Bette of Roses

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Bette of Roses
Studio album by Bette Midler
Released July 27, 1995
Recorded 1995
Genre Vocal
Length 50:35
Label Atlantic
Producer Arif Mardin
Marc Mann
Robbie Buchanan
Robbie Kondor
Steve Skinner
Bonnie Hayes
Bette Midler chronology
Gypsy
(1993)
Bette of Roses
(1995)
Bathhouse Betty
(1998)
Singles from Bette of Roses
  1. "To Deserve You"
    Released:
  2. "In This Life"
    Released:
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link
Robert Christgau (dud) link

Bette of Roses is the eighth studio album by the American singer Bette Midler, released on Atlantic Records in 1995. It became Midler's final album for the label, twenty-three years after the release of her debut album The Divine Miss M (Midler was transferred to Atlantic's sister label Warner Bros. Records for her next two albums, then left the Warner group completely in 2002 when she signed with the Sony-owned Columbia Records). The title Bette of Roses is a play on one of the tracks, "Bed of Roses".

Bette of Roses was Midler's first full-length studio album since 1990's Some People's Lives which had been both a critical and commercial success, peaking at #6 on Billboard's album chart, #5 in the UK. In the following years she had released the soundtrack For the Boys, mainly featuring jazz standards, followed by the recording of the classic Broadway musical Gypsy.

Composition[edit]

Bette of Roses marked a change in musical direction as it exclusively included contemporary material composed by songwriters in the soft rock, country and folk genres such as Cheryl Wheeler, Maria McKee, Bonnie Hayes, Marc Jordan, Tonio K, Andy Hill, Pete Sinfield and Roger Cook. "In This Life" had previously been recorded by country singer Collin Raye on his 1992 album of the same name. According to Allmusic's review Midler is said to have personally chosen the track listing from "hundreds and hundreds of songs". Just like Some People's Lives the album was chiefly produced by Arif Mardin, but the arrangements were consequently also more guitar-based and the soundscape altogether more acoustic than synthezised, the songs chosen were mainly midtempo ballads, like "Bottomless", "As Dreams Go By" and "I Believe In You", or country rock influenced tracks, like "I Know This Town" and "The Last Time", and the set as a whole was geared towards the American adult contemporary and adult Top 40 markets rather than the pop or dance charts.

Critical reception and commercial success[edit]

Although Bette of Roses met with generally positive reviews on its release, it proved to be Midler's lowest-charting studio album since 1983's new wave/rock-influenced No Frills, peaking at #45 on Billboard's album chart and #55 in the UK. This resulted in the release of a radically remixed dance version of Maria McKee's country rock ballad "To Deserve You", which more or less only retained the lead vocals and a sample of the spoken line "I would die for you" from the album version, which had been arranged by the composer herself. The original backing track was replaced with a 123 BPM mid-'90s dance production in the style of house music remixers like Shep Pettibone, Frankie Knuckles and Junior Vasquez, although it in fact had been remixed and re-produced by Arif Mardin himself. The promo video was also re-edited and re-released, then using the dance remix instead of the original Bette of Roses recording. In Europe, Australia and New Zealand the remix single was issued to promote Atlantic/Warner Music's expanded re-release of Midler's 1993 hits compilation Experience the Divine: Greatest Hits—on which it was placed as the opening track—instead of the actual Bette of Roses album. Although notably different to Midler's original recording of the song and indeed the whole Bette of Roses album project as such, the dance remix of "To Deserve You" proved to be one of the biggest commercial successes of her musical career as the track became a major dancefloor hit in the US in early 1996, reaching #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Midler can be seen performing two tracks from the Bette of Roses album ("To Comfort You" and "Bed of Roses") in her 1997 Diva Las Vegas concert film.

The Bette of Roses album was certified Platinum by the RIAA in 2001, six years after its original release. It was certified Silver by the BPI (UK) in 2013.[1]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "I Know This Town" (Cheryl Wheeler) - 3:54
  2. "In This Life" (Mike Reid, Allen Shamblin) - 4:11
  3. "Bottomless" (Bonnie Hayes) - 5:18
  4. "To Comfort You" (Ian Thomas) - 4:44
  5. "To Deserve You" (Maria McKee) - 5:16
  6. "The Last Time" (Maria McKee) - 4:52
  7. "Bed Of Roses" (Bonnie Hayes) - 4:12
  8. "The Perfect Kiss" (Scott Tibbs, Marc Jordan) - 3:43
  9. "As Dreams Go By" (Andy Hill, Pete Sinfield) - 5:09
  10. "It's Too Late" (Tonio K, Bob Thiele Jr., Bonnie Hayes) - 4:42
  11. "I Believe In You" (Sam Hogin, Roger Cook) - 4:34

Personnel and production[edit]

Production[edit]

References[edit]