Guns N’ Roses does not want to relive the controversy surrounding its 1988 song “One in a Million” when it releases its Locked N’ Loaded boxset, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Appetite for Destruction, this summer.
The song in question, “One in a Million,” was initially released on GNR’s 1988 EP G N’ R Lies. All the other songs from that EP are included in the box set, but the Axl Rose-penned tune that included racial and sexual epithets was nixed.
Rose defended “One in a Million” from criticism during many interviews over the years, saying it was inspired by his experience moving from small-town Indiana to Los Angeles as a teenager. Rose added that many of the lyrics came from true experiences he had and the anger he felt in those trying moments.
In a 1989 interview with Rolling Stone, Rose defended homophobic language in the song by saying that he was writing about an attempted rape he survived as a teenager.
“If you haven’t been there, you can’t say s**t to me about what goes on and about my point of view,” he told Rolling Stone. Years later, Rose disclosed in a radio interview that he was a victim of childhood sexual abuse.
In defense of his use of the N-word in the song, Rose said he was “pissed off about some black people that were tried to rob me. I wanted to insult those particular black people. I didn’t want to support racism.”