The classic Guns N’ Roses track’s main riff has often been described as a warm-up exercise which happened to catch the ears of bandmates Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin. The completed song went on to become their only U.S. No. 1 single.
“Somebody else said that and it just became one of those things,” Slash said on the Eddie Trunk Podcast (audio below). “It wasn’t a warm-up exercise. I was sitting around the house where Guns used to live at one point – in ’86 I guess it was – and I just came up with this riff. It was just me messing around and putting notes together, like any riff you do.
“You’re like, ‘This is cool,’ and then you put the third note and find a melody like that,” he added. “So it was a real riff – it wasn’t a warm-up exercise … then Izzy started playing the chords behind it and then Axl heard it, and it started from there.”
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Slash said Guns N’ Roses regarded “Sweet Child O’ Mine” as “just a song” at first. “Nobody had any designs for it to be a big hit or anything like that. We put it on the record like that and then the next thing you know, at some point after the record had been released for a while, that song all of a sudden just took off.”
Taking all of this into account, some may have looked down on the track. In the end, however, Slash said “we’re sort of blessed that we have something that’s become as memorable as that. You can’t really mock that. You have to appreciate that you have something like that in your career – a song that is really that effective. So it’s cool.”
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