Every Rose Has Its Thorn

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"Every Rose Has Its Thorn"
Every Rose Has Its Thorn-Cover.jpg
Single by Poison
from the album Open Up and Say... Ahh!
B-side"Livin for the Minute (US)
Back To The Rocking Horse (UK)"
ReleasedOctober 12, 1988
Format7 inch single, CD single, digital download
RecordedEarly 1988
Songwriter(s)Bret Michaels, C.C. DeVille, Bobby Dall, Rikki Rockett
Producer(s)Tom Werman
Poison singles chronology
"Fallen Angel"
"Every Rose Has Its Thorn"
"Your Mama Don't Dance"

"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" is a power ballad[3] by American glam metal band Poison. It was released in October 1988 as the third single from Poison's second album Open Up and Say... Ahh!. The band's signature song, it is also their only number-one hit in the U.S., reaching the top spot on December 24, 1988, for three weeks (carrying over into 1989) and it also charted at #11 on the Mainstream Rock chart. [4] It was a number 13 hit in the UK.[5] "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" was named number 34 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s", #100 on their "100 Greatest Love Songs" and #7 on MTV and VH1 "Top 25 Power Ballads".

Background and writing[edit]

In an interview with VH1's Behind the Music, Bret Michaels said the inspiration for the song came from a night when he was in a laundromat in Dallas waiting for his clothes to dry, and called his girlfriend on a pay phone. Michaels said he heard a male voice in the background and was devastated; he said he went into the laundromat and wrote "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" as a result.[6]

Music video[edit]

The music video to "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" was directed by Marty Callner. It starts out with a forlorn Bret Michaels in bed with a young woman, they both look unhappy. He gets up, does the heavy sigh that is at the start of the song and walks away to play the acoustic guitar, the video then goes into video clips of the band's tour. The same young woman is seen driving a Thunderbird in the rain (two different times), listening to "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" on the car's radio. The video was shot at the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and in an empty warehouse nearby.[7] The video ends with Bret Michaels playing the last of the song on his acoustic guitar and walking away.

Chart performance[edit]

"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" became the group's only number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100; it climbed to the top during the last two weeks of 1988 and the first week of 1989. Billboard ranked it as the No. 3 song for 1989.


The song originally appeared on the album Open Up and Say... Ahh!. It was later included in greatest hits compilations such as Poison's Greatest Hits: 1986–1996, The Best of Poison: 20 Years of Rock or Best of Ballads & Blues.

Live versions of the song appeared on the following albums:

An acoustic version appeared as a bonus track on Poison's 2000 album Crack a Smile... and More!

Bret Michaels re-recorded the song in 2001 for his solo album Ballads, Blues & Stories.

A country version by Bret Michaels appears on


Additional personnel[edit]

Uses in media[edit]

The song appeared in the films:

The song appeared in one or more episodes of the following TV shows:

The song was made available to download on February 12, 2012 for play in Rock Band 3 Basic and PRO mode utilizing real guitar / bass guitar, and MIDI compatible electronic drum kits/keyboards plus vocal harmonies. The song appeared in 2009 music game Band Hero.

Cover versions[edit]

  • American recording artist Miley Cyrus recorded a version of the song for her 2010 album Can't Be Tamed.
  • In early 2013, composer Bret Michaels recorded yet another version. This time, it was as a duet with the country music singer Loretta Lynn and can be found on his album Jammin' with Friends. He performed an acoustic version in the episode "Happy Endings" of TV series Revolution.


  1. ^ Harrison, Thomas (2011). Music of the 1980s. ABC-CLIO. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-31336-600-0.
  2. ^ "Readers' Poll: The 10 Greatest Hair Metal Songs". Rolling Stone. February 5, 2014. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  3. ^ "The 21 best power ballads". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Allmusic (Poison charts and awards) Billboard singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Poison The Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  6. ^ theGAZZ.com – the Weekly Arts & Entertainment Guide of the Charleston Gazette in Charleston, West Virginia. Retrieved on October 26, 2007 Archived May 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/entertainment/music/2019/02/08/bret-michaels-play-brown-county-arenas-final-concert-before-demolition/2803660002/
  8. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  9. ^ Top Singles - January 23, 1989, p.6 RPM Magazine
  10. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Poison" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  11. ^ "Charts.nz – Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn". Top 40 Singles.
  12. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn". Singles Top 100.
  13. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn". Swiss Singles Chart.
  14. ^ "Poison Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  15. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  16. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – 1989". ARIA, via Imgur.com. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  17. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 51, No. 8, December 23, 1989". RPM. December 23, 1999. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  18. ^ "1989 The Year in Music: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. 101 (51): Y-22. December 23, 1989.
  19. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1989".
  20. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.

External links[edit]