Poison: Every Rose Has Its Thorn

“Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, a song from Poison’s album Open Up and Say… Ahh! (1988)

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Buckle up, music lovers, because we’re taking a wild ride back to the glory days of hair bands and power ballads! Picture this: the year is 1988 and Poison is on top of the world with their album Open Up and Say… Ahh!. And what’s the cherry on top? Their hit song “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” snags the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100!

Now, let’s talk about the music video. Oh boy, did it show off some serious masculinity! Sure, the guys got some flak for their over-the-top makeup, but who cares when you’re rocking catchy hooks and belting out fun tunes? And let’s not forget the power ballads that always had fans reaching for their lighters.

The ’80s were a non-stop party, but let’s be real, music fans weren’t just in it for the good times. We wanted to feel something deeper, something that spoke to our souls. That’s why power ballads were so darn popular! They allowed us to show off our sensitive side while still headbanging like nobody’s business.

And if there’s one band that knew how to give fans what they wanted, it was Poison. With their perfect formula of fun songs and tear-jerking ballads, they truly had it all. But it’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” that remains their eternal masterpiece, the quintessential power ballad of the ’80s hair band era.

So, let’s raise our lighters and sing it loud and clear, folks. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” is the anthem of an era and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

We both lie silently still
In the dead of the night
Although we both lie close together
We feel miles apart inside

Was it something I said or something I did
Did the words not come out right
Though I tried not to hurt you
Though I tried
But I guess that's why they say

Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn
Yeah it does

I listen to our favorite song
Playing on the radio
Hear the DJ say loves a game
Of easy come and easy go

But I wonder does he know
Has he ever felt like this
And I know that you'd be here right now
If I could have let you know somehow
I guess

Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn
Yeah it does

Though it's been a while now
I can still feel so much pain
Like a knife that cuts you the wound heals
But the scar, that scar remains

I know I could have saved a love that night
If I'd known what to say
Instead of makin' love
We both made our separate ways

But now I hear you found somebody new
And that I never meant that much to you
To hear that tears me up inside
And to see you cuts me like a knife
I guess

Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn
Yeah it does

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Story Behind the Song

It all started when the band was on tour promoting their first album, Look What the Cat Dragged In (1986). One fateful night, after a show at The Ritz in Dallas, Texas, lead singer Bret Michaels found himself missing his long-distance girlfriend, Tracy Lewis. So, he gave her a call. But things didn’t sound quite right on the other end of the line. Suddenly, a faint whisper of a male voice could be heard in the background.

“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.” says Bret Michaels.

Feeling confused and upset, Bret headed to the hotel laundry room to wash some clothes. And of course, he brought his trusty guitar along with him. As he waited for the washing machine to do its thing, he started composing what would become one of the greatest power ballads of all time.

“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.”

Bret Michaels came up with the title “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” for the song, and he clarifies its significance by recounting his own experience. He explains that he was touring and playing music for a living, which he sees as the “rose” in his life. However, he also had a long-distance girlfriend who was an exotic dancer in LA, and he believed that she would never cheat on him. But he later found out that she was unfaithful to him, which he considers to be the “thorn” in his life.

Everyone’s got their own story to tell. Bret Michaels’ ex-girlfriend, Tracy Lewis, shared her side of the story in a VH1 Behind the Music special on Poison. However, her version of events differs from Bret’s.

Lewis confirms that infidelity was a factor in their relationship, stating unequivocally on camera that “there were two people in the relationship and somebody cheated and it wasn’t me.” She then challenges viewers to “do the math,” leaving little room for doubt. 

Despite the obvious hurt caused by the betrayal, Lewis recalls how she was blindsided by the song’s release. She only learned that her story had been laid bare on Poison’s 1988 album, Open Up and Say… Ahh!, after hearing “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” for the first time. For Lewis, the public scrutiny that came with the song’s success made it hard to move on from their heartbreak.

And what about the mysterious male voice on the other end of the phone? Bret claimed that he knew who it was, but he never revealed the name. Could it have been one of rock star? We may never know for sure.

When Poison was making their album Open Up and Say… Ahh!, their label, Capitol, had a idea in mind. They wanted to put the band in a “party bands” circle, which led to the release of their party anthems “Nothin’ But A Good Time” and “Fallen Angel” as their singles. However, when it came to the third single, Bret Michaels, the lead singer, had a different idea.

Despite the label’s hesitation, Bret insisted that “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” should be the next single, even though they were worried it would end their career. 

“When we played Every Rose… for our label and management they told us it would end our career,” says Bret 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’.”

Bret was proven right when “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” became Poison’s first and only No. 1 song. “And here’s one reason that I love my band: the rest of the guys stood up for me, and we got Every Rose… released. We made a great video and the song took off.” Bret said. And despite its sad theme, the song has become a beloved ballad that continues to resonate with fans today.

So there you have it, folks. The story behind “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” is one of heartbreak, temptation, and the difficult choices we all have to make in life. But one thing’s for sure – it’s a power ballad that will continue to touch our hearts for years to come.

Poison: Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Poison: Every Rose Has Its Thorn

  • B-side – “Livin for the Minute” (US) / “Back to the Rocking Horse” (UK)
  • Released – 12 October 1988
  • Recorded – Early 1988
  • Length – 4:20
  • Label- Capitol
  • Songwriters – Bret Michaels/C.C. DeVille/Bobby Dall/Rikki Rockett
  • Producer – Tom Werman

Ref: loudersound.com

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