On January 20th, 1989, Guns N' Roses performed at the 16th Annual American Music Awards. However, drummer Steven Adler's heroin addiction meant he was admitted to rehab, leaving the band without a drummer.
Their performance at the AMAs of "Patience" was going to be a career defining one, and the band was pretty stressed about not having Adler, until they asked Don Henley. Axl Rose said to him:
I got a proposition for you. We’ve got to play the American Music Awards, and our drummer’s sick. We want you to play the drums.
With a bit of encouragment from producer Danny Kortchmar, Henley agreed. After the performance, Henley said:
Fortunately it was a ballad that we played, not a balls-to-the-wall number. I rehearsed with Axl a couple of days, although the whole band never showed up. But it was a piece of cake. There was really nothing to it.
Have a watch of the full video below.