[via Anti Music]
Before Fergie and the rest of the Black Eyed Peas ruined it with their Superbowl version, the signature riff from Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" was an era-defining moment in rock & roll.
And the video for it was filmed in a ballroom in Huntington Beach, 23 years ago. The third single from Appetite for Destruction, it was GnR's first and only No. 1 single in the U.S.
Slash, who made the song's signature riff, has scoffed at the song, saying the classic intro was a "string skipping" exercise, a "circus" melody he came up with while warming up with then drummer, Steven Adler.
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As the rest of the band joined Slash on the jam, Axl Rose started writing lyrics, which he based on his girlfriend at the time, former Whilhelmina model (and daughter of Don Everly of the Everly Brothers) Erin Everly.
Duff McKagan told Hit Parader, "It was written in five minutes. It was one of those songs, only three chords. You know that guitar lick Slash does at the beginning? It was kinda like a joke because we thought, 'What is this song? It's gonna be nothing. It'll be filler on the record.' Slash was just messing around when he first wrote that lick."
"Sweet Child o' Mine" was originally almost 6 minutes long; it was cut to 4:12 to make it more palatable to both MTV and radio, which bummed Axl out. The singer told Rolling Stone in 1989, "I hate the edit of 'Sweet Child o' Mine.' Radio stations said, 'Well, your vocals aren't cut...' My favorite part of the song is Slash's slow solo; it's the heaviest part for me. There's no reason for it to be missing except to create more space for commercials, so the radio station owners can get more advertising dollars. When you get the chopped version of 'Paradise City' or half of 'Sweet Child' and 'Patience' cut, you're getting screwed."