Good Year for the Roses
"A Good Year for the Roses" is a ballad written by Jerry Chestnut and originally recorded by American country singer George Jones. It rose to #2 on the country singles chart in 1970.
"A Good Year for the Roses" describes the thoughts of a man as his wife is preparing to leave him, and is as good an example as any of Jones' ability to deliver an intensely moving vocal, in this case one that conveys both the sadness and profound bitterness that comes with a broken marriage. Although recorded while George was with Musicor, the production is reminiscent of the sound Billy Sherrill would employ when Jones moved to Epic Records the following year. Although supported by a choir of background singers and strings on the chorus, Jones' stunning clenched-teeth vocal is the centerpiece throughout, with Chris Woodstra of AllMusic calling it "one of his all-time greatest performances."
The lyric, infused by Jones' nuanced delivery, captures the disillusion of the narrator:
Jones recorded two versions of the song; the second can be heard on the A Good Year for the Roses: The Complete Musicor Recordings 1965-1971. Jones also cut the song with Alan Jackson as a duet in 1994 for the Bradley Barn Sessions, but was disappointed with its reception by country radio, noting in his autobiography, "Alan was white-hot on the radio, and programmers wanted his voice. But some didn't want his if they had to take mine. The vast majority of Alan's other single records have gone to number one. His duet with me was his first not to crack the top 50." It actually peaked at number 57. In June 1995, the song won the Music City News Country Awards "Vocal Collaboration of the Year."
Elvis Costello scored a No. 6 hit in the UK Singles Chart with the song in 1981. Berlin-based band Dangerpony with Laura Bruce and Laurent Lavolé made a cover of the song in 2013. Wizex recorded the song in 1982 on the album Nattfjäril, with Kikki Danielsson on lead vocals. Stefan Sundström wrote lyrics in Swedish as Fläder, and the song was recorded as Apache on the album Babyland in 1997. Mona Haledy wrote other lyrics in Swedish Ännu blommor våra rosor, recorded by among others Stefan Borsch 1982 on the album En liten fågel, and by Lasse Stefanz on the 2010 album Texas.
George Jones version
Elvis Costello version
George Jones and Alan Jackson version