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Poison tops the charts

Bands like Warrant and Winger might like to refer to their own musical genre as "glam metal" - utilising the traditional rock setup, but playing a softer, more acoustic sound. Detractors of that style, who prefer the harder rock sound, sometimes referred to the sound as "hair metal", criticising the thin sound and the lack of power from what one might normally associate with a rock or metal group. Yet in the musical fusion of styles in the mid-1980s, as pop groups and artistes began to feature the electric guitar in their instrumentation, as the punk and rock movements began to lose their wider appeal, and the softer acoustic sound was used by metal bands as interludes between their heavier numbers; and between all that mish-mash of styles, a metal song with a softer edge topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

The band Poison had been around for a few years and had released an album prior to their success, and while their second album Open Up and Say ... Ahh! would sell eight million copies and feature the traditional driving rock rhythms and clash cymbals and gain them a good fan following, it was one of their guitar ballads that would give them their first and only number one hit. Every Rose Has Its Thorn not only gained significant play time on radio stations, but by featuring on MTV, which was looking to broaden its appeal and scope beyond traditional "cute" pop, it gained significant popularity which allowed it to top the charts

The popularity of "soft metal" has meant that such songs are also commonly played on the piano. While it is down to the pianist to decide how the arrangements turn out - whether the arrangement becomes one with a broken chord pattern, even softening its image further, more authentic versions can be obtained by trying to duplicate the drum beat in the left hand, and using open chords to mimic the same kind of harmonies in the original.

As metal became more established and came into the mainstream, so the different styles within what was a generic category came to be more prominent. Depending on characteristics such as the lyrics, harmonies and the manner of performance, we can classify music such as thrash metal and even symphonic metal.

Poison would be one of many groups to attain a number one single - charts would also be headed by quirky characters such as a dancing animals, name-changing aliens and groups with revolving members, proving that as music evolved, it became less about the music and more about the image.

Unfortunately, as popular music tastes changed, and audiences grew to like pop and rock boy bands, Poison faded in the 1990s after its brief forays into the charts. Success was fleeting for the group. Or as they had predicted, every rose indeed had its thorn.

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