Slash Reveals the Origin Of The Famous Riff From Guns N’ ‘Roses’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’

‘The next thing you know, at some point after the record had been released for a while, that song all of a sudden just took off.’

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Slash Guns N Roses Sweet Child Of Mine Riff
Photo: Mat Hayward/Getty Images

One of the longest-held rumors in rock n’ roll can be attributed to Guns N’ Roses. For years, people have speculated that the famous guitar riff from “Sweet Child O’ Mine” had originated from a warm-up exercise. However, in a recent interview for the Eddie Trunk Podcast, Slash reveals that the rumor took on a life of its own, clarifying the song’s true origins.

Slash explains to Eddie Trunk that the rumor was false from the get-go: “Somebody else said that, and it just became one of those things.” Finally clearing the air about the truth, Slash reveals: “It wasn’t a warm-up exercise. I was sitting around the house where Guns used to live at one point in ’86, I guess it was, and I just came up with this riff. It was just me messing around and putting notes together like any riff you do. You’re like, ‘This is cool,’ and then you put the third note and find a melody like that. So it was a real riff; it wasn’t a warm-up exercise.”

Sweet Child O' Mine (Live In Las Vegas, Thomas & Mack Center - January 25, 1992 / Visua...

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The Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame-inductee later clarified: “That’s how it started, and then Izzy [Stradlin] started playing the chords behind it, and then Axl [Rose] heard it, and it started from there.”

Surprised at the song’s cultural impact, notably featured in films such as Thor: Love and Thunder and Step Brothers, Slash reflects: “At the time, it was just a song. Nobody had any designs for it to be a big hit or anything like that. It was just a song that we put together that was cool before we actually made the Appetite for Destruction record. So we put it on the record like that, and then the next thing you know, at some point after the record had been released for a while, that song all of a sudden just took off.”

The guitar riff has recently made its way back into the public eye with the release of his photobook, The Collection: Slash, which features the same guitars that Slash used during his time with Guns N’ Roses. The riff has also been featured in a Capitol One commercial, airing throughout TV in recent months

Listen to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” on the expanded Appetite For Destruction reissue.

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