At almost nine minutes, this might be the longest song I have ever seen on one side of a 7 inch. I used to have a record player that shut off automatically too early, as the arm triggered the shut off mechanism before the end of the song.
The MTV generation remembers this song probably best for its accompanying video. It tell the story of a rockstart who lost his wife. It is based on a short story by Guns ‘n Roses’ band manager Del James, about a philandering rock start that gets in trouble with his girlfriend. She discovers him in flagrante delicto with two groupies.
To make up with her, he writes Without you about her where he professes his love. But when he is about to perform it, he discovers she is not there. He decides to do the right thing, and goes to her house, abandoning the stage.
He discovers she shot herself in the head, while playing the song at the background. The story is told in flashbacks, with the rock star (played by Axl Rose) reliving the nightmare. It ends in the death by another suicide: he dies in flames.