American hard rock band Guns N’ Roses have removed the song ‘One in a Million’ from a forthcoming reissue of their album Appetite for Destruction, for the use of homophobic and racist lyrics.
The band which was formed in 1985 from Los Angeles, California, are yet to comment on the decision to remove the song from the album, however, it is believed that the song’s lyrics stating, “Immigrants and faggots, they make no sense to me” may have played a big part.
The controversial song includes lyrics such as “Police and n******, that’s right / Get outta my way / Don’t need to buy none of your gold chains today.”
“Immigrants and faggots / 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 f***ing disease / And they talk so many goddamn ways / It’s all Greek to me.”
Originally appearing on an EP called G N’ R Lies, which sold more than 5 million copies in the United States, all of the tracks from that EP have since been repackaged and are featured on a disc of B-sides being released alongside a remastered version of Guns N’ Roses debut studio album, Appetite for Destruction.
Explaining the lyrics in 1988, lead singer Axl Rose told Rolling Stone that they were inspired in part by African American con artists in Los Angeles, and added, “Why can black people go up to each other and say, ‘nigger’, but when a white guy does it all of a sudden it’s a big putdown?”
“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 ‘nigger’ because it’s a word to describe somebody that is basically a pain in your life, a problem. The word ‘nigger’ doesn’t necessarily mean black.”
In 1992, he added, “I was pissed off about some black people that were trying to rob me. I wanted to insult those particular black people.”
Regarding the immigrants’ line, Rose explained, “A lot of people from countries like Iran, Pakistan, China, Japan, et cetera, get jobs in these convenience stores and gas stations. Then they treat you like you don’t belong here.”
He claimed the “faggot” line came from “very bad experiences with homosexuals” including an attempted rape: “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.”
Guitarist Slash later said, “I don’t regret doing One in a Million, I just regret what we’ve been through because of it and the way people have perceived our personal feelings.”