Patience (Guns N' Roses song)

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"Patience"
Single by Guns N' Roses
from the album G N' R Lies
A-side "Patience" (LP Version)
B-side "Rocket Queen" (LP Version)
Released April 1989 (US),
June 1989 (UK)[1]
Format Vinyl, cassette
Recorded 1988
Genre Folk rock, blues rock
Length 5:56
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Izzy Stradlin
Producer(s) Guns N' Roses, Mike Clink
Guns N' Roses singles chronology
"Paradise City"
(1989)
"Patience"
(1989)
"Nightrain"
(1989)

"Patience" is a power ballad by American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, which appears on the album G N' R Lies and was released as a single in 1989. The song peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] The song is played using three acoustic guitars and was recorded in a single session by producer Mike Clink. A music video of the song was shot and appears on the band's music video DVD, Welcome to the Videos. The music and lyrics were both written by Izzy Stradlin.[3]

Tesla guitarist Frank Hannon later implied that Guns N' Roses had copied Tesla's earlier work, stating that a demo by Tesla called "Better Off Without You" was "'Patience' note for note."[4] Hannon later backtracked on his blog, saying "The song is a great song that they wrote themselves, and it is only the end part that has any similar part to the guitar chords we used. I apologize for any controversy or dis-respect I may have projected in my joking around with Eddie Trunk about this."[5]

The motivation for the track is generally accepted to be the troublesome relationship between Axl Rose and now ex-wife Erin Everly, though this was never stated in the album or interviews. According to bass guitarist Duff McKagan, "Axl came up with a great lyric, seemingly out of nowhere, that of course became the story and melody of that song."[6] It has also been stated by the band that Izzy wrote the song about his ex-girlfriend Angela Nicoletti McCoy[citation needed], but it may simply be about failed relationships in general.

Steven Adler did not record on the track, although in some live performances prior to release of the album, such as their performance at the Orange County Fair in New York in the summer of 1988, percussion (and electric instruments) were used.

In the video, the band members are situated in a hotel where they are the only constant images, as all other people are present for a moment, then fade away. More recently fans have taken another view on the song, as now Rose is the only remaining member from the original lineup. In a precognitive twist, the final parts of the video show Rose sitting alone in his home watching older Guns N' Roses videos in what appears to be a sad and lonely state.

The video, directed by Nigel Dick, was one of many produced by the band. It was the last video in which Steven Adler appeared (even though he did not play on the recorded track) and the last before the Use Your Illusion videos. The video was shot in The Ambassador Hotel, famous because Bobby Kennedy was assassinated there in 1968. The hotel was inoperative and scheduled for demolition, but was not demolished until 2006.

  • Filming took place on Valentine's Day during 1989.
  • The performance scenes were shot at the Record Plant.
  • Mike Clink was featured in the video, sitting at the mixing board.

Formats and track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Guns N' Roses. 

7" vinyl
No. Title Length
1. "Patience" (LP version) 5:56
2. "Rocket Queen" (LP version) 6:13
UK 12" vinyl, 3" CD
No. Title Length
1. "Patience" (LP version) 5:56
2. "Rocket Queen" (LP Version) 6:13
3. "Interview with W. Axl Rose" (Recorded in Los Angeles 19 May 1989)  

Cover versions[edit]

  • A jazz cover version by Sawa Kobayashi was included on the 2005 compilation Jazz And 80s.
  • A chill-out cover of the song by Sixth Finger featuring Dew was included on the 2006 tribute compilation Bossa n' Roses.
  • ApologetiX parodied the song as "Patients" on their first album.
  • Aaron Lewis from Staind also covered this song on his Live and Acoustic Album
  • Romanian band Bosquito covered this song on their "Cocktail Molotov" album in 2003.

Live performances[edit]

"Patience" has been a steady constant in the Guns N' Roses set list on all tours since the song was released. When performed live, electric guitars are often used instead of acoustic. Despite the album version of the song featuring no drumming, the drummers make active use of their drum kits during performances. Keyboardist Dizzy Reed makes use of his keyboard as well.

  • The band performed the song live at the American Music Awards filmed at the Shrine Auditorium. Steven Adler was in rehab at the time of filming, and Don Henley filled in for him during the taping.

Live cover performances[edit]

  • Velvet Revolver and Finger Eleven covered the song during live performances in 2007.
  • Brian McFadden has covered the song on Australian music quiz show Spicks and Specks.
  • Aaron Lewis from Staind covered the song several times when doing acoustic concerts.
  • John Mayer and Maroon 5 often covered the song on their 2003 summer tour together. Both bands (a total of 12 acoustic guitars) played at the same time.
  • Slash performed the song many times throughout his tour acoustically with Myles Kennedy on vocals.
  • Australian band Cyanide often perform the song in their acoustic line ups.

Featured In[edit]

  • "Patience" is featured in the soundtrack of the movie Warm Bodies.
  • The song can be heard briefly in the 1991 movie Cape Fear.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]