Music Friday Flashback: Lynn Anderson Nearly Let ‘Rose Garden’ Slip Away Because of the Diamond Ring Reference in the Lyrics

It’s a little known fact that country music singer Lynn Anderson was nearly dissuaded from recording her signature song, “Rose Garden,” in 1970 because of the diamond ring reference in the lyrics.

rosegarden1

Although Anderson really liked the tune penned by Joe South, her producer (and husband) Glenn Sutton felt it was a “man’s song” because of the following line: “I could promise you things like big diamond rings / But you don’t find roses growin’ on stalks of clover / So you better think it over.”

As luck would have it, Anderson had some extra time left in one of her studio sessions and Sutton finally agreed to record the song with an up-tempo arrangement accompanied by a mandolin player and a full string section. Columbia executive Clive Davis was so impressed with the results that he insisted the song be released as a single for the country and pop markets.

The song not only topped the U.S. Billboard Country chart, but it also reached #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and became a major pop hit internationally. It went to #1 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and Norway. “Rose Garden” is considered one of the most successful country crossover songs of all time.

Anderson told the Associated Press in 1987 that “Rose Garden” was perfectly timed to appeal to the youth of 1970.

“It was popular because it touched on emotions,” Anderson said. “It was out just as we came out of the Vietnam years and a lot of people were trying to recover. This song stated that you can make something out of nothing. You take it and go ahead.”

The song’s key line, “I never promised you a rose garden,” essentially means “I never told you it was going to be easy.”

“Rose Garden” netted Anderson a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1971, while South picked up two Grammy nominations, one for “Best Country Song” and the other for “Song of the Year.”

Born in Grand Forks, N.D., Lynn Rene Anderson generated crossover hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and continued to tour until her death in July 2015 at the age of 67.

Singer Dolly Parton said at the time, “Lynn is blooming in God’s Rose Garden now. We will miss her and remember her fondly.”

Check out the video of Anderson performing “Rose Garden” for a German TV show. The video, which features some unusual dance moves by the studio audience, has been viewed more than 1.6 million times. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along. Enjoy!

“Rose Garden”
Written by Joe South. Performed by Lynn Anderson.

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine
There’s gotta be a little rain some time
When you take you gotta give so live and let live
Or let go oh-whoa-whoa-whoa
I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden

I could promise you things like big diamond rings
But you don’t find roses growin’ on stalks of clover
So you better think it over
Well if sweet-talkin’ you could make it come true
I would give you the world right now on a silver platter
But what would it matter
So smile for a while and let’s be jolly
Love shouldn’t be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine
There’s gotta be a little rain some time

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden

I could sing you a tune and promise you the moon
But if that’s what it takes to hold you
I’d just as soon let you go
But there’s one thing I want you to know
You better look before you leap, still waters run deep
And there won’t always be someone there to pull you out
And you know what I’m talkin’ about
So smile for a while and let’s be jolly
Love shouldn’t be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine
There’s gotta be a little rain some time,
I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden

Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.

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