“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” is the title of a power ballad 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 24, 1988, for three weeks (carrying over into 1989) and it also charted at #11 on the Mainstream Rock chart. It was a number 13 hit in the UK. “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.\
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.
The music video to “Every Rose” 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” on the car’s radio. The rest of the video is interspersed with various clips from the band’s 1988 Tour. The video ends with Bret Michaels playing the last of the song on his acoustic guitar and walking away.
“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.