Your legendary hit? It could be a joke.
You know that iconic guitar riff at the beginning of “Sweet Child O’ Mine”?
Allow me to refresh your memory:
Here’s what you don’t know: the whole song began as a joke.
Slash was — as one bandmate put it — “just fuckin’ around” in the studio, playing some mindlessly simple warm-ups and string-skipping exercises. Steven and Izzy and Duff chimed in with drums and rhythm guitar and bass. Axl Rose heard the jam session going on, and scribbled down a few saccharine-sweet lyrics about his girlfriend: “She’s got a smile it seems to me / Reminds me of childhood memories / Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky.”
Add a few nonsensical lyrics for the final chorus (“Where do we go now? Where do we go now?”) and presto! A legend is born.
Accordingly to rock ‘n roll lore, the song “wrote itself” in about 5 minutes flat … and went on to become Guns N’ Roses first and only #1 U.S. single, earning a spot on Rolling Stone‘s list of 40 Greatest Songs that Changed the World … and selling over 30 million copies.
The next time you have an idea that’s so impossibly simple it could only be a joke … don’t laugh it off.
It could be your platinum hit.