Guns N' Roses - "Sweet child o' mine"
Duff McKagan (bass) : “‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ was written in five minutes. It was kind of a joke, because we thought, ‘What is this song? It’s gonna be nothing — it’ll be filler on the record’”.
But then, the introduction's infamous D-flat based riff has since been voted #1 riff of all-time by the readers of Total Guitar magazine. Funny therefore to learn where it came from...
Slash came up with the riff when he was playing around on his guitar. He thought it was silly and wanted nothing to do with it, but Axl Rose (vocals) loved it and had him keep playing it. Slash (guitars) : “The other guys would come over [to his home], and one time I was fucking around with this stupid little riff. Izzy (Stradlin, guitars) was there, and he was playing chords behind it. Axl said something like, ‘Hold the fucking phones! That’s amazing!’ It turned into this song, ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine,’ and I hated it for years. Even writing and rehearsing to make it a complete song was like pulling teeth. For me, at the time, it was a very sappy ballad”.
Rose used a poem he had written about his then-girlfriend, Erin Everly, for the lyrics and some inspiration from his record collection for his vocals. He reportedly listened to a bunch of Lynyrd Skynyrd songs before recording his vocal. He liked their down-home, genuine sound and wanted to duplicate it on this.
On the recording, Slash : “‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’ was easy to record, but because we were not so professional back in the day, it was the one song where we didn’t count the song in, because it’s a guitar intro. It took me all afternoon to time it out and be at the right place when the drums came in — this was before ProTools and all of that.”
It took a while, but Slash eventually developed a grudging affection for the song “Hearing it now it brings back a flood of memories. Around 1991 it would cause such a reaction that just playing the first stupid notes used to evoke hysteria, so I started to appreciate it”.
Available on the album "Appetite For Destruction"