metal giants of our youth creep into the creepy years. Not that turning 50 is creepy. It's just different when you do it in a kilt or tight leather pants.
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Axl Rose at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Dec. 30.
Axl Rose, lead singer of the all-American hard rockers Guns N' Roses, hits the half-century mark today. Let's celebrate by aiming the hairspray can at THAT birthday cake.
It's hard to argue against Rose's place among rock's biggest success stories of the '80s and '90s. His voice and stage presence were a big arena rock middle finger to dance and pop music. And love him or hate him for it, Rose and his band gave some an antidote to the grunge movement and a moping class of Northwest rockers.
Think back on MTV and remember the distinctive voice of megahits like "Sweet Child o' Mine" and "Welcome to the Jungle." "Axl sings the most beautiful melodies with the most aggressive tones and the most outrageous, freakish range," Skid Row's Sebastian Bach told Rolling Stone in 2008.
And who could forget Rose's skinny blond frame doing that trademark shoulder shuffle dance? It was like a moonwalk for mallrats.
Rose is still at it today as the only remaining member of GNR. The band just announced it would be doing a series of smaller club shows. Short of catching one of your high school classmates whistling through that opening to "Patience" at the local karaoke bar, this is your chance to re-live rock history.
So, happy birthday, Axl. Rock on.
Got any favorite Axl Rose memories? We're turning the volume up on that over on Facebook.