Rose Garden (Lynn Anderson song)

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"Rose Garden"
Single by Lynn Anderson
from the album Rose Garden
B-side "Nothing Between Us"
Released October 1970
Format 45 rpm, 12" 45 rpm
Recorded 1970
Genre Country, country pop
Length 2:55
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Joe South
Producer(s) Glenn Sutton
Certification Gold (RIAA)[1]
Lynn Anderson singles chronology
"No Love at All"
"Rose Garden"
"You're My Man"

"Rose Garden" (also known and covered as "(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden") is a song written by Joe South, best known as recorded by country music singer Lynn Anderson. Her October 1970 release topped the U.S. Billboard country chart for five weeks, reached No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop chart and hit number one on both Cash Box '​s and Record World '​s pop and country singles charts. The song was also a major pop hit internationally, topping the charts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Norway and reaching the top three in the UK and South Africa.

Anderson's version of "Rose Garden" remains one of the most successful country crossover recordings of all-time.

Lynn Anderson version[edit]

The Lynn Anderson single was her third release for Columbia Records in 1970, after several years of recording for Chart Records. The single proved to be the first crossover record of her career.

"Rose Garden" was originally an album cut by the song's writer, Joe South, in 1969. Several other male vocalists recorded it on albums including Freddy Weller Billy Joe Royal and Dobie Gray and Third Avenue Blues Band°[2] but it was never a hit until Anderson's version. A recording by the girl group The Three Degrees, best known for their 1974 hit "When Will I See You Again", also pre-dated Lynn Anderson's hit version.

Anderson wanted to record the song but her producer (and husband) Glenn Sutton felt it was a "man's song", in part because of the line "I could promise you things like big diamond rings". According to Anderson, Sutton agreed to record the song as a potential album cut when there was time left during one of her scheduled recording sessions. After arranging a more up-tempo, light-hearted melody, Sutton and the studio musicians were impressed with the results. Columbia Records' executive Clive Davis was equally impressed and insisted the song be released as a single in both the country and pop markets. Shortly after its breakthrough on American Top 40 radio, the song became an international hit. A cover version released by Sandie Shaw in UK ultimately failed to chart, as Anderson's version quickly became a major success there.

Several artists recorded cover versions of "Rose Garden" on their albums following the success of Anderson's version, including Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells, Dottie West, Carol Burnett, Jim Nabors, Glen Campbell, Andy Williams, Ray Conniff, Percy Faith, Ralna English, Norma Jean, Dinah Shore, New World, and others.

The song became Anderson's signature tune and one of the biggest hits of the 1970s, in any genre of music.[citation needed] Anderson won a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1971, and Joe South earned two Grammy nominations: "Best Country Song" and "Song of the Year" in the pop field.

Lynn said, "I believe that 'Rose Garden' was released at just the right time. People were trying to recover from the Vietnam years. The message in the song — that if you just take hold of life and go ahead, you can make something out of nothing — people just took to that."[3]

After her Columbia heyday, Lynn Anderson recorded new performances of the song several times for post-1982 albums, including a bluegrass version that was featured in her 2004 comeback album The Bluegrass Sessions. This album earned Anderson her first Grammy nomination in over 30 years.

The song's chorus, from Anderson's original version, was sampled by the pop/dance group Kon Kan in their similarly titled song "I Beg Your Pardon", released in 1988. This track proved to be one of the biggest dance club hits of the late 1980s and went on to reach the top 15 of the Hot 100. Additionally, the song's chorus has also been sampled in Canadian hip-hop artist Shad's song of the same name, released on his critically acclaimed 2010 album, TSOL.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1970–1971) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 3
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 5
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 1
U.K. Singles Chart 3
Finland 1
Norway 1
Australia 1
Swiss 1
Netherlands 2
Austria 4
New Zealand 1

k.d. lang and the Reclines version[edit]

Canadian country pop group k.d. lang and the Reclines covered the song for their 1987 album Angel with a Lariat. The single was Lang's first release in the United States but failed to chart.

Chart (1987) Peak
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary 7
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 45

Martina McBride version[edit]

"(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden"
Single by Martina McBride
from the album Timeless
Released August 1, 2005
Recorded 2005
Genre Country
Length 03:15
Label RCA Nashville
Writer(s) Joe South
Producer(s) Martina McBride
Martina McBride singles chronology
"God's Will"
"(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden"
"I Still Miss Someone"

In 2005, Martina McBride included the song on her album of covers, Timeless. This album featured classic country songs from over the years, including "Rose Garden". The song was released as a single, peaking at 18 on the country singles charts.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2005) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[4] 18
US Billboard Hot 100[5] 98

Other versions[edit]

Punk rock band The Suicide Machines recorded a cover of the song on their self-titled LP (2000). The song is the last track of the album.

American rock band Southern Culture on the Skids performed a cover of the song on their 2007 album Countrypolitan Favorites, where the song is sung Mary Huff.

Language versions

Spanish band Duncan Dhu released a pop version in Spanish, called "Jardín de rosas" (1986).

Portuguese popular musician and singer Marante also recorded a cover sung in Portuguese.[citation needed]


Canadian rapper Shad sampled parts (The Three Degrees / Maybe LP) of the song and its lyrics in his 2011 single, "Rose Garden". The song was nominated for a MuchMusic Video Award that same year.

Canadian techno-pop band Kon Kan sampled parts of the song and its lyrics in his 1989 single "I Beg Your Pardon". The song peaked #15 in the Billboard Hot 100, #3 in the Netherlands, #8 in Germany and #5 in the UK Singles Chart.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Coal Miner's Daughter" by Loretta Lynn
Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
(Lynn Anderson version)

December 26, 1970-January 23, 1971
Succeeded by
"Flesh and Blood" by Johnny Cash
Preceded by
"Old Bill Jones" by Mercey Brothers
RPM Country Tracks number-one single
(Lynn Anderson version)

January 16, 1971
Preceded by
"Flesh and Blood" by Johnny Cash
RPM Country Tracks number-one single
(Lynn Anderson version)

February 20, 1971
Succeeded by
"Sing High, Sing Low" by Anne Murray
Preceded by
"Knock Three Times" by Dawn
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
(Lynn Anderson version)

April 5–26, 1971
Succeeded by
"Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin
Preceded by
"What Is Life" by George Harrison
Swiss Music Charts number-one single
(Lynn Anderson version)

April 13 - May 25, 1971
Succeeded by
"Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones
Preceded by
"My Sweet Lord"/"Isn't It a Pity" by George Harrison
Norwegian VG-lista number-one single
(Lynn Anderson version)

15/1971 - 28/1971 (14 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" by Middle of the Road