REVIEW: Poison – “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” (1988 3″ CD single)

POISON – “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” (1988 Capitol 3″ CD single)

This is a beautiful item that I’m happy to have in my collection.  3″ CD singles were uncommon, but you’ve probably seen one before.  What is less common is the clamshell 3″ case that this Poison single came in.  A lot of 3″ singles came in regular 5″ cases, or a cardboard sleeve.  Clamshells are rare.  This one, called a “Gem Pak” (patent pending) was specifically made to house a “CD3”, another outdated term.  It’s made of white plastic and the artwork is in the form of a sticker which covers the front, back and spine of the case.  The Gem Pak’s flaw (patent pending!) is that it does not hold the disc in securely.  It wants to pop out.  Take care when handling one of these that the disc doesn’t fall out when you open it.

I’m a defender of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”.  I loved it as a kid.  I remember some people saying it might be “too country”, which is wasn’t.  It’s just an acoustic ballad but a well written one and deserving of its success, if not its notoriety.  It tended to spawn a generation of soundalikes, a fuzzy swarm of late 80s acousti-balladry that ultimately only served to take bands like Poison down, while ushering in the grunge era.  “Every Rose” broke down walls for Poison, but the backlash was inevitable.  When Bill & Ted quoted it to get into heaven in 1991, it was already all over.  I can hear all that history when I listen to this single.  It’s an excellent song, and even C.C.’s solo, as inarticulate as it is, still fits like an electrically heated glove.

The B-side “Livin’ for the Minute” shows off the heavier side of Poison.  Fans might forget that Poison liked to really spit one out every now and then.  C.C.’s solo is bonkers on this one, but perfectly suited to the frantic tune.  Bret really cuts loose too.  Poison actually have some pretty cool B-sides.

These tracks are both available on the remastered Open Up and Say…Ahh!! CD, but you gotta snap this one up if you find it in the wild.

3.5/5 stars



  1. Of all the bands that have complained about Tom Werman’s production, including Cheap Trick, Crue, Twisted Sister, Dokken, etc, Poison I think had the biggest right to complain about how their album sounded, and they never did. This album always sounded really wimpy, and it’s dynamic range is insane.

    I’m all for dynamic recordings, but the volume fluctuates so much here it just sounds unprofessional. Someone needed to do a much thicker mix. The drums pop instead of slam, and the guitars buzz behind them with little distinction. I think a buss compressor would help a lot to gel it. The mastering engineer on this album must have been asleep at the console. The weeny sound works on “Every Rose” because it’s a ballad, but the more rocking material just sounds totally castrated.

    Say, do you have the original Enigma mix of Cry Tough on CD? It was the version mixed by Michael Wagener before Capitol Records picked it up. It’s only available on first pressing CDs on the Engima label of Look What the Cat Dragged In (and LPs and tapes). It’s got a slightly rawer sound more in line with the rest of the album, and the drums start on the snare instead of the toms in that mix.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like Poison, have always liked them. Saw them play once opening for Ratt. Bought t-shirt from the show with Talk Dirty to me written in green on the back. Back in the day many wanted that shirt. Just now I almost ordered Voivod : War & pain t-shirt. Should I? Maybe if u check 2020 with open mind? I’m still spinning it. This one feels natural, not like they are trying to be hip. This album is a whole lot better than I thought beforehand. There seems to be a lot of influences showing, some of their own influences and also borrowin’ from old BJ songs. It a lot of fun trying to spot all of them.


  3. Well u can wait and get it next year for peanuts. Not since Crush have I liked a BJ album this much. I’m listening to this nonstop every day. Gotta order the vinyl too. This one is filled with tiny bits that that make u crack your brain with where is this originally from or what does this remind me of. And it really flows. I remember feeling a bit like this when Bounce was released too. I kept listening to that one on repeat too. This album feels so relaxed. Looking forward to your review maybe next summer?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, the Japanese CD will never be peanuts. If you don’t order them quickly, you end up paying the “late tax” on Discogs later. I have two parcels incoming from Japan anyway.

      Crush, personally, that was the beginning of the end. It was such a step down from These Days. All the passion and soul was gone, and it was replaced with cliches and pandering to the “old fans”. And they’ve been spinning circles ever since. Sure, Have A Nice Day and The Circle have some good songs. So does Crush. But I never play any of them.


    1. Yeah it’s the only “gem pack” I own. All my other 3″ singles are in cardboard sleeves or regular cases. Incidentally I hate the cardboard sleeves. With a CD that small it just disappears in your collection.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve heard complaints about C.C. DeVille’s guitar playing (it’s all over the place), but he’s had his fair share of good guitar solos. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” has a beautiful melody, I don’t know why but it took me a while to get into that song because it’s their biggest song and it’s overplayed big time. I like C.C.’s solo though, like you mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think C.C. is a below average solist, but he has a niche and when he puts a lot of thought and effort into a solo, it’s brilliant. I think I Won’t Forget You is one of the best solos he’s ever played. But his live solo is a mess.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. (You will be happy, I wrote another Metallica review, it is on deck.)

          I couldn’t say why C.C. has been so bad live, but there’s been at least one case when he was just so wasted. That was the infamous 1991 MTV awards when he showed up with pink hair. He got fired after that.

          I love when Bon Jovi says “Hey CC…nice hair.”

          Liked by 1 person

        2. YAY!!! MORE METALLICA!!! I’ll be looking forward to that for sure!

          Oh yeah, I heard about the MTV awards incident. What happened to “Unskinny Bop,” did C.C. mess up, so they stopped and went into “Talk Dirty to Me”?


  5. Do you know if this is the same format as Sony’s “mini CDs” that they were pushing in the ’90s? I still see 3″ CDs that will come with the drivers for the odd PC. I don’t believe I have ever seen or owned one with music on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe it to be the same sized disc. Roughly 3″. The inner tray of a CD player, be it PC or game system or whatever, always has two sizes inside. 5″ and 3″. And they still make em that way!


    1. It’s up there Joe, although this is a band that I don’t sell short. A lot of Flesh & Blood is really good. So Tell Me Why from 91 is brilliant. I think they have a few other highpoints too.


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