February 27

Harold Reid and The Statler Brother’s “Bed of Rose’s”

“Bed of Rose’s” is a song that Harold Reid wrote. The first to do a recording of this song was The Statler Brothers, an American country music group. Released in October 1970, it was the first single and title track from the album Bed of Rose’s. The song reached its popularity in the winter of 1971. Eventually, it reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart by occupying the 9th spot. On the Billboard Hot 100, it was on #58. Moreover, it was the number 51 track on the Australian Singles Chart (Go-Set). Another cover version of the said tune was Daniel O’Donnell’s. The Irish singer/songwriter covered the song for his 1990 album Daniel O’Donnell – Favourites.

The Statler’s best-known songs are “Flowers on the Wall” and “Bed of Rose’s”. The former was their first major hit that Lew DeWitt penned. The latter was the socially conscious track by the group. In the 1980s, the Statlers were a mainstay on The Nashville Network (TNN). Here the network aired their videos regularly. Also on TNN between 1991 and 1998, they hosted their own show, The Statler Brothers Show. It was a weekly variety show that gave the channel its top-rated program for its entire run. Apart from those, several film soundtracks have featured The Statler’s hits. These movies range from Charlotte’s Web, Smokey and the Bandit II, to Pulp Fiction (“Flowers on the Wall” for this dramedy).

The Story of “Bed of Rose’s”

The song is about a young orphaned man in a small town that perhaps referenced The Statlers’ hometown in Staunton, Virginia. For some reason, the poor orphan becomes avoided by the polite members of the society. Sadly, he was forced to beg on the streets. One day, he met a woman named Rose. This streetwalker who is nearly twice his age takes him in. In the long run, he becomes her lover. The song contrasts the hypocrisy of the nominally Christian townspeople who would “go to church and leave me in the street”. Also, the people were envious of Rose who “managed a late evening business / like most of the town wished they could do”. The care and tender love evolved between the two outcasts.

The song is both a challenge of narrow-minded religion and moralism and a gentle celebration of love, in some ways not unlike the theme of Luke 7:36-50. The title of “Bed of Rose’s” is a play on words (like some of the other Statler Brothers’ tracks). Here “bed of roses”, a common English idiom, means an easy and pleasant life.



bed of rose's, The Statler Brothers

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