‘Bed Of Rose’s’: The Statler Brothers’ Daring Story Song Of 1970
‘Bed Of Rose’s,’ one of the songs that really helped to establish the Statler Brothers as country staples, was new on the charts in November 1970.
After the Statler Brothers burst onto the country scene in 1965, when they spent a month at No.2 with “Flowers On The Wall,” it took a little while for them to hit their chart stride. The sibling group from Staunton, Virginia would go on to an incredible sequence of hits in the 1970s and 80s, and one of the songs that really helped to establish them as country staples was new on the charts in November 1970.
“Bed Of Rose’s,” written by the group’s Harold Reid, may have read from a distance like bad punctuation, but in reality, it was an impactful and not uncontroversial story song. It concerned a “scarlet woman” called Rose who, in contrast to the Christian townspeople who shun the teenage narrator in his time of need, takes him in. The message couldn’t be spelt out in so many words, but Reid was clearly pointing at the hypocrisy of supposedly righteous people who criticise the lives of others while failing to help their fellow man.
After “Flowers On The Wall,” the Statler Brothers had had two more Top 10 country hits in 1967, but then three more singles that missed the top half of the chart. “Bed Of Rose’s” was the song that changed all that. It entered the country countdown on November 21, 1970 at No.71 — coincidentally, in the same week as another of country music’s famous “rose” songs, George Jones’ “Good Year For The Roses.”
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The Statlers’ single rose to No.9 on the country bestsellers early in 1971, in a 17-week run that was their longest since that debut hit. It was also their first single since “Flowers On The Wall” to make the pop chart, reaching No.58 on the Hot 100. The album of the same name did even better, reaching No.5 in a 30-week span on the country chart.
Buy or stream “Bed Of Rose’s” on the Statler Brothers’ Bed Of Roses album.
November 29, 2016 at 1:51 am
Absolutely love the Statler Brothers. No better entertainers or singers have ever come along.
February 24, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Good article, but they were not a “sibling group”. They were two brothers (Harold and Don Reid), one cousin (Phil Balsley), and one friend (the late Lew DeWitt, later replaced by Jimmy Fortune).
Also, did you interview Harold or Don about the meaning of the song, or get it from a public statement or writing?
November 23, 2017 at 8:04 pm
By far the greatest
November 24, 2017 at 3:11 pm
I love hearing the Statler brothers singing with Lew Dewitt with them
November 24, 2017 at 3:13 pm
theres nothing beter than hearing a Statler brothers song with Lew Dewitt
Diane Williams Cook
November 25, 2017 at 4:39 am
Love the Statler Brothers! Was fortunate to meet them in 1967 when we moved to Staunton, VA. Made friends with a couple who went to school with them. Great guys!!