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Sweet Child O'Mine

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Sweet Child O'Mine

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:54 am


SWEET CHILD O' MINE

Album:
Appetite for Destruction, 1987, track no. 9.

Written by:
Lyrics: Axl Rose.
Music: Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Slash.

Musicians:
Vocals: Axl Rose; lead Guitar: Slash; rhythm guitar: Izzy Stradlin; bass: Duff McKagan; drums: Steven Adler.

Information:
A very popular ballad off of Appetite for Destruction. It is a love song inspired by Erin Everly, daughter of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Don Everly.

Live performances:
The song was played live for the first time on August 23, 1986, at The Whisky, USA. All incarnations of Guns N' Roses have played this song live. In total it has, as of {UPDATEDATE}, at least been played {SCOMSONGS} times.
Lyrics:
She's got a smile that it seems to me
       Reminds me of childhood memories
       Where evrything
       Was as fresh as the bright blue sky
       Now and then when I see her face
       She takes me away to that special place
       And if I stared too long
       I'd probably break down and cry
     
       Sweet child o' mine
       Sweet love of mine
     
       She's got eyes of the bluest skies
       As if they thought of rain
       I hate to look into those eyes
       And see an ounce of pain
       Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place
       Where as a child I'd hide
       And pray for the thunder
       And the rain
       To quietly pass me by
     
       Sweet child o' mine
       Sweet love of mine
     
       Where do we go
       Where do we go now
       Where do we go
       Sweet child o' mine


Quotes:
In Indiana Lynyrd Skynyrd were considered God - to the point where you ended up saying, 'I hate this fucking band!' And yet, for Sweet Child I went out and got some old Skynyrd tapes to make sure we'd got that downhome, heartfelt feeling [Told to Paul Elliott in March 1987, Classic Rock Magazine, July 2007]

'Sweet Child O' Mine' is a true song about my girlfriend at this time. (...) I had written this poem; reached a dead-end with it and put it on the shelf. Then Slash and Izzy got working together on songs and I came in. Izzy hit a rhythm and, and all of sudden this poem popped up in my head. It just all came together. A lot of rock bands are too fucking wimpy to have any sentiment or any emotion in any of their stuff unless they're in pain. It's the first positive love song I've ever written. I never had anyone to write anything that positive about [Geffen Press Kit, 1987]

That a real love song [Geffen Press Kit, 1987]

It was probably the hardest song for me and Steve to record, just because you have to keep a steadiness and also keep the emotion in it. (...) The thing about 'Sweet Child O' Mine,' 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.' And except that vocal-wise, it's very sweet and sincere, Slash was just messing around when he first wrote that lick [Geffen Press Kit, 1987]

This is a hard song for me to do right now. I wrote this for someone that I care the world about. You know someone you used to love, but your lives change, and you wonder why and what happened, and when you reach that point in your relationship you didn't know where to go. When I wrote this song I didn't know it would be a self-fulfilling prophesy, and that it would actually happen. For everyone who knows me and knows my friend Erin, this is 'Sweet Child O'Mine' [Perkin's Palace, December 30, 1987]

[...] the "where do we go now" coda of that song actually was just sort of tacked on, which is one of the reasons we didn't anticipate it being a hit - or even a single, for that matter [Duff's autobiography, "It's So Easy", 2011, p. 97]

There was a lot of work put into that song. Because I'm from Indiana, where, like, Bob Seger, REO Speedwagon, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Aerosmith was the rock band, they were considered the top four bands. So when we did Sweet Child it's like we went out and got a lot of the old tapes that we had learned to hate because you had heard them so many times. But we went back over to try to get some of that heartland feeling, and try to get some of the things that people were leaving out of the music. Try to bring some stuff back. So I think a lot of people when they hear the song, whether they place it with some of the stuff they have heard, now it brings back some roots and some memories rather than it being just a [?] song. [KJJO104, August 1988]

If you listen to 'Sweet Child O' Mine,' the tempo on the very beginning is different from when the drums come in, which is a little faster. I had to play the beginning 50 times to get it right with the drums [In The Classic Way, Guitar - September 1988]

[The solos in] "Sweet Child" was basically off the cuff [Guitar For The Practising Musician, September 1988]

To me, when we go out on stage, it is still the most dreaded song in the set, is to go out and play 'Sweet Child O'Mine'. Just to do the very first notes, is like...[hums the intro], is like "Noooo." I mean, it's a good song, though, you know, I mean, I enjoy the song when I listen to it. But it is not fun to play [Interview with Slash and Duff, 1988]

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 [Rolling Stone, August 1989]

The 'blue sky' line actually was one of my first childhood memories--looking at the blue sky and wishing I could disappear in it because it was so beautiful [Los Angeles Times, July 1991]

(...) Slash came up with what we all thought was this awesome riff. He said he created it to limber up his fingers, get them loose before playing. He sort of made fun of it, saying that in his head it sounded like the notes you'd play for circus music, the kind you hear on one of those tinny pipe organs. (...) I told Slash he was overlooking the enormous potential of that lick: "That's a great fucking riff, dude. We have to figure out a way to get that into a song". (...) So Slash molded the riff, and today we know it as the intro for 'Sweet Child O' Mine'. What I loved was that Slash truly displayed his brilliance by not just using it as the intro but finding a way to thread that riff throughout, using it as the backbone for the entire song ["My Appetite for Destruction", 2010]

I used to get wasted on stage. There were nights when I'd have to start "Sweet Child o' Mine" four or five times because I was so loaded I couldn't play it [Los Angeles Times, August 1992].

'Sweet Child O' Mine' was a joke. It was a fluke. I was sitting around making funny faces and acting like an idiot and played that riff. Izzy started playing the chords that I was playing, strumming them, and all of a sudden Axl really liked it. I hated that song because it was so stupid at first. I hated the guitar part. Now I really like it because I've gotten it to the point where it sounds really good when I play it live, and I'm so used to the song so I like it a lot more. But it definitely wasn't something I hummed out in my head. It was more like me fucking around with the guitar [Stix (1992) Slash - Guitar From The Gut, Guitar For The Practicing Musician - Nov 1992]

As far as the experience goes, the only nightmare that I can remember from Appetite was trying to count in that "Sweet Child O' Mine" riff (laughs). [Guitar For The Practising Musician, November 1992]

The funny this is, Slash’s guitar part started off as a joke. Izzy wrote this three-chord song, and we were like, Fuck this – we do not play ballads. Axl, of course, loved it. We were trying anything to not do the song, so Slash wrote that crazy guitar part, trying to make it prog-rock or something, and as a joke I played that bass part. Of course, it all came together and made sense [Bulletproof - Duff interview, Guitar World’s Bass Guitar June/July 2004 Issue]

I have a way of sitting down with the guitar and coming up with these hard-to-play riffs; they're unorthodox fingerings of simple melodies. It's my way of getting into playing or finding something interesting to do as opposed to just practise scales. (...) That is what I was doing one night as Izzy sat down on the floor to join me. "Hey, what is that? he asked. "I don't know," I said. "Just fucking around." "Keep doing it." He came up with some chords and since Duff was there, he came up with a bass line, as Steven planned out his drum beat. Within an hour my little guitar exercise had become something else. Axl didn't leave his room that night, but he was just as much a part of the creative process as the rest of us: he sat up there and listened to everything we were doing and was inspired to write lyrics that were complete by the next afternoon. They became an ode to his girlfriend and future first wife, Erin Everly, daughter of Don Everly of the Everly Brothers. (...) At our next session, we worked our new song into a complete movement: we wrote a bridge, added a guitar solo, and so it became 'Sweet Child O' Mine.' (...) Spencer [Proffer, a producer] was a great guy; he was actually the one who suggested that the song needed a dramatic breakdown before its ultimate finale. He was right...but we had no idea what we wanted to do there. All of us sat around the control room, listening to it over and over, devoid of a clue. "Where do we go?" 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?" And so became that dramatic breakdown [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York. p. 155-156]

My other issue [from recording Appetite for Destruction] was recording 'Sweet Child O' Mine'. Steven watched my foot to keep time; and for that song I'd count him in because my riff kicked off the proceedings. There was no high hat through the beginning and we hadn't recorded a click track for it, so when I went in to do the overdubs it was a guessing game: I'd be sitting there anticipating the start of the song, hoping that in my mind I'd times it right so that when I started playing, my timing was right. This was years before digital recording, so there was no signifier to guide me in my way. It took a while, it took many takes, but we got it in the end [Bozza, Anthony, & Slash (2007). Slash. Harper Entertainment: New York, pp 177]

I think the 'Sweet Child O' Mine' influence pops up because it's a single-note style of mine, especially when I do this octave thing around a melody. I have to give Axl credit, because if he hadn't recognized it as being great, I wouldn't have used it, I thought it was a joke. It was just me doing a lick with chord changes underneath to gave it some movement. Then Axl came in and started singing it. I hated that song until after '88 or '89. We were touring with Aerosmith, and it was such a huge hit you couldn't ignore it [Velvet Revolver, Total Guitar #121 April 2004]

After the riff being voted by the Total Guitar readers the greatest riff of all times: It's sort of a funny thing because that riff was...I was just noodling around and just stumbled over this little bit of an idea - it was sort of a fluke. To me it was just some silly thing that I wouldn't have taken much further if Izzy hadn't been there playing some chords.

It was always a joke to me until Axl came up with some words and made a song out of it. And because this was in the early days of Guns N' Roses - we were this fuckin' hard rock band - it was just a sappy ballad to us. I hated that song. I hated when it came up in the set. Sometimes I'd get too drunk and wouldn't be able to play it. I just never took it seriously until way later when the song became a hit, and all I'd have to do is go into the first notes of that song and everyone in the whole place would lose their fuckin' minds.

Now to see it being recognized as an influential rock lick...[Laughs in disbelief.] I'm a little bit overly flattered and humbled by it. I really don't know what else to say. I would never have predicted that in a million years. You don't sit down writing riffs so that they turn up later as being...I dunno...the shit, so to speak
[Total Guitar Magazine, December 2004]

That song were written after we were signed and there was nothing much to do. Another management team was courting us, and these people went so far as to lease us a house above Griffith Park. We pretty much demolished the place. But I remember Duff, Izzy and I were sitting in the living room next to the fireplace - we had no TV set - and I was playing the intro riff and they were playing chords behind it. And next thing you know, it was turning into something. I really just thought of it as a joke, but lo and behold, Axl was upstairs in his bedroom and he heard and and started writing the words.

The next day, we were rehearsing at Burbank Studios - doing a preproduction kind of thing - and Axl wanted us to play what we had been playing the night before. Pretty soon, it shaped itself into a song, and all of a sudden it took on this serious kind of tone. It was really hard for me to accept, but that song became Axl's favorite. I think a lot of it had to do with the lyrics. They had a serious, personal side to them. [...] I don't think anyone in the band had as much problem with [the ballad] as I did because I was just such the hard-rock guy. Some ballads I could deal with, as long as they were bluesy. But 'Sweet Child O' Mine' seemed completely sappy. Not so much from a lyrical point of view, but that whole intro riff. I like playing the solo section, but I would've written that song off as history if anyone else had complained about it. I had no idea it would become the biggest song the band ever did
[Back to the Jungle, Guitar Edge Magazine, March 2007]

One afternoon, when the smoke was still clearing from the night before, Duff, Izzy and I were sitting around on the floor --- we didn’t have any furniture anymore --- and I was dicking around with that riff. In all honestly, I don’t really know where the riff came from but, all of a sudden, it started to sound really cool. Izzy started playing acoustic behind it and the chord changes started coming together. Axl was upstairs in his bedroom and he overheard it. A couple of days after we had put together our simple riff/chord structure, Axl said, “Play that song you guys were playing the other day.” We were like, “What song?” He goes, “That one with that do do dodo do doo do do.” He had written a bunch of lyrics to it without us even knowing about it. It came together relatively quickly. We started rehearsing it and we wrote it from one end to the other that night [Classic Rock Revisited, September 2010]

'Sweet Child O' Mine' performed live at The Ritz, February 2, 1988:



Last edited by Soulmonster on Wed May 04, 2016 7:58 am; edited 19 times in total
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MTV's 30th Anniversary and the Top Five Videos

Post by Soulmonster on Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:37 am

MTV's 30th Anniversary and the Top Five Videos
Jared Feldman

MTV is turning 30.

Remember back in the day when they actually played music videos? MTV launched on Aug. 1 at 12:01 a.m. in 1981. The first video ever aired was the Buggles "Video Killed the Radio Star." MTV plans to commemorate the moment by replaying the first hour in MTV history at 6 a.m.

MTV was a pioneering network for music videos. For me music videos are a nice addition but the music needs to be good. A good video simply enhances an already good song. A bad video finds a way to detract. Here are my top five videos, in no particular order, to air on MTV.

Sweet Child O'Mine, Guns n' Roses, 1988

I really appreciate the simplicity of the Sweet Child O'Mine video. It features a number of great shots of the band performing and I'm glad they focus just on Slash's guitar during the solo. Seeing the speed and precision that he has on the guitar is something you can't get just listening to the song. It's the perfect way to emphasize the level of talent the band has. The video gets a little unnecessarily manic towards the end but it in no way takes away from the song and video as a whole.

Closer, Nine Inch Nails, 1994

Trent Reznor is a crazy person, but he somehow makes it work. The shot of the heart beating the chair is somehow one of the more perfect images for a music video. Despite the video appearing to be something in a drug hallucination, it all fits with the music. If someone asked what the Closer music video should be, the chaos on screen is. It would be impossible to imagine and yet makes total sense.

Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana, 1990

It certainly helps that this my favorite song of the 90's, but the music video does the song justice. Performing in a busted down gym is grunge. The video wouldn't make sense if it resembled present day rap videos. Instead, performing in front of a small crowd on a basketball court is highly appropriate. The video addresses those addressed in the song too. Dejected youth are given a bit of relief in this video.

Walk This Way, Aerosmith with Run DMC, 1986

As this was one of the first Rap/Rock collaborations is perfect that the video begins as both groups complain to each other. Aerosmith and Run DMC found a way mash their two divergent styles together, and the video pairs them appropriately. Performing on opposite sides of the wall and then breaking through and performing together at the end underscores the magnitude of the song.

Thriller, Michael Jackson, 1983

I'd prefer to refer to this as a music film rather than video. The fact that it was released in theaters as an opportunity to garner Oscar support is further proof. It's also nearly fourteen minutes long and a takes a long time to actually get into the song. It's a ground breaking video and the song thriller is only a small piece of the video. The song is fantastic, and there would not be a music video without it. It is arguably the greatest music video of all time.

Source: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8272385/mtvs_30th_anniversary_and_the_top_five_pg2.html?cat=2
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Re: Sweet Child O'Mine

Post by Soulmonster on Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:29 pm

Nice write-up:

“Sweet Child O’ Mine” marked a turning point for Guns N’ Roses

In We’re No. 1, The A.V. Club examines a song that went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts to get to the heart of what it means to be popular in pop music, and how that concept has changed over the years. In this installment, we cover Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” which went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 10, 1988.

Guns N’ Roses has reunited. It took singer Axl Rose, guitarist Slash, and bassist Duff McKagan 23 years to set aside their differences and play together again, but thankfully, it happened now, when rock needs the band more than ever. As rock ’n’ roll sinks in favor of stadium-ready pop acts like Taylor Swift, GN’R is a reminder of when metal accounted for 40 percent of rock music sales, and when MTV had the cultural cachet to create rock stars. In 1991, GN’R guitarist Slash described the recording industry as a “big erect monster,” at a time when loveless sex, cocaine mirrors, and flashy guitar solos were rites of passage.

A few years earlier, at the beginning of 1988, Guns N’Roses was fighting for critical respect amid tons of controversy. U.K. rock magazine Kerrang! had recently labeled GN’R “the most dangerous band in the world.” Around the same time, the band had destroyed the set of MTV’s Headbangers Ball, while doped-up guitarist Slash had partied with Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx the night he overdosed and was declared dead. In an era of MTV-friendly bad boys selling the gimmick, GN’R was no act: The band was the real deal, like a prizefighter with nothing to lose.

GN’R’s debut Appetite For Destruction eventually broke into the Billboard Top 10 that April. But GN’R’s dangerous appeal made the band hard to sell to the mainstream, where shiny pop stars like Michael Jackson and Prince were the flavor of the day. MTV refused to play the video for the single “Welcome To The Jungle,” which depicted Axl Rose in a straitjacket, shaking uncontrollably to footage of war and bikini-clad bombshells. After a phone call from label head David Geffen, MTV finally agreed to play the video. “Welcome To The Jungle” then lit up MTV’s call-in boards, making GN’R popular overnight. But the video’s violent imagery, along with Axl Rose’s eyeliner and blow-dried hair, didn’t have the crossover appeal necessary to transport GN’R from its hair-metal roots into the mainstream.

A different track off Appetite For Destruction had the romantic overtones to soften GN’R’s image, and expand its audience from metalheads to mainstream America. With GN’R on tour with Iron Maiden in the summer of ’88, Geffen released “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” a ballad that everyone in the band thought was too sappy, except for Rose. He orchestrated its evolution from Slash’s calliope-like intro—which the guitarist described as a “stupid little riff,” a way of loosening up his fingers—into GN’R’s magnum opus.

Geffen saw dollar signs in “Sweet Child.” It was the uptempo ballad the label needed to promote GN’R’s new image to MTV’s gun-shy executives, and secure heavy radio rotation. Rock bands through the decades have tapped into the mainstream with ballads, like Journey with “Open Arms,” and KISS with the orchestral “Beth.” GN’R was no different, except that “Sweet Child” was never written to bridge the gap, or to attract a female following like Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Had it not been for a half-finished poem Axl was writing for then-girlfriend Erin Everly, and his own shaman-like sense of destiny, “Sweet Child” may never have developed into a hit. “I had written this poem, reached a dead end with it and put it on the shelf,” Axl stated in a press release at the time. “Then Slash and Izzy got working together on songs and I came in, Izzy hit a rhythm, and all of a sudden this poem popped into my head.”

Rose saw something in “Sweet Child,” so to give it that “heartfelt” feeling missing from so many rock ballads in those days, he went back to his collection of Lynyrd Skynyrd tapes and studied them for their Southern soul. Those roots would be the song’s secret weapon. To chords constructed by guitarist Izzy Stradlin, and bassist Duff McKagan’s hummable bassline on the intro, Slash added four guitar solos (including the intro) and the song’s most melancholic minute of tension. Slash’s final solo slithers into a coda where Rose says, “Where do we go? / Where do we go now?” a memorable section added during the recording process, when the singer asked producer Spencer Proffer: “Where do we go?”

The label cut the six-minute ballad down to four minutes and released it as a radio-friendly single in August 1988. Rose was infuriated when he heard the radio version, as was Slash, who saw his masterful guitar work edited down. Following a music video that showed the band practicing in a ballroom surrounded by their girlfriends, “Sweet Child” began to climb Billboard’s Hot 100. By August 6, Appetite For Destruction had made it to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 after 50 weeks of working the charts.

“You should have seen the fucking difference [in crowd reaction] before, and after, that single came out” bassist Duff McKagan stated in Stephen Davis’ Watch You Bleed: The Saga Of Guns N’ Roses. “Before, only the people in front even knew who we were. They came to see us because they were our fans, all two dozen of them. Afterward, when [we played “Sweet Child”] everybody was on their feet with their cigarette lighters switched on. It was amazing, night and day. It happened that quickly.”

Because of its balance of sweet sentiment with hard rock, “Sweet Child” became GN’R’s most accessible song, the breakout single, whereas “Welcome To The Jungle” was its primal entrance song. On September 10, 1988, “Sweet Child” became No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, only days after the 1988 MTV VMAs and heavy rotation of the video on the network. At the VMAs that year, Rose ended the band’s performance of “Welcome To The Jungle” with his eyes closed, raising his arms to the sky like a pastor and staring into the lights as if he’d had a religious experience.

“Sweet Child” transformed Axl Rose into the hard-rock Frank Sinatra: A moody showman crooner driven by paranoia, a mafia-like need for control, and an unwillingness to comprise. It also made it clear that Rose wasn’t playing the part of a romantic, as it showcased his attempt to write what he described as his only “positive love song.” It hinted at childhood trauma Rose experienced growing up in Lafayette, Indiana. He references his mother in the duality of the song’s second verse: “Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place, where as a child I’d hide. And pray for the thunder and the rain, to quietly pass me by.” It made the rock monster in him seem more human and less Dionysus. Due to its poetry and touch of Southern boogie, “Sweet Child” attracted a following that kept it on the Hot 100 for 24 weeks, and spent two weeks at No. 1 looking down at the ridiculous bombast of Huey Lewis, George Michael, and Van Halen. It would be GN’R’s first (and last) time at No. 1.

In the years to come, Slash’s guitar intro would go on to become one of the most recognized riffs in rock. For the rest of the band, August 1988 was Guns N’ Roses’ apex. In 1989, “Sweet Child” garnered GN’R the VMA for “Best Rock Video,” and “Favorite Pop/Rock Single” at the AMAs. “The most important band of 1988 was Guns N’ Roses,” said Kurt Loder in an MTV News 1989 broadcast. “Their songs actually had something to say. Poetically in some cases.”

“Sweet Child” would reappear over the years in covers by Sheryl Crow and Carrie Underwood, movies like The Wrestler, and countless rock ’n’ roll wedding receptions. Its resonance stems from a period when metal and hard-rock ballads were often overly epic, slow-motion anthems that lacked the soul to connect with non-metalheads. But it’s a song that you’re not likely to find on a Monster Ballads comp, because it’s not the schlocky byproduct of a professional songwriting crew. So “Sweet Child” shows Axl Rose at the height of his songwriting powers, resulting in a song that changed the destiny of the band forever.
Source: http://www.avclub.com/article/sweet-child-o-mine-marked-turning-point-guns-n-ros-230920
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Re: Sweet Child O'Mine

Post by Soulmonster on Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:15 am

It's wierd when you suddenly realize that a piece of lyrics you have known for very long falls into place or takes a new meaning. I have known the lyrics to SWOM since I was a kid of twelve, and I never realized that Axl was comparing Erin's to a safe place he would hide as a kid to escape abuse. I mean, I realized he was talking about escaping something bad (the "thunder and rain") but it just struck me today he was probably already then hinting at domestic abuse from his step father (or whoever it was). It made the lyrics more meaningful and heavy.
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Re: Sweet Child O'Mine

Post by Soulmonster on Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:38 am

This week in 1988 (August 6) the Sweet Child single helped send AFD to the top of Billboard 200 after 50 weeks on the list.

Source: http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/7446698/this-week-in-billboard-chart-history-in-1988-guns-n-roses-scored
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