Long before the world embraced Guns N’ Roses as the quintessential Eighties rock band, the L.A.-based outfit recorded in one day a demo tape that featured many of what would become the band’s best-known songs, including “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Paradise City” and “Mr. Browstone,” all of which would wind up on the band’s 1987 breakthrough album, Appetite For Destruction. Also on the tape was a song called “November Rain,” a sprawling, grandiose piano-driven ballad that would lie dormant for the remainder of the decade, eventually resurfacing in 1991 on the band’s two record set, Use Your Illusion.
“I think that demo session was the first time we played ‘November Rain’ together as a band,” says Guns guitarist Slash. “We actually did it on paino and acoustic guitar. As far as the guitar solo, it was so natural from the first time I ever played it on the demo that I don’t even know if I made any changes to it when we did the electric version on Use Your Illusion. I never even went back and listened to the old tapes. One of the best things about a melody for a guitar solo is when it comes to you the same way every time, and that was definitely the case with ‘November Rain.’ When it came time to do the record, I just went into the studio, played the solo through a Les Paul Standard and a Marshall [2555, Jubilee head] and said, ‘I think that sounds right,’ ” he laughs. “It was as simple as that.”