Patience (Guns N' Roses song)

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Standard artwork (U.S. vinyl pictured)
Single by Guns N' Roses
from the album G N' R Lies
B-side "Rocket Queen" (LP Version)
Released April 1989 (US),
June 26, 1989 (UK)[1]
Format Vinyl, cassette
Recorded 1988
Genre Soft rock, acoustic rock
Length 5:56
Label Geffen
Songwriter(s) Izzy Stradlin
Producer(s) Guns N' Roses, Mike Clink
Guns N' Roses singles chronology
"Paradise City"
"Paradise City"

"Patience" is a song 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 his 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 Stradlin wrote the song about his ex-girlfriend Angela Nicoletti McCoy.[citation needed]

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.

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. 2001 and later The lead Guitarist (Robin Fink, DJ Ashba and Slash) would play Electric guitar and the Guitarist (Buckethead, Paul Tobias, Richard Fortus, Bumblefoot and Duff McKagan) will play Acoustic and the rest of the band apart from Axl would play tambourine until the solo where Dizzy Reed switches over till to piano. At the end the keyboard players (Dizzy Reed, Chris Pitman and Melissa Reese) would play Keyboards.

  • 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]

Use in media[edit]

  • "Patience" is featured in the soundtrack of the movie Warm Bodies.
  • The song can be heard briefly in the 1991 movie Cape Fear.
  • The song is used in the first episode of the 2016 TV show Dead of Summer on Freeform network

Formats and track listing[edit]

All tracks written 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)  



Chart (1989-90) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[7] 16
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[8] 9
Finland (The Official Finnish Charts)[9] 8
Germany (Official German Charts)[10] 38
Ireland (IRMA)[11] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[12] 4
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[13] 4
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[14] 16
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[15] 10
US Billboard Hot 100[16] 4
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[17] 7


  1. ^ Strong, M. C. (1995). The Great Rock Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate Books Ltd. p. 347. ISBN 0-86241-385-0. 
  2. ^ "Allmusic (Guns N' Roses charts and awards) Billboard singles". 
  3. ^ "W. Axl Rose – Melbourne, 1988". 
  4. ^ "That Metal Show. Jeff Keith & Frank Hannon (Tesla) Sneak Peak.". VH1 Classic. November 13, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Did Guns N' Roses Steal "Patience" From Tesla?". 2010. 
  6. ^ London, Axl, and Continued "Patience"
  7. ^ " – Guns N' Roses – Patience". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  8. ^ " – Guns N' Roses – Patience" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  9. ^ Pennanen, Timo. Sisältää hitin: levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972. Otava Publishing Company Ltd, 2003. ISBN 951-1-21053-X
  10. ^ " – Guns N' Roses – Patience". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  11. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Guns N' Roses". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  12. ^ " – Guns N' Roses – Patience" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  13. ^ " – Guns N' Roses – Patience". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  14. ^ " – Guns N' Roses – Patience". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  15. ^ "Guns N' Roses: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  16. ^ "Guns N' Roses – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Guns N' Roses. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  17. ^ "Guns N' Roses – Chart history" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for Guns N' Roses. Retrieved March 25, 2017.