Sweet Child o' Mine features the band rehearsing in an abandoned theater, surrounded by crew members. Several of the band members' girlfriends were shown in the clip. In an effort to make the video more marketable to MTV and radio stations, the song was cut from 5:56 minutes to 4:20, with much of Slash's guitar solo removed. This move drew the ire of the band members, including Axl Rose.

In an interview, Axl Rose stated that his original concept for the video focused on the theme of drug trafficking. According to Rose, the video was to depict an Asian woman carrying a baby into a foreign land, only to discover at the end that the child was dead and filled with heroin. This concept was rejected by Geffen Records.

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