“November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses

Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain” uses a lot of heartfelt wordplay to relay a tale based on two people – the singer (Axl Rose) and more-importantly the woman he is addressing – who have to deal with a “love restrained”. The pair like each other on a romantic level but are hesitant to get into that type of relationship due to the emotional risks involved. However, Axl is obviously more willing to face these probabilities in the name of love. 

So throughout the song he is basically trying to convince her to open up to him. And he is approaching this request from a sympathetic standpoint, as in he fully understands why she is fearful to trust someone, even a platonic friend, so intimately. But at the same time he appeals primarily to the belief that, like everyone else, she too “needs somebody”. And he desires to be that “someone”, if only she is able to truly able leave her former disappointments and heartbreaks in the past.

Lyrics of "November Rain"

Who wrote “November Rain”?

This song was written exclusively by Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose, who had actually been working on it for nearly a decade before it was released. In fact a previous acoustic version of the song had made its way onto an LP released in Australia entitled “November Rain/In Concert and Beyond” in 1988.

On the other hand, the track was produced by renowned rock music producer Mike Clink.

Release Date of “November Rain”

The song was officially released on the same day, 17 September 1991, as the album it is featured on, “Use Your Illusion I” by Guns N’ Roses.

Former Guns N’ Roses member Matt Sorum has stated that “November Rain” is actually part of an informal trilogy along with “Don’t Cry” (also featured on “Use Your Illusion I”) and “Estranged” (from “Use Your Illusion II”). 

Global Charts and Success

“November Rain” (which is 8 minutes and 57 seconds in length) set the record for the longest song to make it to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 (as well as having the longest guitar solo in the top 10 history). There, it peaked at number 3.

Meanwhile on the UK Singles Chart it went as high as number 4, and in Poland it actually topped the charts.

“November Rain” also charted in a number of other countries and in some for an impressive duration, most notably Germany where it peaked at number 9 but remained on the chart for almost an entire year (51 weeks). In all, it has sold in excess of one-million copies around the globe.

Music Video

Part of the success of this song is attributable to its well-received music video, with it winning a MTV Video Music Award for Best Cinematography in 1992. With a budget that is said to have been in excess of $1 million it was quite-expensive, even by industry standards decades after its release.

The music video, which tells a harrowing tale of marriage and suicide, is actually based on a short story entitled “Without You” by Del James, a friend of Axl Rose. In fact Rose later wrote the intro to a book by James that “Without You” is featured in.

The music video to “November Rain” also holds the distinction of being the first from the 1990’s and indeed the entire pre-YouTube era to garner a billion views on that streaming service.

The marriage depicted on the video is between Axl Rose and his then-girlfriend, model and actress Stephanie Seymour. The first time Guns N’ Roses played this track live was on 29 May 1991 at the Deer Creek Music Center in Indiana.

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