Remember that $999 Guns N’ Roses box set that included 49 previously unreleased songs, a bunch of temporary tattoos, and a two-inch collectible coin? It’s due out tomorrow, and you could get your hands on one simply by googling “securities fraud.” If, however, you don’t own a sharp enough suit, one of the unheard tracks has made its way onto the internet in advance. It’s an early demo version of the ostentatious Appetite for Destruction classic “November Rain.” It was recorded a full year before Appetite came out, and you can listen to it below. (I couldn’t in all good conscience put it at the top of the page and cover over that picture of cover-girl Axl and frizzily iconic Slash.)
It’s just Axl Rose, a piano, and some ah-ah-ah backing vocals, but it’s still more than ten minutes long—80-odd seconds longer than the finished version. Slash’s massive solo and the portentous choirs are absent, but it’s just as ambitious as “November Rain” proper. There are even chunks of this demo that the band seemingly had to remove when they got into the studio. To surmise: With no embellishments on-hand, Axl Rose sat down one day in 1986 and said to himself, Yes, I will record a 10-minute-long piano ballad today. Ambition is its own drug.
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