BootLeg Betty

BetteBack June 21, 1995: `The Rose’ Still Blooms for McBroom

Chicago Sun-Times
June 21, 1995 | Hedy Weiss

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Early in 1979, a girlfriend mentioned to Amanda McBroom that the producers of a new film, “The Rose,” were looking for songs from a variety of composers.

“Well, I didn’t write rock ‘n’ roll songs, and this movie was based on the life of Janis Joplin,” McBroom said. “Then one day, I tried out a new song I’d written on my husband. And he turned to me and said, `Amanda, you’ve just written a standard.’ ”

The film’s producers initially hated “The Rose” when they heard the song. “But the musical director, Paul Rothschild, loved it and sent it to Bette (Midler),” McBroom said. “And with her nod of approval, my life and career were changed forever.”

Despite her neophyte status as a songwriter, McBroom held onto a piece of the song’s copyright. She could maintain a perfectly fine lifestyle just by living off her royalties from “The Rose.”

“Bette had great success with the song,” said McBroom of “The Rose,” which won the 1979 Academy Award for best song. “But so did Conway Twitty, who cut it for Nashville and turned it into a huge hit all over again. And dozens of other wonderful singers have recorded it – everyone from Harry Belafonte and Judy Collins to Nana Mouskouri. It’s been recorded in at least six languages, too.”

“My dream, though, is for Ray Charles or Aretha Franklin to do the song,” McBroom said. “I’d like them to take it into rhythm and blues or gospel.”

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