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", "Gotta Face the Hangman"
Released October 12, 1988
Format 7 inch single, CD single, digital download
Recorded Early 1988
Label Capitol
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"
"Fallen Angel"
"Every Rose Has Its Thorn"
"Your Mama Don't Dance"

"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" is the title of a power ballad[1] song 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!. It is the band's only number-one hit in the U.S., reaching the top spot on December 18, 1988, for three weeks (carrying over into 1989) and it also charted at #11 on the Mainstream Rock chart.[2] It was a number 13 hit in the UK.[3] "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".


Musically, the song starts quietly and features two guitar solos, one mellow and one fast. During the writing of the song, Poison had been playing at a cowboy bar called "The Ritz" in Dallas, Texas, accounting for the song's recognizable references to cowboys in the chorus, along with the twang in Bret Michaels' vocals, which give the song a country feel not often heard in power ballads composed by glam metal bands.

Background and writing[edit]

In an interview with VH1's Behind the Music, Michaels said the inspiration for the song came from a night when he was in a laundromat 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.[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video to "Every Rose" was similar to those filmed for other 1980s power ballads. It features Michaels in a cowboy hat and country attire sitting down on a stool playing the guitar and singing along to the song in a dimly lit room with one strobe light, interspersed with various clips from the band's 1988 tour.

Chart performance[edit]

"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" became the group's first (and only to date) number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100; it climbed to the top during the two last weeks of 1988 and the first week of 1989. Billboard ranked it as the No. 3 song for 1989.[5]

Chart (1988–1989) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[6] 16
Germany (Official German Charts)[7] 38
Ireland (IRMA) 8
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[8] 18
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[9] 8
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[10] 20
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[11] 12
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company) 13
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 11

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"Look Away" by Chicago
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
December 18, 1988 – January 7, 1989
Succeeded by
"My Prerogative" by Bobby Brown


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

Personnel (Poison Version)[edit]

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:

An acoustic version of the song was performed by Bret Michaels in the January 29, 2014 episode ("Happy Endings") of Revolution.

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.

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.


External links[edit]