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Behind The Scenes Of Guns N’ Roses' Hit Single ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’

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Vote up the most interesting facts about the making of GN'R's classic song.

"Where do we go now?" That was the question Guns N' Roses posed to lead singer Axl Rose's girlfriend in the band's sweet but hard-driving love ballad "Sweet Child O' Mine." The third single off GNR's debut album, Appetite for Destruction, "Sweet Child O' Mine" took the band straight to the top of the Billboard charts, helping launch their career and establishing them as rock-and-roll legends.

It is rumored that Rose was the only member of Guns N' Roses who thought "Sweet Child O' Mine" would be more than filler on Appetite for Destruction. But from the time he first heard the track, the band's producer Mike Clink was sure the song was special. 

The behind-the-scenes stories about "Sweet Child O' Mine" reveal how the band turned a circuslike guitar riff Slash considered a "joke" and some lyrics based on a love poem into one of the most accomplished songs in Guns N' Roses' discography

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    Producer Spencer Proffer Suggested The 'Where Do We Go? Where Do We Go Now?' Breakdown At The End Of The Song

    Before they decided to go with Mike Clink as their producer, the band worked with Spencer Proffer to record some demos. When he heard "Sweet Child O' Mine," Proffer thought the song needed a breakdown after Slash's solo.

    In his autobiography, Slash remembered they were sitting in the control room trying to figure out what to use as the breakdown section when Rose started ad-libbing, "Where do we go." He described the scene:

    Axl said, more to himself than the rest of us, "Where do we go now?... Where do we go?"

    "Hey," Spencer said, turning the music down. "Why don't you just try singing that?"

  • Slash Said Recording The Riff Took Him An Entire Afternoon
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    Slash Said Recording The Riff Took Him An Entire Afternoon

    Although he found writing and rehearsing "Sweet Child O' Mine" difficult, Slash was far more familiar with the tune when it came time to record the song. He still struggled, however, with perfecting the opening riff, which would come to define the album. 

    "'Sweet Child O' Mine' was easy to record, apart from the guitar intro," he said. "It took me all afternoon to time it out and be at the right place when the drums came in."

  • Rose Hated The Music Video Edit Of 'Sweet Child' Because It Removed Much Of Slash's Guitar Solo
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    Rose Hated The Music Video Edit Of 'Sweet Child' Because It Removed Much Of Slash's Guitar Solo

    The original version of "Sweet Child O' Mine" was nearly six minutes long. In order to improve the chances of the song getting played on the radio and put into rotation on MTV, it was cut to slightly more than four minutes. The edit removed much of Slash's guitar solo, a decision that the band, particularly Rose, objected to.

    In a 1989 interview with Rolling Stone, Rose admitted:

    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.

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    Clink Banned Substances From The Studio While GNR Was Recording 'Appetite for Destruction'

    GNR were already famous in the Los Angeles rock music scene for their live act, and some were touting them as rock's "next big thing" when the band went into Rumbo Studios in Los Angeles in August 1986 to start recording Appetite for Destruction, their debut album. 

    GNR was well known for their heavy partying, drinking, and use of illicit substances. But when Clink (who had already worked on Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger") was hired to produce their first album, he laid down the law and insisted the studio be a clean space. 

    "He kept us at arm's length," Slash admitted. "We partied really hard, but when we were in the studio, we were pretty much together. There was no doping and all that stuff."