Guns N’ Roses is re-releasing its monster 1987 album Appetite for Destruction, but the new box set wont include a song that left the band branded as racist and homophobic 30 years ago.
1988’s “One in a Million” included the line “Immigrants and faggots/They make no sense to me/They come to our country/And think they’ll do as they please.” It’s the one track from Guns N’ Roses’ 1988 EP G N’ R Lies that’s not included in the reissue.
At the time of the song’s release, singer-songwriter Axl Rose defended the lyrics, recounting “bad experiences” with both gays and immigrants. “Maybe I should have been more specific and said, ‘Joe Schmoladoo at the 7-11 and faggots make no sense to me,’” he told Rolling Stone in 1989. “That’s ridiculous! I summed it up simply and said, ‘Immigrants.’”
Rose also defended using the n-word, asking why it was okay for African-Americans to use it and not him.
“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*gger’ because it’s a word to describe somebody that is basically a pain in your life, a problem,” he added. “The word ’n*gger’ doesn’t necessarily mean black.”
The original cover artwork for G N’ R Lies included a preemptive apology regarding “One in a Million” that read, “This song is very simple and extremely generic or generalized, my apologies to those who may take offense.”