Music And Concerts



The Rose (1979)

US: Double Platinum
Billboard peak: # 12

Tracks: "Whose Side Are You On" - "Midnight In Memphis" - "Concert Monologue" - "When A Man Loves A Woman" - "Sold My Soul To Rock 'N Roll" - "Keep On Rockin'" - "Love Me With A Feeling" - "Camellia" - "Homecoming Monologue" - "Stay With Me" - "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" - "The Rose"

Listen To Audio Samples

Billboard, December 15, 1979

ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK RECORDING-The Rose, Atlantic SD16010. Produced by Paul A. Rothchild. Most of the music on this soundtrack to Midler's highly-acclaimed acting debut is raucous, tough, rowdy rock'n'roll. An exception, and the best cut on the album, is the title song, a clear midtempo ballad. Three bands supply the instrumental backing on the various cuts, featuring such musicians as Norton Buffalo, Bill Champlin and Robbie Buchanan. Two live monologs also spark the LP, recalling the bawdy passages that may earn Midler an Academy Award in her first major film role. The album is packaged as an ancillary product of the film, with even the director of photography receiving a front cover credit.

Best cuts: "When A Man Loves A Woman," "The Rose," "Midnight In Memphis," "Keep On Rockin'," "Stay With Me."

Paulette Weiss, STEREO REVIEW, January 1980

There is none of Midler's usual Forties camping in the movie's concert scenes, however. These sequences are filled with the low-down, hard-to-be-a-woman blues and rough-house rock that were Joplin's trademarks. Although Midler's vocal tone is smoother, she conveys the essence of Joplin's gut-wrenching twists of phrase and her total absorption in the music. Her performance of Stay with Me, Baby, the Rose's swan song, is a dramatic and musical tour de force.

On listening to a preliminary copy of the soundtrack album (Atlantic SO 16010), I felt that, as with Streisand's A Star Is Born, the music was a Hollywoodized idea of rock- 'n'-roll. Although the songs have drive and intensity, the arrangements are often over-orchestrated. Midler more than holds her own, but sometimes, on Midnight in Memphis, for instance, she is up to her navel in instrumentals.

Since there are relatively few complete musical sequences in the picture, the disc contains some narrative filler. The preliminary version I heard opened and closed with a pathetic snatch of Let Me Call You Sweetheart, sung hesitantly by the Rose, disoriented and dazed, as she is dying on stage. The title song, with its pretty but forgettabIe
melody, is the only ballad on the disc.

The album is obviously not a typical Midler record. It lacks her usual variety of material and her sensitivity to current sounds (you'll find all that in her studio album "Thighs and Whispers," reviewed on page 85 in this issue). You should not miss her brilliant performance in the film, but be prepared for the emotional drubbing that comes with it. The details of the Rose's disintegration are presented so graphically that only the most callous will remain unshaken.