If PC can make 100-year-old statues disappear, it certainly can erase rock n’ roll songs. This summer’s deluxe box set release of rock band Guns N’ Roses’ early albums was packaged without an original song due to homophobic and racist content.
Appetite for Destruction: Locked N’ Loaded Edition is a massive re-issue of the band’s debut album, and other early work, that includes a collection of CD’s, LP’s, a Blu-ray disc, and a hardcover book. It’s pretty much anything a devoted hair metal fan could want in a reissue, and then some. Except, it’s missing an entire original song.
The song One In a Million, from the album G N' R Lies (also featured in the box set) has been withheld from release on this collection. Now that may not be a big deal to some people, but to try selling a definitive box set of early GNR work without an integral piece of the original formula would probably grind the gears of many collectors.
Many would skip this purchase on principle.
One in a Million was controversial when it was released, but Guns N’ Roses was all about what would now be called “toxic masculinity.” Their shtick was hard drug use, violence and aggressive sexism. The song’s lyrics the exact opposite of “woke”:
Police and niggers, 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.
There’s a reference to AIDS too, for good measure.
Offensive and ignorant garbage? You bet. But should it be memory-holed -- especially in a big retrospective? Wouldn’t a “warts and all” approach be justified. It would certainly be more honest.
I know, it’s only rock n’ roll. But erasing history -- whether a dumb Guns N’ Roses song or statues of Robert E. Lee -- is engaging in Stalinism for the mere sake of not triggering someone.