Song Of The Day -- 'Sweet Child O'Mine' -- an eventual Number 1
Think of Guns N’ Roses’ debut album as a marathoner who starts way back in the pack, but slowly and steadily moves to the front until he ends up winning the race. “Appetite for Destruction” was all but ignored when it came out July 21st, 1987. Five weeks later it was ranked only 182nd on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart.
Album sales stagnated until MTV agreed to play a music video from the album, “Welcome to the Jungle” for three nights. It became the most requested video by viewers.
Geffen Records then sent the album’s three singles, “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Paradise City” and Song of the Day, “Sweet Child O’Mine,” to radio stations seeking airtime. The strategy worked. “Welcome to the Jungle” reached seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, “Paradise City” reached five and “Sweet Child O’Mine,” settled at number one.
Axl Rose wrote the lyrics for Sweet Child o’ Mine. The song was about his future wife, Erin Everly, the daughter of one of the Everly Brothers. The marriage lasted nine months. Everly accused Rose of abuse.
The album reached number one on the Billboard 200 album chart a year after its release. It sold more than 18 million albums in the U.S. and 28 million worldwide. It was the most successful debut ever in the U.S.
The album wasn’t without controversy. Some record stores balked at carrying it because of the violent cover. The record company changed covers and moved the controversial one to the inside.
The group’s follow up albums weren’t too shabby. They had one more number one album and four more albums placing in the top five. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.
Song of the Day is created by Sheldon Zoldan, and produced by Pam James for WGCU. Simon Dunham edited the audio.