Slash told an Australian radio station in a new interview that it is “impossible to take seriously” a recent poll in which “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, the GUNS N’ ROSES track from “Appetite For Destruction” that became the band’s biggest hit single, was voted the second greatest guitar riff of all time by listeners of BBC Radio 2.
“I definitely don’t sit there and go, ‘Yeah, it’s the greatest riff,'” Slash told Triple M (hear audio below). “But it’s very surreal when somebody says something like that. It’s almost, like… impossible to take it seriously. Do you know what I’m saying? It’s not tangible. I mean, obviously, someone is walking around saying that and there’s been some sort of a poll. But it’s also nonexistent as far as… You know, it’s really hard to really take seriously. You’re not part of the effort of finding out that information and researching it; all of a sudden, it just appears. So it’s something that you sort of take with… You’re very appreciative about it and you sort of count your lucky stars that you got mentioned in that position, or even at all, and then you sort of take it with a grain of salt and try not to dwell on it and take it too seriously.”
LED ZEPPELIN’s “Whole Lotta Love” topped the BBC Radio 2 poll, which included 100 riffs drawn up by a panel of Radio 2 and 6 Music DJs, critics and record producers. “Back In Black” (AC/DC) was third in the poll and “Smoke On The Water” (DEEP PURPLE) the next most popular.
Slash told a Cincinnati radio station earlier in the year that he wasn’t a fan at first of “Sweet Child O’ Mine”. He explained, “I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t fond of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. And that gives you a good idea of how credible my opinion is. The actual riff itself I love, but the song itself…”
Slash added: “GUNS N’ ROSES was always a real hardcore sort of AC/DC kind of hard rock band with a lot of attitude. If we did any kind of ballads, it was bluesy. This was an uptempo ballad. That’s one of the gayest things you can write… It’s a great song — I’m not knocking it — but at the same time, it just did not fit in with the rest of our, sort of, schtick. And, of course, it would be the biggest hit we ever had.”
“Sweet Child O’ Mine” eventually hit No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart and helped propel “Appetite For Destruction” to sales of millions of copies.
Slash told The Pulse Of Radio a while back why he thought “Appetite” became such a monster success. “We were the only band that was doing what it was that we were doing, with the attitude that we had,” he said. “People were starved for it, because, I mean, other than us, there was SIMPLE MINDS and MÖTLEY CRÜE. I mean, you know, [chuckles] Cyndi Lauper, you know? I mean, that’s what was going on then. So people were dying for, like, a real, blood-sweat-and-tears rock-and-roll band.”
In addition to being the biggest hit from that album, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” has been covered by artists ranging from Sheryl Crow to Luna.
Slash was asked in a U.K. interview to name the most lucrative song he ever wrote. He replied, “I’d guess ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, because it’s the most covered.”