The Story Behind “Sweet Child O’ Mine”
Guns’ N Roses formed in 1985 and released their first album, Appetite for Destruction, just two years later. On this album is "Sweet Child O’ Mine" -- the only from the album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Due to the success of the song, approximately 30 million copies of Appetite for Destruction have been sold worldwide.
The lead guitarist, Slash, has been quoted in the past saying he had “initial disdain” for the song, as it was rooted from a string-skipping exercise he used to do. During a jam session on the sunset strip in Los Angeles, Slash and drummer Steven Adler were warming up with the opening riff when rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin came up with the chords.
Slash claims that “within in an hour, my guitar exercise had become something else.” The lyrics were completed by lead singer, Axl Rose by the end of the afternoon. The lyrics are based on Rose's girlfriend, and inspired by fellow song-writing legend, Lynyrd Synyrd.
As the end of the song was coming together, the band's producer suggested they add a breakdown at the end. Axl Rose asked himself, “Where do we go?” The producer said to sing just that -- so they did.
Since the release of this epic song, the success has only continued to grow. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” placed #37 on Guitar World’s List of the “100 Greatest Guitar Solos.” It came in at #3 on Blender’s "500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born" and was in Rolling Stone’s "Greatest Songs that Changed the World."