Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bette Midler - "The Rose"

The Rose - The Rose (The Original Soundtrack Recording)

(Debuted March 22, 1980, Peaked #3, 25 Weeks on the Chart)

In 1979, Bette Midler starred in a movie about a superstar whose rapid ascent to fame only fueled her self-destructive tendencies and ended up becoming the victim of an overdose. Though The Rose was a fictional account, the story was loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin but was changed after Joplin's family refused to give their consent. The movie was one of Midler's finest big-screen moments and earned her an Academy Award nomination, but the title song is perhaps better remembered than the movie was...thanks to its second life as a standard Karaoke song by drunk women to sing.

There is a story behind the song that has nothing to do with Midler or the movie. It was written by Amanda Broome in the late 1970s after she heard a line to a Leo Sayer song that stuck with her, and began leading to some other lines. Racing home to write the lines down before she forgot them, she wrote the lyrics down in about 10 minutes from the time she reached her piano. After sitting on the song for a year, she was encouraged to submit it for the producers of the film. Of course, they hated it, as producers do. In a last gasp, the song was given to Midler and she liked it enough to lobby for its inclusion.

That turned out to be a good move. Not only was it the film's centerpice song, it was one of the biggest hits Midler ever had. Not only did it reach #3 on the pop chart, it was also a #1 adult contemporary hit for 5 weeks. In 1983, a version by Conway Twitty that featured a spoken passage to bring out the power of the words went to #1 on the country chart as well.

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