Guns N’ Roses – Patience: Facts, Lyrics, Meaning

Guns N’ Roses is a band that needs no introduction. The hard-rock group made a name for themselves in the late ’80s and early ’90s with their electric guitar riffs, but it was a slow, acoustic ballad that captured the hearts of millions.

“Patience” was released in 1989 as a single from their album “G N’ R Lies,” and it quickly became a classic for the band. In this article, we will explore the making of “Patience” and how it became a beloved anthem for many.


The Departure from Guns N’ Roses’ Typical Sound

“Patience” was a stark departure from the band’s other hits like “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine. Rather than relying on heavy distortion and pounding drums, the song is played using three acoustic guitars.

Despite this, the song has become one of the band’s most beloved tracks and also demonstrates their versatility to create emotionally charged music that can be appreciated on an emotional level.

Motivation Behind the Track

Despite the lack of a clear explanation from the band, it’s widely believed that the song was written about the tumultuous relationship between Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose and his former spouse Erin Everly.

While this theory isn’t confirmed by the band, there are some clues in the lyrics that suggest it could be true.

For example, lines like “I’ve been walking these streets at night, just trying to get it right” and “all we need is just a little patience” could be interpreted as references to the ups and downs of a rocky relationship.

An Unexpected Source

So, where did this theory come from? Surprisingly, the main source for this information is actually Wikipedia.

While it’s not exactly the most reliable source of information, it’s certainly an interesting one. And of course, this is just one interpretation of the song, and there could be other factors that influenced its creation.

Composition of Guns N’ Roses – Patience

“Patience” was released in April 1989 as a single from the band’s second studio album, G N’ R Lies. Despite the album’s controversial content, “Patience” stood out with its heartfelt lyrics and soulful melody.

The song climbed its way up the US Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number four, becoming one of the band’s biggest hits.


A remarkable highlight of the song “Patience” is its instrumentation; it only required three guitars and was recorded in a single session. Mike Clink, an incredibly talented producer, worked his magic on this track!

The song starts with a simple acoustic riff played by Izzy Stradlin. Then, two more acoustic guitars are added, played by Slash and rhythm guitarist Duff McKagan, creating a layered and harmonious sound.

The song’s melody is then carried by Axl Rose’s vocals and is accompanied by a whistling interlude, also performed by Rose. 

Who was whistling in Patience from Guns N Roses?

One of the most memorable parts of Guns N’ Roses’ hit song “Patience” is the whistling that opens the soulful, acoustic single. Many fans have wondered who was responsible for the whistling, but now you know that it was none other than the band’s frontman, Axl Rose.

This whistling has become an iconic part of “Patience” and is often cited as one of the reasons why the song is so memorable and beloved by fans.

It perfectly captures the melancholic and wistful tone of the song and is a testament to the band’s creativity and willingness to experiment with different sounds and techniques.

Who wrote the lyrics to Patience Guns N Roses?

As for the lyrics to “Patience,” Axl Rose is credited with writing them. But according to the band members themselves, the song was more of a group effort than the official credits might suggest.

Music Video

One of the things that makes “Patience” stand out is its simplicity. Unlike many other music videos of its time, there are no elaborate special effects or flashy costumes. Instead, the focus is entirely on the band’s performance.

The video features Axl Rose singing on a makeshift stage surrounded by the band as they play their instruments under dimly lit lights and in a full-fledged studio. This stripped-down setting adds to the song’s emotional impact, allowing viewers to fully immerse themselves in the music.

It’s been over three decades since “Patience” was first released, but the video has lost none of its power. In fact, it has only grown more beloved with time.

The video has been viewed over 737 million times on YouTube, a testament to its enduring popularity. It’s also been parodied and referenced in popular culture, cementing its status as a classic.

Lyrics and Meaning of Patience

“Patience” is a song about the challenges of waiting for a relationship to work out and the importance of being patient. The lyrics of the song convey the singer’s longing for someone and the difficulty of waiting for that person. At the same time, the song stresses the need for patience, understanding, and communication in a relationship.

The song starts with the lines

“Shed a tear ’cause I’m missin’ you,
I’m still alright to smile.
Girl, I think about you every day now.
Was a time when I wasn’t sure but you set my mind at ease.
There is no doubt you’re in my heart now.”

These lines express the singer’s feelings of missing someone but also his ability to remain optimistic despite the pain.

“Just a little patience, yeah.
Some more patience, yeah.
Need a little patience, yeah.
Could use some patience, yeah.
Gotta have some patience, yeah.
All it takes is patience,
just a little patience is all you need”

The second verse of the song highlights the importance of communication in a relationship. And also convey the singer’s willingness to wait for the person he loves and his commitment to making things work.

I sit here on the stairs ’cause I’d rather be alone
If I can’t have you right now, I’ll wait, dear
Sometimes I get so tense, but I can’t speed up the time
But you know, love, there’s one more thing to consider

In summary, “Patience” is a beautiful ballad that speaks to the heart of anyone who has ever struggled with the challenges of a relationship. The lyrics emphasize the importance of being patient, understanding, and communicative in a relationship, and the song’s enduring popularity is a testament to its universal message.

What Key Is Patience In?

Patience is originally played in G major and the guitar tuning used is Eb ( Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb ). The chords used are C, G, A, D, Em, Dsus2, Dsus4, D/F#, F. Here is a great guitar lesson of Patience.

Legacy and Covers

Since its release, “Patience” has become one of Guns N’ Roses’ most beloved songs. It has been covered by various artists, including Chris Cornell, who recorded an unreleased version of the song before his death in 2017.

Cornell’s cover was released posthumously in 2020, on what would have been his 56th birthday. The track features Cornell’s signature powerful vocals and a stripped-down arrangement, highlighting the song’s emotional lyrics and melody.

Other notable covers of “Patience” include a version by country music star Chris Stapleton. The cover received widespread acclaim, with many praising Stapleton’s soulful interpretation of the song.

In addition to its popularity as a cover song, “Patience” has also been featured in various films and TV shows.

Final Thoughts from the Heart

As we come to the end of this article about Guns N’ Roses’ iconic song “Patience,” it’s clear that the song has earned its place as a classic rock ballad.

Whether you were a fan of Guns N’ Roses in the ’80s or discovered the band years later, this song has resonated with generations of listeners. Its message of patience in relationships is timeless, and its hopeful lyrics and meaningful melody make it an enduring favorite.

So, if you’re struggling in a relationship or feeling frustrated by life, take a cue from the song and practice some patience. You never know what great things are waiting around the corner if you just have a little faith!