Rose Garden recorded only by a fluke


NEW YORK • Lynn Anderson (photo), who skyrocketed to country music stardom in 1970 singing her signature song, (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden, died last Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee. She was 67.

Her death was confirmed by Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her publicist said the cause was cardiac arrest. The newspaper The Tennessean reported that she had been hospitalised for pneumonia.

Rose Garden, written by Joe South, became a crossover hit, soaring to the top of both the country and pop charts and earning Anderson a Grammy in 1971. An album of the same title was the top-selling one by a female country artist from 1971 to 1997.

Anderson attributed the song's popularity to its emotional tug as the nation was trying to recover from the war in Vietnam. "This song stated that you can make something out of nothing," she told The Associated Press. "You take it and go ahead."

The song was recorded only by a fluke. The producers, including her husband, songwriter Glenn Sutton, argued that the lyrics made it a man's song - it includes the line "I could promise you things like big diamond rings". But a studio session ended 15 minutes early and with no other songs scheduled, Anderson persuaded the crew to record Rose Garden.

According to her official biography, she turned out 12 top-ranked singles and three No. 1 albums during a four-decade recording career.

Among her other songs were That's A No No; Promises, Promises; I've Been Everywhere; Rocky Top; Cry; How Can I Unlove You; Keep Me In Mind; You're My Man; What A Man My Man Is; Listen To A Country Song; Fool Me and Top Of The World.

Lynn Rene Anderson was born on Sept 26, 1947, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, the daughter of country songwriters Casey and Liz Anderson. Her mother wrote several hits for Merle Haggard. Raised in California, Anderson began performing when she was six. She became an award-winning equestrian as a teenager and continued to ride and breed horses as an adult.

She recorded her debut single, For Better Or For Worse, a duet with Jerry Lane, when she was 19. She moved to Nashville before recording Rose Garden.

Her marriage, in 1970, to Sutton ended in divorce. She is survived by her father, three children, four grandchildren and her partner, songwriter Mentor Williams.

In 1974, Anderson was the first female country singer to sell out Madison Square Garden in New York.

She was arrested on charges of drunken driving several times. In 2005, she was charged with shoplifting a DVD of a Harry Potter film, and pleaded no contest to obstructing an officer and was given a conditional discharge, the AP reported.

She made her last recording for Columbia in 1980, but had another Top 10 single (a duet with Gary Morris, You're Welcome To Tonight) in 1983 and a Grammy- nominated album (The Bluegrass Sessions) in 2004. Just this June, she released a gospel album titled Bridges.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2015, with the headline 'Rose Garden recorded only by a fluke'. Print Edition | Subscribe