Every Rose Has Its Thorn
|"Every Rose Has Its Thorn"|
|Single by Poison|
|from the album Open Up and Say... Ahh!|
|B-side||"Livin for the Minute", "Gotta Face the Hangman"|
|Released||October 12, 1988|
|Format||7 inch single, CD single, digital download|
|Writer(s)||Bret Michaels, C.C. DeVille, Bobby Dall, Rikki Rockett|
|Certification||Quadruple Platinum (RIAA)|
|Poison singles chronology|
"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" is the title of a power ballad song by American glam metal band Poison. It was released in October 1988 as the third single from Poison's second album Open Up and Say... Ahh!. It is the band's only number-one hit in the U.S., reaching the top spot on December 18, 1988, for three weeks (carrying over into 1989) and it also charted at #11 on the Mainstream Rock chart. It was a number 13 hit in the UK. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" was named number 34 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s", #100 on their "100 Greatest Love Songs" and #7 on MTV and VH1 "Top 25 Power Ballads".
Musically, the song starts quietly and features two guitar solos, one mellow and one fast. During the same period, Poison had been playing at a cowboy bar called "The Ritz" in Dallas, Texas, accounting for the song's recognizable references to cowboys in the chorus, along with the twang in Bret Michaels' vocals, which give the song a country feel not often heard in power ballads composed by glam metal bands.
Background and writing
In an interview with VH1's Behind the Music, Michaels said the inspiration for the song came from a night when he was in a laundromat waiting for his clothes to dry, and called his girlfriend on a pay phone. Michaels said he heard a male voice in the background and was devastated; he said he went into the laundromat and wrote "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" as a result. Following their gig in Dallas, Michaels and bandmates CC DeVille (guitar), Bobby Dall (bass) and Rikki Rockett (drums) retreated to a seedy motel for the evening. It was there that an exhausted and lonesome Michaels determined that a 3am call to the girlfriend – an exotic dancer, natch – with whom he shared an apartment in Hollywood would be just the thing to lift his spirits.
But things didn’t go quite as planned. “She answered the phone, but she sounded a little odd,” says Michaels. “Immediately she gave me that ‘I’m really sleepy’ line, which was not something she would normally say. And then I heard it – the whispering in the background. It was obviously a guy’s voice. Now, a female voice, that I could’ve lived with, you know what I’m saying? Hell, I may have even welcomed it! But another guy... It broke my heart.”
Devastated to learn that his girl was not the faithful sort, Michaels grabbed an acoustic guitar – and some dirty clothes – and headed to the motel’s laundry room. While his stage gear spun in the washing machine, the now lone ranger strummed some cowboy chords and emptied his broken heart into a song.
“I began singing: ‘We both lie silently still in the dead of the night', just thinking about how cold and lonely it was going to be trying to work everything out with this girl,” says Michaels. “I was trying to capture being at that point in your relationship where it’s not officially over, but it’s over.”
Michaels titled the song Every Rose Has Its Thorn because “there I was, out on the road, getting to play music for a living, which was the rose. But then there was my exotic dancer back in LA, who I was positive would never cheat on me. Or so I thought. That was the thorn.”
Poetry. Poison recorded the song for their second album, 1988’s Open Up and Say... Ahh! But the band’s label, Capitol, initially balked at releasing it as a single.
“When we played Every Rose... for our label and management they told us it would end our career,” says Michaels. “They were like: ‘This song is not Poison. It starts with an acoustic guitar, and you’ve got this cowboy thing going on and it’s just sad’.”
The music video to "Every Rose" was similar to those filmed for other 1980s power ballads. It features Michael sitting down, playing the guitar, and singing along to the song, interspersed with black-and-white clips from concerts, and color frames of a storyline that follows the song.
"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" became the group's first (and only to date) number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100; it climbed to the top during the two last weeks of 1988 and the first week of 1989. Billboard ranked it as the No. 3 song for 1989.
|Chart (1988–1989)|| Peak|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||38|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||18|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||8|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||12|
|United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company)||13|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||11|
"Look Away" by Chicago
|Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
December 18, 1988 – January 7, 1989
| Succeeded by|
"My Prerogative" by Bobby Brown
The song originally appeared on the album Open Up and Say... Ahh!. It was later included in greatest hits compilations such as Poison's Greatest Hits: 1986–1996, The Best of Poison: 20 Years of Rock or Best of Ballads & Blues.
Live versions of the song appeared on the following albums:
An acoustic version appeared as a bonus track on Poison's 2000 album Crack a Smile... and More!
Bret Michaels re-recorded the song in 2001 for his solo album Ballads, Blues & Stories.
A country version by Bret Michaels appears on
Personnel (Poison Version)
- Bret Michaels - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
- C.C. DeVille - Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
- Rikki Rockett - Drums, Backing Vocals
- Bobby Dall - Bass, Backing Vocals
Uses in media
The song appeared in the films:
- Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey
- Cop Out (2012)
- Fubar II
- Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.
- Hop (2011)
- Run Ronnie Run
The song appeared in one or more episodes of the following TV shows:
- The Simpsons ("It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge")
- Yes, Dear ("Greg's Big Day")
- The O.C. ("The Rager")
- October Road ("The Pros and Cons of Upsetting the Apple Cart").
- One Tree Hill
- Rock of Love with Bret Michaels (several episodes)
An acoustic version of the song was performed by Bret Michaels in the January 29, 2014 episode ("Happy Endings") of Revolution.
The song was made available to download on February 12, 2012 for play in Rock Band 3 Basic and PRO mode utilizing real guitar / bass guitar, and MIDI compatible electronic drum kits/keyboards plus vocal harmonies.
The song appeared in 2009 music game Band Hero.
- "Allmusic (Poison charts and awards) Billboard singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012. Check date values in:
- "Poison chart stats". Chart Stats. Retrieved 2012. Check date values in:
- theGAZZ.com - the Weekly Arts & Entertainment Guide of the Charleston Gazette in Charleston, West Virginia. Retrieved on October 26, 2007 Archived May 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1989
- "Australian-charts.com – Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
- "Musicline.de – Poison Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – Poison search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
- "Charts.org.nz – Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn". Top 40 Singles.
- "Swedishcharts.com – Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn". Singles Top 100.
- "Swisscharts.com – Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn". Swiss Singles Chart.