The Guns N’ Roses song Slash was never comfortable with


Upending the status quo was central to Guns N’ Roses’ whole philosophy. If you said that they were mocking proper rock and roll or setting a poor example for children, they probably would have taken that as a compliment in their prime. They had the intent to be the exact opposite of every other rock band in the area, after all. Regarding Slash, there was a limit. When Axl Rose began working on “One in a Million,” he crossed it far too much.

Recording an all-acoustic EP was risky for a band known for being on point. While many hair metal ballads from the same era featured sultry, slow-tempo ballads, songs like “Patience” were among the most poignant songs to emerge from the late 1980s. This made Poison’s ballad style sound a lot more like The Partridge Family.

Slash could probably play any solo well enough if there was good music to accompany it. However, “One in a Million” isn’t the kind of song that anyone would want to be a part of. Rose might have been playing a character in the song, but it was never going to work the way he played up the sounds of a bigoted asshole talking about the alleged lowlifes of the world.

Rose’s use of racial and homophobic slurs was too much for Slash to handle in the studio. He told Behind the Music, “It hit home for me on a bad level because I’m half-black. So, to have him saying words like [the N-word] around me was very unsettling.” It would be one thing if Rose limited his remarks to just harsh language.

When asked if those remarks were specifically directed at Black people, Rose finally addressed the controversy. He clarified, “It meant basically lowlifes, people who turned to stealing to supply their drug habits.” Saying that after the fact is one thing. However, the song most likely didn’t accomplish its goal if you have to read an interview to realize that someone isn’t a monster.

That didn’t stop Rose for a second, though. It seemed as though Rose was using a number of his fellow musicians as session players to create songs like “November Rain” and “Estranged.” He ensured that the group realized his vision in all of their subsequent endeavors.

More likely, Rose went in different directions because Slash turned away from her on “One in a Million.” Is it really shocking that he covered a Charles Manson song later in his career? He got away with saying some of the dirtiest things a rock star has ever said.

However, by then, Slash had had enough of playing games with Rose. He departed the group after they recorded their rendition of “Sympathy for the Devil”. The band was limping to the end. At the beginning of their career, Guns N’ Roses were the definition of a rock and roll street gang. But you know you’re not meant to last when someone makes you feel as uneasy as Slash did on “One in a Million.”

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