The song features Mick Mars playing a steel guitar during the intro and the solo, a clean electric guitar arpeggio on the verses and bridge, and various licks on an distorted electric guitar throughout. In the Dr. Feelgood album's liner notes, the composition is said to be about Tommy Lee's relationship with Heather Locklear.
The music video was shot at the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, Texas on January 15, 1990, following Mötley Crüe's Houston concert. Produced by Sharon Oreck through O Pictures and photographed by Bill Pope, "Without You" is the first of two Crüe videos to be directed by Mary Lambert under the alias "Blanche White" ("blanche" meaning "white" in French). Lambert's original idea for the video was "to do a motorcycle movie" but Mötley Crüe objected, as they had done that before. The final clip, which was described by Nikki Sixx as having a very "surreal" touch to it, includes various abstract images, a live jaguar (Czar from the Exotic Cat Refuge and Wildlife Orphanage in Kirbyville), a violin ensemble playing during the slide solo, and the band playing in an Ancient Egypt-fashioned scenario. Traces of Persian cultural tradition are present in the last few seconds of the studio release.