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Music

Why Slash hates Guns N' Roses song 'Sweet Child O' Mine'

@josephtaysom

It remains a common theme that world-famous artists grow to detest their most popular songs. The late Kurt Cobain famously hated Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, Robert Plant loathes ‘Stairway To Heaven’, and Guns ‘N Roses guitarist Slash feels similarly about ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’.

Guns ‘N Roses had a dangerous aura attached to them throughout the late 1980s, and everywhere they went, chaos soon followed. Athe the height of their fame, however, the band decided to mix things up by surprisingly dropping a ballad which became an unexpected hit and remains their only single to top the Billboard 100 chart.

It’s a track cut from the group’s softer side, and that’s not a part of their DNA which Slash wanted to exhibit. He revelled in Guns N’ Roses having this villainous image, and ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ fell outside their remit. “I hated it for years,” Slash once revealed. “But it would cause such a reaction, so I’ve finally gotten to appreciate it.”

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Remarkably, ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ began as a mess around during rehearsals in Los Angeles when Slash started playing nonsensical riffs to amuse his bandmates and accidentally stumbled upon the foundations of an international hit single.

“You know, Guns N’ Roses was always a real hardcore, sort of, AC/DC kind of hard rock band with a lot of attitude,” the guitarist told radio host Kidd Chris in 2014. “If we did any kind of ballads, it was bluesy. This was an uptempo ballad. That’s one of the gayest things you can write.”

Despite Slash not feeling ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, the general public immediately gravitated toward the track in their droves. Despite only releasing one record, it catapulted Guns N’ Roses to a breathtaking level of superstardom. Their debut album has sold over 18 million copies to date, just in the United States.

“You know what happens is you come up with something you think is cool, but how it’s going to translate to other people, you never know,” Slash explained on Australian TV in 2019. I was the guy who initially was not a big fan of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ back in the day. That was more not because of the riff, it was really more about the type of song it was at the time.”

Furthermore, bassist Duff McKagan wrote in his autobiography that Slash always believed ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ was the group’s worst song. While the guitarist says he has softened his stance towards the track, in all likelihood, this is down to the substantial royalty payments he has recieved.

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