Available in a variety of new formats featuring five discs, seven LP’s, seven 7″, the reissue of their 1987 classic rock album came in at 73 tracks long, with 49 of them being previously unreleased songs. The release also features all tracks from their 1988 EP ‘G N’ R Lies’ – except for the song ‘One In A Million’. It emerged that the track had been cut due to its controversial lyrics.
‘One In A Million’ drew heavy criticism for featuring the lyrics “Police and n****rs, that’s right / Get outta my way / Don’t need to buy none of your / Gold chains today,” as well as “immigrants and fagots / They make no sense to me / They come to our country / And think they’ll do as they please / Like start some mini-Iran / Or spread some fucking disease“.
While the song also calls out “radicals and racists”, Axl Rose’s choice of language attracted great criticism at the time of release.
Now in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Slash said: “We collectively decided that it just didn’t have any place in that box set. It didn’t take long. There wasn’t a big roundtable thing over it.”
Speaking of his own background of having an African-American mother and British father, he continued: “It’s never been part of my makeup, to be able to differentiate myself from anybody else because of colour. I went through a lot of that as a kid — in school you’re pigeonholed into being more aware of your background.
“When I started doing my own thing, especially playing guitar, it wasn’t so much of a thing. I never really cared to have to identify one way or another.”
“Why can black people go up to each other and say, ‘n****r,” but when a white guy does it all of a sudden it’s a big putdown?,” frontman Axl Rose told Rolling Stone in 1989, defending his lyrics. “I don’t like boundaries of any kind. I don’t like being told what I can and what I can’t say. I used the word ‘n****r’ because it’s a word to describe somebody that is basically a pain in your life, a problem. The word ‘n****r’ doesn’t necessarily mean black.”
Speaking out on the “fagots” lyric, he argued that he had “bad experiences with homosexuals”, adding: “I’m not against them doing what they want to do as long as it’s not hurting anybody else and they’re not forcing it upon me.”
When quizzed about his choice to direct words at immigrants, he replied: “Maybe I should have been more specific and said, ‘Joe Schmoladoo at the 7-11 and faggots make no sense to me’.
“That’s ridiculous! I summed it up simply and said, ‘immigrants.’”