Appetite for Destruction is the debut studio album by American hard rock band Guns N' Roses. It was released on July 21, 1987, by Geffen Records to massive commercial success. It topped the Billboard 200 and became the best-selling debut album as well as the 11th best-selling album in the United States. With about 30 million copies sold worldwide, it is also one of the best-selling records ever. Although critics were ambivalent toward the album when it was first released, Appetite for Destruction has since received retrospective acclaim and been viewed as one of the greatest albums of all time.
"Sweet Child o' Mine" is a song by the American rock band Guns N' Roses, featured on their debut album, Appetite for Destruction (1987). Released in August 1988 as the album's third single, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the band's first and only number-one single in the U.S. Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for 1988. It reached number six on the UK Singles Chart, when re-released in 1989.
Lead guitarist Slash has been quoted as having an initial disdain for the song due to its roots as simply a "string skipping" exercise and a joke at the time. During a jam session at the band's house in the Sunset Strip, drummer Steven Adler and Slash were warming up and Slash began to play a "circus" melody while making faces at Adler. Rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin asked Slash to play it again. Stradlin came up with some chords, Duff McKagan created a bassline and Adler planned a beat. In his autobiography, Slash said "within an hour my guitar exercise had become something else". Meanwhile, lead singer Axl Rose was listening to the musicians upstairs in his room and was inspired to write lyrics, which became complete by the following afternoon. He based it on his girlfriend Erin Everly, and declared that Lynyrd Skynyrd served as an inspiration "to make sure that we'd got that heartfelt feeling." On the next composing session in Burbank, the band added both a bridge and a guitar solo.
While the band was recording demos with producer Spencer Proffer, he suggested adding a breakdown at the song's end. The musicians agreed, but were not sure what to do. Listening to the demo in a loop, Rose started saying to himself, "Where do we go? Where do we go now?" and Proffer suggested that he sing that.
The "Sweet Child o' Mine" video depicts the band rehearsing in the Huntington Ballroom at Huntington Beach, surrounded by crew members. All of the band members' girlfriends at the time were shown in the clip. Rose was dating Erin Everly at the time, whose father is Don Everly of The Everly Brothers fame. McKagan's girlfriend Mandy from the all-female rock band The Lame Flames was there, as was Adler's girlfriend Cheryl and Slash's girlfriend Sally. Stradlin's dog was also featured. The video was extremely successful on MTV, and helped launch the song to success on mainstream radio.
In an effort to make "Sweet Child o' Mine" more marketable to MTV and radio stations, the song was cut from 5:56 to 4:12, with much of Slash's guitar solo removed. This move drew the ire of the band members, including Rose, who commented on it in a 1989 interview with Rolling Stone: "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." The video uses the same edits as the radio version with the exception of Slash's solo, which is fully intact.