Lynn Anderson – (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden

I heard this so many times on country and pop radio around my parents. The song is still played today. It was the rare country cross over hit. It peaked at #1 in the Billboard Country Charts in 1970 and #3 in the Billboard 100 in 1971.

Joe South wrote this for his 1969 debut album, Introspect. It was covered by artists like Freddy Weller, Billy Joe Royal, and Dobie Gray before Lynn Anderson made it an international crossover hit in 1971.

This earned Anderson a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1971.

From Songfacts

“I never promised you a rose garden” is another way of saying “I never said it would be easy.” The singer encourages her lover to enjoy the good times in their relationship because the bad times are inevitable (“Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime”).

Because of lyrics like “I could promise you things like big diamond rings,” Anderson’s producer (and husband) Glenn Sutton considered this a man’s song and tried to dissuade her from covering it. Only when they had some extra studio time left did he consider it for an album cut, but with some changes. They reworked the track with an uptempo arrangement that included a string section and mandolin. When Columbia Records’ exec Clive Davis heard it, he insisted it be released as a single.

“It was popular because it touched on emotions,” Anderson told the Associated Press of the song in 1987. “It was perfectly timed. It was out just as we came out of the Vietnam years and a lot of people were trying to recover. This song stated that you can make something out of nothing. You take it and go ahead.”

(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine
There’s gotta be a little rain some time
When you take you gotta give so live and let live
Or let go oh-whoa-whoa-whoa
I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden

I could promise you things like big diamond rings
But you don’t find roses growin’ on stalks of clover
So you better think it over
Well if sweet-talkin’ you could make it come true
I would give you the world right now on a silver platter
But what would it matter
So smile for a while and let’s be jolly
Love shouldn’t be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine
There’s gotta be a little rain some time

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden

I could sing you a tune and promise you the moon
But if that’s what it takes to hold you
I’d just as soon let you go
But there’s one thing I want you to know
You better look before you leap, still waters run deep
And there won’t always be someone there to pull you out
And you know what I’m talkin’ about
So smile for a while and let’s be jolly
Love shouldn’t be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine
There’s gotta be a little rain some time,
I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

12 thoughts on “Lynn Anderson – (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden”

  1. Great tune. I remember it from my early childhood, seemed to be one of those ominpresent songs always on in the car or kitchen. But I liked it ok and still like it a lot. Pretty good message too

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I bet that song kept Joe South’s refrigerator filled with food for the rest of his life. Joe South was up there with John Fogerty and Jimmy Webb in the late 60’s with churning out great song after great song.

    Liked by 1 person

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