The 1980s weren’t as kind to Bob Dylan as the 1960s and 1970s were, despite the fact that times were changing. The decade began with a middle-aged Dylan declaring he had given up on his peace shouts and refusing to back down after being called a fatalist by a reporter. His career had also begun to wane as a result of his recordings no longer topping the charts as frequently as they once did, together with his hope for global peace.
Dylan’s career flourished in the late 1980s, but he wasn’t the only performer to have success at that time. countless musicians competed for a piece of Guns N’ Roses’ limelight as the band’s name became well-known in the scene, leading to countless collaborations.
So, when Dylan entered the recording studio in 1990 to begin work on his then-upcoming album, “Under The Red Sky,” rumors began to circulate that he was seeking for a guitarist. Slash, who was then the newest hotshot, was the ideal candidate to fill the position.
The guitarist for Guns N’ Roses was asked to contribute to the recording of Bob Dylan’s song “Wiggle Wiggle,” which was included on his album Under the Red Sky, but without the key component that was created by the younger artist under the direction of producer Don Was.
By that time, the guitar hero had teamed up with several luminaries, like Iggy Pop and Motörhead, and those collaborations had been successful. Therefore, the rocker immediately agreed when Iggy’s producer asked him if he would want to appear in a song Bob was recording, even though he subsequently claimed he hadn’t been a fan of Dylan’s latter work. While speaking with the Guitar Player Magazine in 1991, Slash recalled the recording sessions and his initial impression of Dylan, remarking on how chilly the veteran rocker was. Nevertheless, the guitarist’s desire to record the greatest rhythm guitar section and solo he could manage was unaffected by Bob’s demeanor, and after a protracted studio session, he only needed one take to perfect an amazing solo.
Slash regarded it as one of his all-time finest riffs, but Dylan didn’t share his opinion and opted to take it out of the song “Wiggle Wiggle.” The guitarist was undoubtedly incensed by Bob’s choice, but the singer stood by the rendition of his song and explained how much the guitarist’s pick resembled a GN’R solo.
The rocker also asked Slash to begin playing in the style of Django Reinhardt, despite the fact that the chords the guitarist played did not at all resemble Django’s solos. Nevertheless, Dylan released the song with simply his rhythm section and appeared content with it, leaving off Slash’s GN’R-like solo.
Slash commented, “I did one [collaboration] session that I completely regret. Don Was, who produced Iggy [Pop]’s record, goes, ‘Would you be interested in playing on this Bob Dylan project?’ I hadn’t been into Dylan since he did something good years ago. Still, I thought, ‘Why not?’
I came down to the studio and met Bob. He was indifferent as indifferent gets – impossible to work with. On top of that, I did one of my best one-off solos ever, one take – it was killer. When the advance cassettes went out, it was still on there, but he took it off on the official release. He said it sounded too much like Guns & Roses. I was like, ‘What the f*ck was I there for?’
I played acoustic underneath the lead, right? Well, he wanted me to play like Django Reinhardt! But the chords were a typical I-IV-V progression – I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about. I ended up doing some strum patterns, and he went, ‘That’s it.’ I’m like, ‘This is not Django Reinhardt.’ The space is still there in the song, so now, when it gets to the guitar solo, all you hear is me strumming these stupid chords. I learned my lesson from that.”
Early in the 1980s, Dylan’s career was on the decline when guitarist George Harrison salvaged it. But when he made the decision to work with another guitarist to create another number-one song, things didn’t turn out the way he had hoped. Their collaboration with Slash eventually became one of the least beloved Dylan songs ever, and perhaps Bob shouldn’t have ignored the rocker’s GN’R-like sound.