Slash recently snubbed a popular theory on the origins of Guns N’ Roses’ 1988 hit single “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, and revealed how the song was actually created.
Slash sheds light on the matter
Several songs have a mythical origin story that went on to achieve legendary status. Black Sabbath’s genre-defining “Paranoid” was famously written over a 15-minute lunch break, Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” began life as a vocalist Joe Elliott’s acoustic noodling that happened to catch producer Mutt Lange’s ears, and Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” started out as one of Slash’s warm-up exercises – or so common knowledge has it.
Slash himself recently said that this origin story is actually wrong. Speaking to The Eddie Trunk Podcast in a recent interview, the GN’R main ax recalled how “Sweet Child O’ Mine” actually got made (transcription via Loudwire):
“Somebody else said that and it just became one of those things. 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. So it was a real riff, it wasn’t a warm-up exercise.”
Slash went on:
“At the time, it was just a song. Nobody had any designs for it to be a big hit or anything like that. It was just a song that we put together that was cool before we actually made the ‘Appetite for Destruction’ record.
“So 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.
“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 that you have a song that is really that effective. So it’s cool.”