Songs with the word “Rose” in the title do not only refer to the flower; they are also just as likely to refer to someone whose name is Rose.
For a long time, the rose has been a symbol denoting love and strong emotions. It has a certain beauty and fragrance, which is why it has been a favorite of songwriters to create an image. It can be used symbolically in many ways, as we shall see. And it is not always used positively.
Roses, despite their beauty, also have thorns, and they can hurt if not handled carefully. A bit like a relationship in some ways. So, let’s take a look at what songwriters have created using rose in the title of a song, starting with…
- Top 13 Songs with the Word “Rose” in the Title
- Desert Rose by Sting
- La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf
- Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison
- English Rose by Motorhead
- A Rose By Any Name by Blondie
- Days of Wine and Roses by Andy Williams
- Red Roses for a Blue Lady by Andy Williams
- The Rose of Tralee by Jim McCann
- Black Rose by Thin Lizzy
- Rosalie by Thin Lizzy
- I’ll Pick a Rose for My Rose by Marv Johnson
- Songs with the Word “Rose” in the Title – Honorable Mentions
- Looking for More Greats Songs About Nature?
- Songs with the Word “Rose” in the Title – Final Thoughts
Top 13 Songs with the Word “Rose” in the Title
Desert Rose by Sting
The song “Desert Rose” was one of the standout tracks from an otherwise rather innocuous album by his standards, Brand New Day.
“Desert Rose” reached #15 in the UK chart and #17 in America. Sting commented on the song that it deals with reaching out to find a lost love. It is notable because the song includes a duet with singer Mami from Algeria. You may notice a slight North African feel to the song.
La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf
Edith Piaf was one of those singers that only come into our consciousness very rarely. Her music was loved in France, where she was treated as a national hero at the end of the Second World War.
She was much loved by the French and others in Europe because much of her work was autobiographical. She had no problem wearing her heart on her sleeve. “La Vie en Rose” or “Life in Pink” in French, was one of her biggest hits along with “Non, Je ne regrette rien.”
Her real name was Edith Gassion, but because of her height of only 4 feet 10 inches, she was nicknamed “little sparrow” or “Piaf.” She died far too young, at age 47.
A classic song that was written in 1945…
It took its name from a club in Paris where she used to perform. It became synonymous with the joy the French people experienced at the end of the war. A bit like Vera Lynn’s song “We’ll Meet Again” in the UK.
The song was also the title of the film made of her life after her death. There have been many covers of the song. Bing Crosby and Marlene Dietrich did a creditable version in 1950.
Others by Bette Midler, Grace Jones, and Lady Gaga seem to miss the point of the song and are not worth any more comments. A powerful song from a powerful singer and entertainer.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison
This well-known song with rose in the title was released in 1988 and was taken from their album, Open Up And Say…Ahh! The single reached #13 in the UK and #1 in America. It is a heavyweight power ballad with everything you might expect.
Poison was described as a “Glam Metal” band. Although, to be honest, those two terms contradict each other. I think we can just call them a Glam Rock band.
This song is well-crafted and based on a bad experience that joint-songwriter Brett Michaels had. As we said in the introduction, roses are beautiful, but they have thorns.
That is why they are often used symbolically to describe relationships. It can be great but clutch the thorns, and it will not be pleasant. Such is the experience of some relationships.
If you like your power ballads loud and with plenty of overdriven guitars, then you will like this.
English Rose by Motorhead
While we have the volume turned up, let’s go to one of the greatest Heavy Metal bands. These guys were not afraid to hit you square between the eyes with their music, and they made no apologies. However, this is not one of their better-known tracks. It was taken from the album, Motörizer.
It sounds from the title like it could be a song from any of the crooners from the 50s. But, if you think that you are in for a shock. This is a big song from what I think was one of the most underrated bands of their generation. And Lemmy, a bass player who could mix it with the best rock bass players.
This is a song about a girl named Rose, who is known for her “bad and very rock and roll attitude.” It has all the attributes you would expect from a band that created some memorable rock/blues tracks.
A Rose By Any Name by Blondie
Before you start to worry why you cannot remember which song that phrase came from, it didn’t. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a line from William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet.”
Released in 2013…
This is a comparatively late track from the career of Debbie Harry and Blondie. They originally came out of a kind of “Pseudo-Punk” scene in New York in the late 70s. Their first song to make any impact in Europe was “Denis,” which went to #2 in the UK.
“A Rose by Any Name” is taken from the album, Ghosts Of Download, which was released as a digital download only. The song was written by keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen and his wife, Laurel.
The song is about being accepted, which is basically what Juliet is referring to in Shakespeare’s play. That whatever name you give to someone, they are still the same and should be judged on their actions.
Days of Wine and Roses by Andy Williams
In some respects, Andy Williams is a singer that seems to go under the radar a bit. Yes, he was quite well-known, had a TV show, and had some hit records.
But, he was never spoken about in the same way as people did about others like Tony Bennett or Dean Martin.
Yet, Williams was an excellent singer…
He needed a follow-up to the song that many still associate with him, “Moon River.” The film, “Days of Wine and Roses,” came out in 1962, and Williams released the lead song as a B-side. It was written by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini.
Williams’ version was paired with “Can’t Get Used to Losing You.” That pairing reached #1 in America and prompted the release of an album. The album also included tracks selected from the TV show that he now had.
It was a song that firmly identified him as one of the most popular singers of his day. And, though this could be said to be the highlight of his commercial appeal, it laid the foundations for what came after.
Red Roses for a Blue Lady by Andy Williams
One of his tracks that followed is another for this list of songs with the word “rose” in the title. This was taken from his album, Dear Heart, from 1965. It was written by Roy Bennett and Sid Tepper.
It wasn’t a new song…
Originally, it was composed in 1948 and was first released in 1949 by John Laurenz. The song is easy to get from the title. A man has had a disagreement with his lady and, to cheer her up, is going to buy her some red roses.
Another use for a red rose. There are many songs that use the word rose as an expression of love and appreciation. Here it is used as an apology as well.
So far, the selections have been quite random, but I do like to try and link a few songs if possible. Let’s do that with the next three songs.
The Rose of Tralee by Jim McCann
This is an Irish love song that has been covered by many people in many styles. This version was taken from his album, Grace, released in 1996. McCann had been a member of The Dubliners from 1974 to 1979 and left to pursue a solo career.
There are some conflicting stories about the origins of the song. Some say it was about a 19th Century woman named Mary who was called the Rose of Tralee because of her beauty.
Others say that it was written by William Pembroke Mulchinock, a protestant, about his love for a poor Catholic servant girl, Mary O’Connor. She was in service to his wealthy family. Whatever its origins, it is a moving love song dedicated to someone.
Black Rose by Thin Lizzy
Staying with an Irish theme, this album was released in 1979, and some consider it the best studio album that the Irish Rock band made. It was an interesting album in that this was Gary Moore’s third stint with the band. This time, he stayed long enough to record an album.
It turned out to be the most successful album reaching number 2 in the UK and 81 in America. The final track, “Róisín Dubh (Black Rose): A Rock Legend,” was a combination of traditional Irish songs.
One might think…
The Irish critics would appreciate Phil Lynott’s attempts to keep Thin Lizzy in touch with their Irish roots. Not a bit of it. In some quarters, they were criticized for painting a rosy, peaceful image of Ireland.
The problems between Protestants and Catholics and unification had started ten years before and were now at their height. Lynott was accused of being out of touch with the “real” Ireland.
Nevertheless, what comes across from the album to an impartial observer is the talent that was the band. And, of course, their pride in being Irish in the first place.
Rosalie by Thin Lizzy
And so, to continue the theme. We have moved from an Irish folk song to an Irish band keeping in touch with their roots. Finally, we go to the same band in full flow.
The name “Rosalie” is French and means Rose. Can I get away with that? Why not? It was a very popular name in the 1930s.
Was there anyone at the time better live than “Lizzy”? Not a chance. They blew all others away with their power and presence. And, of course, more Marshall stacks than I have ever seen in one place at one time.
I have included this track from the Live & Dangerous album. If you haven’t heard it from start to finish, then you haven’t heard Rock music at its very best.
They seemed to peak in 1976 when most of this album was recorded. A lot of what you hear was used from the concert in Wembley, West London, which I was fortunate enough to be at.
I’ll Pick a Rose for My Rose by Marv Johnson
This was a popular song with rose in the title from the album of the same name, released in 1969. He had been around since the late 50s when he did see some success. Marv was known as much as a songwriter as he was a performer. He had a big hit with “You’ve Got What It Takes.”
That reached #7 in the UK and #10 in America. His was a strange career. Despite working on the first single Tamla Motown released, he was more popular overseas.
Especially in the UK…
That applied to “I’ll Pick A Rose For My Rose,” which seemed to strike a chord in the UK, where it reached #10.
It failed to chart anywhere else, even in America, and was his last single release in America. There were a couple of singles released in the UK, but without commercial support, they failed.
It is a simple enough story. A man is walking around his garden, waiting for the return of his girl. He picks a rose for her because he believes she knows he still loves her.
Songs with the Word “Rose” in the Title – Honorable Mentions
Before we move to the last two songs, I am running out of space. So, I am going to include a couple of notable mentions.
- “A Rose Is Still a Rose” by Aretha Franklin.
- “Rose Of Cimarron” by Poco.
- “Rose Garden” by Lynn Anderson.
- “For The Roses” by Joni Mitchell.
And so, on to the final two songs about roses that are separated by fifteen years.
Ramblin’ Rose by Nat King Cole
This is Nat King Cole at his crooning best. The song was written by the Sherman brothers and released in 1962. It reached #5 in the UK and #2 in America. It was taken from his album of the same name, Ramblin’ Rose.
It’s been a popular song for others with many cover versions, mostly Country artists. It draws an analogy of a rose that is wild and rambling. It won’t stay in one place. He wonders if she will ever settle down and stop her rambling to be with him.
Love Is a Rose by Linda Ronstadt
Let’s finish with one of the great female singers of the 70s and 80s. Ronstadt could indeed sing anything, and sing it well. Even light operatic. She even had The Eagles as her backing band at one time.
Linda is often described as a Country singer. But, she had much more than that, as you can hear in “Tumbling Dice,” giving us some good old rock music, or the delicate ballad “Long Long Time.”
“Love is a Rose” was taken from her album, Prisoner in Disguise. The song was written and originally recorded by Neil Young. Her version reached #63 on the American chart.
Very clever use of imagery by Neil Young in the lyrics…
He talks about how a rose is a beautiful thing but only grows “on the vine.” Try to clutch it and make it yours, and you might get the thorns. And then he says, “Lose your love when you say the word mine.”
Very true. A great song, a great performance, and a fitting way to finish.
Looking for More Greats Songs About Nature?
Well, take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs about Flowers, the Top Songs About Wolves, the Top Songs About Snow, the Best Songs About Fire, and the Top Songs About the Sea for more great song selections.
Of course, you need to hear them. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Bass Earbuds, the Best iPhone Earbuds, the Best Earbuds for Running, and the Best Cheap Earbuds Under $100 you can buy in 2023.
Songs with the Word “Rose” in the Title – Final Thoughts
Love can be a rose. But, as we can see, it can also be so many other things. It can be used to describe longing, love, or even missing someone. Songwriters have made the most of the imagery of the beauty of the rose, as we can see from this list.
Until next time, happy listening.