Fans of Australian Crawl, whose music you’ve probably heard on your dad’s favourite radio station, seem to have only just figured out how to use the internet. Because, nigh three decades on from the release of Guns N’ Roses’ most enduring hit, Sweet Child O’ Mine, accusations are now flying that the Gunners actually ripped off Appetite For Destruction‘s crowing ballad from Aussie Crawl’s 1981 song, Unpublished Critics.
It all started with an innocuous thread on music station MAX’s website. A story about Slash’s recent comments on not ruling out a Gunners reunion triggered the debate about Sweet Child‘s dubious origins, and as web-savvy Aussie Crawl fans continued to whip themselves into a frenzy over plagiarism claims, the band’s frontman, James Reyne, has weighed in on the saga himself.
Speaking to Triple M, which may or may not be your dad’s favourite radio station, Reyne admitted there may be a potential issue, but stopped short of accusing Guns N’ Roses of ripping him off.
“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,” he said.
“Our song certainly came before them, I don’t quite know what to say.”
As the M’s report, if Aussie Crawl do decide to launch a fully fledged legal copyright claim, they’ll need to prove that Gunners had access to hear Unpublished Critics before composing Sweet Child.
And even though the Aussie rock veterans were by no means huge in the US, it seems a 1984 compilation album featuring Unpublished Critics was released there through GNR’s own record label, Geffen.
You may recognise Australian Crawl for such beer o’clock classics as The Boys Light Up, Reckless and Oh No Not You Again.
Compare their controversial B-side, Unpublished Critics to Sweet Child O’ Mine for yourself, below.
Listen: Australian Crawl – Unpublished Critics
Watch: Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine