Axl Rose plays ‘November Rain’ + delivers emotional speech at Lisa Marie Presley’s memorial service

Lisa Maria Presleydaughter of the rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley, was laid to rest in a public memorial ceremony yesterday (January 22) at Graceland. The event was well attended and featured performances from Splitting pumpkinsBilly Corgan and Alanis Morissetteas well as Guns ‘n’ Roses frontman Axel Rosewho gave a speech before playing a piano-only version of “November Rain.”

Presley died at the age of 54 on Jan. 12 after going into full cardiac arrest at her home in Calabasas, California, where paramedics arrived and administered CPR before transporting her to a local hospital. She was remembered by many, including Rose, who counted her as a friend and recalled warm memories of their friendship in a announcement shortly after her passing.

At the Graceland ceremony, Corgan was the first to deliver a musical performance, playing the Smashing Pumpkins song “To Sheila” from the 1998 album Adore. The next musical tribute came from singer-songwriter Morissette, who performed her 2021 song “Rest.”

Later, Rose took to the podium and read a prepared speech from his phone, acknowledging that he had not originally planned to speak at the memorial, but agreed to do so after being “put on the spot.”

His words, delivered with a bit of trepidation as a range of emotions were clearly at play, were thoughtful and touching, while still reflecting how fresh and difficult the news of her death is. Rose noted Presley’s passion for family, and she was “fiercely protective” of her father Elvis’ musical legacy.

Immediately after the speech, Rose sat down on a piano bench and played a solo rendition of it Use your illusion I hit “November Rain”.

Read Rose’s full speech (transcript via Blabbermouth) directly below. Watch fan-shot footage of both the speech and “November Rain” further down the page, where you can also find a fully archived video of the complete memorial service. Pictures from the event can also be seen.

Axl Rose’s memorial speech

With Lisa’s passing, I knew that if I was invited, I would have to come to these ceremonies. I hadn’t planned to speak, and when I was put on the spot, I really didn’t know what to say. And I was heavy and nervous. And I didn’t even know what I was saying. But I, as I’m sure many of you are still in shock, as I feel I will continue to be for quite some time. I feel like I’m meant to text her, like right now, and say I’m here and tell her how wonderful everyone is.

I never in a million years imagined singing here, and especially under these circumstances,” he continued. “This is truly devastating and I’m sure excruciating for everyone here and all those affected by her passing. At the same time, you can see how hard everyone has worked, and is working, to make this as beautiful for Lisa as it can be and is. I am honored to be here for Lisa and her family.

I don’t know that I deserve to be here, especially speaking among those who have known Lisa longer and were much closer than her and I, especially her family and those who have known her most of their lives or even her whole life. I know that Lisa loved her family very much and was fiercely protective of her father, his legacy and both her love for him and his love for her.

She was extremely proud, as proud as anyone could ever be, of her father and his many accomplishments, his place in music, America, and American and world history. She was also very proud of the ‘Elvis’ film and how she felt it portrayed her father and the care that was put into the film by those involved – Mr. Luhrmann’s vision and direction, and Austin Butler’s dedication to the role of his father.

With Ben’s passing, Lisa’s life and the rest of her family and loved ones took a turn down a hard road that she honored to the best of her ability, seeking help and choosing to help others who experienced or experienced such loss and pain.

We are gathered here today to pay our respects to Lisa and her family, and to share our memories, to comfort each other as much as we are able. And even though it is under such difficult, heartbreaking and bleak circumstances, also to celebrate life as a friend, a loved one, a beautiful and kind soul and a beloved and deeply missed family member.

Lisa is loved and missed by many, and will continue to be loved and missed by all those whose lives she touched.

Thank you.

Axl Rose speaks + plays “November Rain” at Lisa Marie Presley’s memorial service

Full live stream of Lisa Marie Presley’s public memorial service

Lisa Marie Presley Memorial Service

Friends, family and musicians gathered to commemorate the life of Lisa Marie Presley at a public memorial service at Graceland.

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