Saturday, June 22, 2013

Song Meaning: Sweet Child O Mind by Guns N' Roses

ARTIST: GUNS N' ROSES | ALBUM: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION | RELEASED: 1987 
GNR's Appetite for Destruction was famous for many reasons: edgy lyrics, Axl's distorted hard rock voice, Slash's awesome riffs and solos, and overall good music. "Sweet Child" is the most successful single spawned out of the album because it encapsulates Guns N Roses at it's best. The song has its own place in hard rock, especially due to Slash's now-infamous riff. It is highly regarded as one of the best, not just in hard rock, but rock n' roll in general. The riff is also responsible for putting Slash on the lists of top 10 guitarists, which are usually populated with the likes of Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Hendrix. What's not to be overlook the input of other members. Duff McKaygen's bass was "so perfect that you could almost sing to it," as it was described by Billy Joe of Green Day when inducting GNR into Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. He's perfectly right, just as the riff begins, the bass starts and you could sing "she's got a smile that it seems to me..."

Slash has said numerous times that the lyrics Axl came up with bothered him because the lines weren't as edgy as the ones in, say, Welcome to the Jungle. But Axl wrote the lyrics in five minutes when he was with his girlfriend in his room, while Slash was playing the riff on his knees downstairs. I wonder what else he would've come up with if Axl wasn't with his girlfriend. Nevertheless it was good enough to appeal to a winder audience, thus topped the charts and giving GNR their only No. 1 hit.

The song describes Axl's girlfriend at the time Erin Everly, whom he was married to for a year. First verse describes the joyous feelings of Axl's girlfriend as a "bright blue sky." Those feelings are so good that if he thinks about it too much he'd "break down and cry" simply because he can't go back in time to experience them. Axl metaphorically descibes her girlfriend's eyes as "bluest sky," and that he hates to see an "ounce of pain" in those, although an article I read on People magazine suggests otherwise. Then there's also a reference to her hair as well.

After 25 years later, the song is still very popular, and shall remain so until the end of time! It's a fixture on classic rock radio, as well as on GNR's live setlist.


  1. She's got a smile that it seems to me
  2. Reminds me of childhood memories
  3. Where everything
  4. Was as fresh as the bright blue sky
  5. Now and then when I see her face
  6. She takes me away to that
  7. special place
  8. And if I stared too long
  9. I'd probably break down and cry

  10. Sweet child o' mine
  11. Sweet love of mine

  12. She's got eyes of the bluest skies
  13. As if they thought of rain
  14. I hate to look into those eyes
  15. And see an ounce of pain
  16. Her hair reminds me
  17. of a warm safe place
  18. Where as a child I'd hide
  19. And pray for the thunder
  20. And the rain
  21. To quietly pass me by

  22. Sweet child o' mine
  23. Sweet love of mine

  24. Where do we go
  25. Where do we go now
  26. Where do we go
  27. Sweet child o' mine

Lyrics from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/gunsnroses/sweetchildomine.html

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