Roses are some of the most famous flowers in the world. This isn’t a new thing. Instead, roses have been potent symbols since ancient times. For instance, they once represented the Greek goddess Aphrodite, so it seems safe to say that their connection with love is far from a modern invention. Regardless, roses remain as popular as ever, thus explaining the numerous songs written about them in one sense or another. Chances are good that interested individuals recognize some of them.
Here are ten of the best songs about roses ever released:
10. “English Rose” – Motorhead
Roses often show up in English symbolism. One example would be using “English rose” to refer to a beautiful Englishwoman. Motorhead came from England. As such, its members undoubtedly knew what they were doing when they wrote the song of the same name. The opportunity to include thorn imagery presumably contributed to their decision.
9. “Last of the English Roses” – Pete Doherty
Of course, “Last of the English Roses” is another song referencing the concept. Its lyrics describe someone quite different from the traditional interpretation. However, the song is a fine reminder that meanings can change because every generation makes these concepts theirs.
8. “Rose of Sharon” – Mumford & Sons
Mumford & Sons isn’t considered a religious band. Even so, it’s clear that it took considerable musical inspiration from the Christian faith. “Rose of Sharon” is a title from the Song of Songs. It isn’t 100 percent clear what it is supposed to be. Candidates include but aren’t limited to lilies, tulips, and crocuses. Regardless, the Rose of Sharon is a symbol of love, beauty, and divine grace. As the story goes, Marcus Mumford took partial inspiration for this song from the experience of being at his grandmother’s deathbed.
7. “A Rose By Any Name” – Blondie
Moving on, “A Rose By Any Name” comes from Shakespeare. Specifically, it is based on a line from Romeo and Juliet expressing that a person retains their excellence regardless of their name. Juliet had ulterior motives for holding that position. Still, she has a point. Blondie’s keyboardist, Matt Katz-Bohen, and his wife, Laurel, wrote “A Rose By Any Name” as a statement of love for their child, even though they had chosen to refrain from finding out their child’s gender before birth. Since its release, the song has become popular with various communities that connect with its message.
6. “Run For the Roses” – Dan Fogelberg
“Run For the Roses” is a horse racing song. Its name makes more sense when one learns that the winner of the Kentucky Derby receives a wreath made out of roses. Besides this, some interpret the song as being about realizing one’s potential by coming of age.
5. “Yellow Roses” – Dolly Parton
Generally, yellow roses mean friendship rather than romantic love. Still, interested individuals should know it can have darker meanings depending on the time and place. For instance, the Victorians interpreted it as jealousy, which seems meaningful considering the song’s context. For those curious, the narrator of “Yellow Roses” is reminiscing about an ex who used to give her the titular flowers. Their relationship has been over for a long time. Despite that, the wounds are fresh, as shown by how she still thinks of him every time she sees the titular flowers. The narrator is too sweet-natured to express much darkness blatantly. However, interested individuals can interpret her wondering whether her ex is giving her yellow roses to his new love as a clear sign of jealousy.
4. “A Rose Is Still a Rose” – Aretha Franklin
“A Rose Is Still a Rose” was the title track of Aretha Franklin’s 1998 album. The narrator takes the role of an older individual advising a younger woman who has just been through a bad relationship. Essentially, the song’s name expresses the idea that she is still someone of worth despite her experiences. As such, “A Rose Is Still a Rose” conveys self-love and self-empowerment. A message that remains relevant in modern times.
3. “Desert Rose” – Sting
Rose refers to hundreds of species. Unsurprisingly, some do well in dry, arid environments, meaning interested individuals can grow roses in desert environments if they want to. Indeed, there are even roses native to such regions. It isn’t hard to guess what emotions Sting was thinking of when he and Cheb Mami wrote “Desert Rose.” The more interesting question is the relationship behind these emotions. One popular theory is that Sting was thinking of Paul Atreides and Chani from the Dune series. The speculation isn’t as absurd as it might sound. After all, Sting played Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in the 1984 movie. Paul Atreides and Chani would also fit the song’s motifs, but to be fair, none of those suggest it is specifically about them rather than some other loving couple separated by circumstances beyond their control.
2. “Kiss From a Rose” – Seal
“Kiss From a Rose” is one of the most famous songs of the 1990s. It is a chart-topper that has sold more than two million copies. Amusingly, “Kiss From a Rose” also has a connection to speculative fiction. It was featured in The Neverending Story III. Later, it showed up on the Batman Forever soundtrack. Those curious should know that was the movie with Val Kilmer starring as the titular superhero.
1. “La Vie En Rose” – Edith Piaf
Edith Piaf was a Frenchwoman who went from less than glamorous beginnings to becoming one of the most glorious French performers of the 20th century. Strictly speaking, the song’s name refers to the color rather than the flower. Still, the meanings are close enough to count. The song is about seeing the world from an optimistic point of view. Something that presumably had extra appeal for post-war listeners who had just gone through the horrors of World War Two. Piaf isn’t the only one to have performed “La Vie En Rose.” Even so, she is the one whose version has been immortalized.
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