Guns N’ Roses turned down $10,000 for the publishing rights of Sweet Child O’ Mine before the release of Appetite For Destruction

The track has earned the band, well, a lot more than that over the last 37 years.

[L-R] Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses

Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Power Trip

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Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan has revealed that the band turned down a measly $10,000 in exchange for the publishing rights of Sweet Child O’ Mine in the early days, as they believed they could get more for their material.

In an interview on the Broken Record podcast (transcribed by Ultimate Guitar), McKagan reflects on the offer that the band were given prior to the release of their debut album, Appetite For Destruction.

“When you’re starving, literally – we were working phone sales jobs and paying for a rehearsal place; we had days when we just couldn’t even afford to have ramen,” he explains.

“$10,000 [felt] like we’d be rich. The guy was smart, he knew [about the band’s potential]. He saw us playing in the clubs. We didn’t know what publishing really meant, but if it’s worth $10,000 to him, it’s got to be worth that, at least, to us.”

It seems as if the band knew exactly what they wanted and were not willing to compromise or let anyone else take a piece of the pie.

Similarly, McKagan emphasises how committed they were to the vision that they had in their heads.

“Well, we just knew. And we were at the age where we should know. Whatever was going to be next in rock was on our shoulders, and somebody who maybe wasn’t with us through the whole thing just wouldn’t understand it.

“We just wanted microphones up against the amps, around the drums, and capture Axl and these backing vocals.”

Last month it was revealed that Slash didn’t like the chord progression of Sweet Child O’ Mine, and wrote the intro as a ploy to “get rid” of it.

“Of course that part to try to get rid of the song, totally worked,” McKagan jokes during an episode of the Songcraft podcast. “It was this amazing intro to the song, and suddenly we had this ballad.”

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