Country music singer Conway Twitty performed “The Rose” just months before he passed away, and this legendary performance still captivates his fans around the world.
When Conway Twitty suddenly died in 1993 at the age of fifty-nine, the entire country music world was mourning. He started feeling ill when he performed in Missouri and was in a lot of pain while on his tour bus, on his way to Nashville. Twitty then collapsed and was rushed to the hospital for surgery that he would sadly not wake up from. He died the next day due to an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Little did anyone know, but his performance of “The Rose” would be the very last time we’ll see him singing on stage.
When “The Rose” Bloomed
Written by Amanda McBroom, “The Rose” was originally recorded by Bette Midler for the soundtrack of the 1979 film of the same title in which it played under the closing credits. But despite being featured in the film, the song was not written for the movie.
“I wrote it in 1977 [or] 1978, and I sang it occasionally in clubs. … Jim Nabors had a local talk show, and I sang [“The Rose”] on his show once,” McBroom recalled. According to the singer-songwriter, she wrote “The Rose” in response to her manager’s suggestion that she write “some Bob Seger-type tunes” to speed up a record deal. And she did it within forty-five minutes.
“‘The Rose’ is … just one verse [musically] repeated three times. When I finished it, I realized it doesn’t have a bridge or a hook, but I couldn’t think of anything to [add],” McBroom said.
Midler’s version of “The Rose” hit No. 1 on the Cashbox Top 100 and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In addition to that, it was No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for five weeks running. Midler earned a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “The Rose,” too, beating out tough competition from Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer, among others.
“The Rose” Becoming Another No. 1 Hit For Conway Twitty
In 1983, “The Rose” was reinterpreted by the legendary Conway Twitty off his album Dream Maker and ended up being his 30th No. 1 single. Twitty’s version started with him sing-talking the first verse, and his signature growl came out a time or two throughout the song.
“When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long, and you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong. Just remember, in the winter far beneath the bitter snows lies the seed, that with the sun’s love. In the spring, becomes the rose,” Twitty sings.
You can watch his incredible performance in the video below. It made us weep, knowing what we know now about how special this performance is – so get your tissues ready.