A Rose Is Still A Rose – Aretha Franklin | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#26) & R&B (#5); 1998

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

A few days before her 56th birthday, Aretha Franklin’s 96th R&B chart single began its climb to #5. A Rose Is Still Rose closed out the fourth decade of a recording career that had begun when John Hammond – who also discovered the likes of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen – saw Aretha as a Billie Holiday-type singer. Since her singing roots were in Pentecostal gospel, this approach produced little of note. The legendary Muscle Shoals soul recordings of the late 1960’s set Aretha’s voice, and spirit, free with classics such as Respect and Chain Of Fools. Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s Aretha rode with the changes, most notably on her 1985 platinum seller, Freeway Of Love. The 1990’s saw Aretha holding her own with the younger generation, bringing on Lauryn Hill to write and produce A Rose Is Still A Rose, which included a sample from Edie Brickell & New Bohemians’ What I Am (#7, 1989).

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Lauryn Hill

Lyrics Written by:

  • Lauryn Hill
  • Edie Brickell
  • Brad Houser
  • Brandon Aly
  • John W. Bush
  • Kenny Withrow