Written by Amanda McBroom
Radio & Records
#1 (2 weeks)
February 25 – March 4, 1983
#1 (1 week)
March 12, 1983
A few years before Bette Midler took a country hit to the top of the pop chart, Conway Twitty took a Better Midler pop hit to the top of the country chart.
Twitty was struggling with “The Rose” in the studio until he tried doing the opening two lines in spoken word. It was an inspired moment that elevates the record, and unsurprisingly, Twitty sings the hell out of the rest of it.
It’s a truly great song, too, without an ounce of sappiness. That is so difficult to pull off with a romantic song. Give Conway Twitty a strong romantic lyric and success is inevitable.
This is one of his most nuanced and mature performances. He leans into his deeper register, and you can hear how his voice has begun to age. It lends the performance a gravitas that few of his peers could have delivered.
Again, credit to Jimmy Bowen for understanding how to produce a veteran artist and recontextualize their sound, instead of trying to recreate their records of their youth.
“The Rose” gets an A.
Next: Charley Pride, “Why Baby Why”