Did Guns N’ Roses rip off an Australian band?

Posted by on May 13, 2015


Listen to “Unpublished Critics”” by a band called Australian Crawl. Having formed in 1978, they released five albums and an EP before disbanding in 1986, getting pretty popular in their home continent of Australia (natch). In 1981, they released their sophomore album, Sirocco, which contained “Unpublished Critics.” As pointed out by MAXTV, it sounds a hell of a lot like another song that came out a few years later, “Sweet Child of Mine.” And while the song was never a single, the band’s only US release, which was a compilation, contained the song.

What’s insane is that not only is the main riff pretty similar, but the vocals are sung in the same general pitch, and even the guitar fills bear more than just a passing similarity to the song, which was on GN’R’s debut, Appetite for Destruction. While Australian Crawl have been languishing in relative obscurity since they broke up,  “Sweet Child of Mine” was a #1 single from an album that’s sold 30 million copies worldwide. If Robin Thicke and Pharell can be on the hook for writing a song that kind of sounds like “Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” and Sam Smith can wind up naming Tom Petty as a co-writer for “Stay With Me” due to its similarity to “I Won’t Back Down,” then James Reyne, who co-wrote the song, might have a case against GN’R should he choose to pursue legal action. When asked about the similarities on Triple M Sydney, Reyne said the following:

“I have been made aware by people in the past, I have to be also very careful with what I say as you can imagine… to me personally it’s not inconceivable as I’ve said before there may be similarities,” said Reyne. “Our song certainly came before them, I don’t quite know what to say.”

We’ll have to see how this one plays out, but it sounds more like Appetite for Litigation, amirite?


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