For this “Things That Bring Back Memories” post, I am going to pick something pertaining to the topic of “Music“. There are so many songs that I can remember from years ago, and since music is a huge part of our family, the memories come streaming back when you hear a certain song.
Do you ever have that tune that comes on the radio, and you can just automatically remember where you were, who you were with and what you were doing? It amazes me, how as I get older, I can’t remember things from last week – but have that certain song come on the radio on a “Flashback” day, and “BOOM”, I am back in the place I was when I heard it. Don’t know if it’s the side effects of my brain surgery, which they said might affect certain memory, but I’m so glad that I can remember some things of the “good old days.”
So to get on with this “Things That Brings Back Memories” blog post for this week, I’m going to pick “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns & Roses, which was released on August 17, 1988. For those that know me, they remember the days of dressing all in black, wearing the bracelets with the silver studs and knowing all of the words to any GNR song!! Yes, I was a headbanger back in the day. Staying up late to watch “Headbanger’s Ball” on MTV after getting home from the skating rink, and enjoying everything that was to do with this style!! This song is one that I think most people know, either from listening to it, or now, hearing it in some commercials (man, I’m old), etc. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here it is:
The song “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is one that all of us from the 70’s/80’s grew up with. Some people who were really into to metal music, thought that GNR was wimping out when they wrote this, since it got so much play on normal stations and not just “Pirate Radio” and KNAC, etc.
All in all, this is still one of my favorites…always one to rock out to, and one that makes me think of special times in my life!! 🙂
More Info on the Song:
“Sweet Child O’ Mine” is a song by the American rock band Guns N’ Roses, featured on their debut studio album, Appetite for Destruction (1987). Released on August 17, 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 to “Sweet Child O’Mine”.
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, Axl started saying to himself, “Where do we go? Where do we go now?” and Proffer suggested that he sing that.
The song is composed in the key of D flat major and played in the key of D major tuned down a half step on guitars and bass (as all their songs are). The ending solo is in E flat minor harmonic key.
“Sweet Child o’ Mine” placed #37 on Guitar World’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitar Solos.” It also came in at number three on Blender’s 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born, and at #198 on Rolling Stone’s The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at #6 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. The introduction’s famous riff was also voted number-one riff of all-time by the readers of Total Guitar magazine. It was also in Rolling Stone’s 40 Greatest Songs that Changed the World. It places #7 in VH1’s “100 Greatest Songs of the ’80s”, and placed #210 on the RIAA Songs of the Century list. On a 2004 BBC poll, the song was voted to have the “greatest guitar riff ever”.
The song came 1st in Kerrang!’s Slash’s top 30 guitar anthems. The song is currently ranked as the 104th greatest song of all time, as well as the best song of 1987, by Acclaimed Music. In October 2009 it came first in Kerrang!’s 100 greatest riffs. The song has sold 2,609,000 digital copies in the US as of March 2012.
More Info on the Band:
Guns N’ Roses is an American hard rock band formed in Los Angeles, in 1985. The classic lineup as signed to Geffen Records in 1986 consisted of vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler. Today, Axl Rose is the only remaining original member, in a lineup that comprises Use Your Illusion–era keyboardist Dizzy Reed, lead guitarists DJ Ashba and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, rhythm guitarist Richard Fortus, bassist Tommy Stinson, drummer Frank Ferrer, and keyboardist Chris Pitman. The band has released six studio albums to date, accumulating sales of more than 100 million records worldwide, including shipments of 45 million in the United States, making them one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.
A year after its release, Guns N’ Roses’ debut album Appetite for Destruction (1987) reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, on the strength of the hit “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, their only single to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album has sold in excess of 28 million copies worldwide, including 18 million units sold in the United States, making it the best-selling debut album of all time in the U.S. The success of their debut was followed by the eight-song album G N’ R Lies (1988) which reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The twin albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II (1991) debuted at No. 2 and No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and have sold a combined 35 million copies worldwide, including 14 million units sold in the United States alone. The cover album “The Spaghetti Incident?” (1993) was the band’s last studio album to feature Slash and McKagan. After more than a decade of work and many lineup changes, Guns N’ Roses released the long-awaited album Chinese Democracy (2008) which, at an estimated $14 million in production costs, made it the most expensive album to ever be produced in music history. It debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 but undersold industry expectations, despite mostly positive critical reception.
Guns N’ Roses have been credited with reviving the mainstream popularity of rock music, at a time when popular music was dominated by dance music and pop metal. Their late 1980’s and early 1990’s years have been described as the period in which they brought forth a “hedonistic rebelliousness” reminiscent of the early Rolling Stones, a reputation that had earned them the nickname “The World’s Most Dangerous Band”. The band’s classic lineup, along with later members Reed and drummer Matt Sorum, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, their first year of eligibility.
Some Other Interesting Facts:
- The lyrics came from a poem Axl Rose was working on. He wrote the song about his girlfriend, Erin Everly, who is the daughter of Don Everly of the Everly Brothers. They married in 1990, but divorced a month later.
- Slash came up with the riff when he was playing around on his guitar. He thought it was silly and wanted nothing to do with it, but Axl loved it and had him keep playing it. Izzy Stradlin added some chords, and the song came together. According to Duff McKagan’s 2012 autobiography, Slash always considered it the worst Guns N’ Roses song.
- In the video, a few moments before Slash’s solo takes off, Axl can be seen taking off his jacket. Axl had so many bracelets on his arms, he had trouble getting his jacket off, which made them do a number of retakes.
- The song revealed a sensitive side that Rose hadn’t shown before and has done so sporadically since: “A lot of rock bands are too wimpy to have any sentiment or any emotion in any of their stuff unless they are in pain,” said Rose at the time. “Sweet Child O’ Mine is the first positive love song I’ve ever written, but I never had anyone to write anything about before.”
- Sweet Child O’ Mine, one of the most popular songs from Guns N’ Roses, was actually written in 5 minutes! Here’s the story, Slash and Izzy were having a jam session and fooling around with their instruments, when Slash decided to make a Circus-Themed riff. They started joking around when Rose heard the riff and came downstairs and the conversation went something like this…“Dude! That’s awesome that’s going to be our next hit!” S.”What? No man, I was just … I was joking around. That can’t be a song. It’s just nonsense.” “No no, it’s perfect! I wrote this poem about my girlfriend a little while ago. We can use it for the lyrics.” It took the band a while to come up with the beat but they got it afterwards.
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