"Sweet Child o' Mine" was the last song that Guns N' Roses wrote for their debut album, Appetite for Destruction. It started with Slash screwing around on the guitar while the group was camped out at the dilapidated former estate of director Cecil B. DeMille in Los Angeles. Rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin liked the riff and began playing along; then singer Axl Rose overheard them from upstairs and began writing lyrics inspired by his girlfriend, Erin Everly.
"It was an interesting sort of pattern," Slash tells Rolling Stone in the "Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time" issue. "But Jesus Christ, I never thought it was going to become a song." He initially thought the track was too soft for the hard-rock group, but he wisely relented and the song became one of their biggest singles. "I hated playing that song for years," adds Slash. "It's easy now, but it was very daunting in the early days. Especially because I drank exorbitant amounts of alcohol and had other chemical things going on."