Song of the Day: Kiss from a Rose by Seal

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“Kiss from a Rose” is a song by Seal from his second eponymous album. The song was first released as a single in July 1994. Re-released in 1995, it was included on the Batman Forever film soundtrack, helping it top the charts in the U.S. and Australia. At the 1996 Grammy Awards, it won awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

Lyrics:

There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea
You became the light on the dark side of me
Love remained a drug that’s the high and not the pill
But did you know that when it snows
My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen?

Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey
Ooh, the more I get of you, the stranger it feels, yeah
Now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the grey

There is so much a man can tell you, so much he can say
You remain my power, my pleasure, my pain
Baby, to me, you’re like a growing addiction that I can’t deny
Won’t you tell me, is that healthy, baby?
But did you know that when it snows
My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen?

Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey
Ooh, the more I get of you, the stranger it feels, yeah
Now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the grey

I’ve been kissed by a rose on the grey
I’ve been kissed by a rose on the grey
And if I should fall, will it all go away?
I’ve been kissed by a rose on the grey

There is so much a man can tell you, so much he can say
You remain my power, my pleasure, my pain
To me, you’re like a growing, addiction that I can’t deny
Won’t you tell me, is that healthy, baby?
But did you know that when it snows
My eyes become large, and the light that you shine can be seen?

Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey
Ooh, the more I get of you, the stranger it feels, yeah
Now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the grey

Yes I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey
Ooh, the more I get of you stranger it feels, yeah
And now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the grey

Now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the grey

……

“Kiss from a Rose” was written in 1987, several years prior to the release of Seal’s eponymous debut album from 1991. After writing the song Seal felt “embarrassed by it” and “threw the tape in the corner”. Seal did not present it to producer Trevor Horn until the recording sessions for Seal II. In 2015, Seal said of the song: “To be honest, I was never really that proud of it, though I like what Trevor did with the recording. He turned that tape from my corner into another 8 million record sales and my name became a household name.”

“Kiss from a Rose” was the second single taken from the Batman Forever film soundtrack, and topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for one week in August 1995. It also went to number four on the UK Singles Chart. The single originally made it to #20 in 1994, but upon being re-released after being featured in the film, it reached the top position. It also won the MTV Movie Award for Best Song from a Movie in the 1996 edition. Seal talked about the long, strange journey that the song went through on The Brian McKnight Show season finale that aired 30 May 2010. He described how the song initially dropped out of the charts shortly after its release. Joel Schumacher subsequently called Seal, and requested use of the song to play over a love scene between the characters played by Nicole Kidman and Val Kilmer in Batman Forever. Although the song was eventually not incorporated into this scene, it was instead used to play over the end credits; Seal believes this change contributed to the song’s eventual popularity.

Cover versions

  • Guitarist John Williams performed an instrumental version for his 1996 album John Williams Plays The Movies.
  • The King’s Singers recorded a version of the song on their 1999 album Circle of Life.
  • Hank Marvin covered the song on his 2000 album Marvin at the Movies.
  • Irish vocal trio Trinití recorded a cover version for their first self-titled album.
  • Katherine Jenkins recorded her version of the track in her 2007 album Rejoice.
  • Jack Black performed a cover version on an American Idol charity special in 2007. The judges (Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell) each gave joke reviews of the performance (Randy said he wasn’t feeling it, but that it would help if Black got better pants; Paula gave a negative review, while Simon said that Black sounded better than Sanjaya Malakar). However, Seal had stood up for Black and said it was “the best rendition of Kiss from a Rose [he] ever heard”.
  • The Finnish band Northern Kings covered the song on their second album Rethroned.
  • French Canadian singer Bruno Pelletier covered the song for his 2007 tour of Bruno Pelletier et le GrosZorchestre.
  • Idina Menzel covered the song during her 2008 Fall tour promoting her album I Stand.
  • Welsh male voice choir Only Men Aloud! also sang an arrangement by Tim Rhys-Evans & Jeffrey Howard on the BBC 1 Show Last Choir Standing in 2008. They subsequently released it on their self-titled début album.
  • A Jazz interpretation is performed by Julia Hülsmann Trio on their album The End of a Summer.
  • U.S. soul singer Jazmine Sullivan covered the song for French TV show Taratata. Her performance first aired on 15 May 2009 on French TV and is also available online on Taratata’s official website.
  • Lee DeWyze performed a cover version as his “Songs from the Movies” category entry in the ninth season of American Idol. DeWyze went on to become the winner in the competition.
  • Swedish rock band April Divine have also a cover of this, and it was released upon their album Redemption (2010).
  • Vocalist Darlene Koldenhoven recorded her arrangement of Kiss from a Rose on her 2011 CD, Solitary Treasures.
  • Folk rock band The Becca Stevens Band, featuring bassist Chris Tordini, released a cover of this in 2011 on their album Weightless.
  • A hard-rock version of the song can be found on the 2012 record Beautiful Alien by Atom Smash.
  • 12 Stones released a cover of the song online in 2012.
  • Head Control System released a cover version of the song on their official MySpace.
  • Japanese artist Angela Aki’s rendition included Japanese lyrics on her fourth single “This Love”.
  • A karaoke version of the song was featured in an episode of the third season of the NBC television series Community titled “Studies in Modern Movement”, performed by Jim Rash as Dean Pelton and Joel McHale as Jeff Winger.
  • The song appears on Hallelujah – Live by Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Kurt Nilsen, and Alejandro Fuentes.
  • In 2010 New York City’s leading post post-feminist feminist all-female pop French Horn quartet Genghis Barbie, used Evan Kuhlmann’s Bassoon quartet arrangement adapted for French Horn on their debut CD.
  • In 2013, Straight No Chaser covered the song with Seal on their Under the Influence album.
  • In 2015, a chiptune cover was made by Fearofdark using 0CC-FamiTracker. Fearofdark has also released the source files which allows users to play the track on their local Nintendo Soundfont emulator and FamiTracker programs.

Cultural references

  • In season 2, episode 7 (“A Bottle of Jean Nate”) of Shameless, “Kiss from a Rose” is revealed as Jody’s go-to love-making song; he’s first seen having sex with Karen while listening to the song, and later to Sheila, Karen’s mother.
  • In season 5, episode 7 (“The Gang Wrestles for the Troops”) of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dee plans to greet a returning U.S. soldier she’s been chatting with online with her alias “Desert Rose” by bringing roses, dressing up in a red dress with green stockings, and playing Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose”. When Dee runs away because he’s in a wheelchair, Frank ends up playing the song and giving the soldier a gift of jean shorts for his services and salutes him, making the moment awkward for the soldier.
  • In season 3, episode 7 of Community, Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) and dean Craig Pelton (Jim Rash) are seen singing “Kiss from a Rose”. Later in the episode the rest of the characters make fun of Jeff since the dean has tweeted their duet.
  • In season 5, episode 17 (“The Death Of The Queen Bee”) of Bones, the song is featured in Temperance’s reunion where she and Booth do a slow dance to the song. As the song starts in the background, Brennan eagerly requests Booth to dance with her, saying “Can we dance, Booth? It’s Seal!”
  • Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) sings the song in the 2015 film Vacation.

Seal

Seal 2012.jpg

Born Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel
19 February 1963 (age 52)
London, England
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Singer-songwriter
Years active 1987–present
Spouse(s) Heidi Klum (m. 2005; div. 2014)
Children 4
Website http://www.seal.com
Musical career
Genres Soul, R&B, adult contemporary, electronica
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass guitar
Labels ZTT, Sire, Warner Bros., Reprise
Associated acts Adamski, Santana, LL Cool J

image by Roman Stepanenko

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One Response to Song of the Day: Kiss from a Rose by Seal

  1. Pingback: Song of the Day: Kiss from a Rose by Seal | Finding Harmony in Art and Design

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