Though not as immediately recognizable as singer Axl Rose or guitarist Slash, Izzy Stradlin was a key member of the controversial hard rock group Guns N' Roses from its inception in 1983 to his departure in 1991 before launching a modest career as a solo artist. Stradlin served as not only the band's rhythm guitarist, but wrote or contributed lyrics to many of its biggest hits, including "Sweet Child o' Mine," "Paradise City," "You Could Be Mine" and many others. Stradlin also bolstered the group's outlaw image with his gypsy-inspired image and blues-drenched guitar licks, both of which were owed to his admiration for the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards. Stradlin also shared his idol's appetite for drugs and alcohol, which nearly upended his life; after gaining sobriety in 1990, Stradlin parted ways with Guns N' Roses, which had spun out of control due to unchecked substance abuse within the group and Rose's ego. From 1992 on, Stradlin maintained a prolific if occasionally anonymous solo career, producing a steady stream of albums for which he gave few interviews and even fewer live performances. If his presence on the rock scene had diminished since his days in Guns N' Roses, Izzy Stradlin's contributions to the group, which produced some of the best, most bracing rock of the 1980s and 1990s, remained untouched.