Roses From My Friends

Album: Will To Live (1997)
Play Video


  • This song is talking about how if someone who is your enemy or someone you don't know hurts you (stones from my enemies), it will get get better. However, if one of your "friends" is fake to you or does something to you behind your back, it is much worse. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jon - Tempe, AZ

Comments: 10

  • Glenn from TexasWell I believe the song facts version which just happened to me just found one a freind of 30 was fake I can’t believe is this Happening I may be wrong but things aren’t looking good just maybe they will come around
  • Arianna from FloridaBen Harper is an incredible talent. Roses From My Friends came just in time!
  • Cp from Colorado“Stones from my enemies“ might feel like atrocities at the time, but “roses” or acts of love, kindness, and beauty, can bring me to tears much more than the harshness or negative aspects of the world. “I cannot survive the roses from my friends.”
  • Anton Nb from JakartaThis is obviously inspired from pir sultan abdal
  • Ryan from Los Angeles, CaI'm a huge fan of Ben Harper and have listend to him for years. His songs are so inspirational and poetics. He is a very spritual person, and several of his songs reflect that. I believe that all these comments have some truth in thier meaning, but it's much deaper than that. He is writing about Christ being with his apostle's in his final days before the crusifiction. Think about this and read the lyrics again: Christ was stoned and wore a crown of thorns; "When the last word has been spoken and we've beared witness to the final setting sun all that shall remain is a token of what we've said and done"; "the sound of a heart taken and the story of tears from a king"; "This may be the last time I see you forgive me for holding you close this may be the last time that I see you so of this moment I will make the most".
    Any toughts?
  • Olric from Istanbul, TurkeyThis song has a story that you might not know. During an Istanbul visit, Ben harper listens a Turkish folk song in a bar or cafe. The song is from Pir Sultan Abdal, a sufi poet from 15th century lived in Ottoman Empire. Ben Harper asks about the lyrics, and his Turkish friends translate it to English. The poem goes like:
    What that murderous cruel have done
    Makes me wretched like the invisible nightingale
    Stones fell on me like rain
    A flip of a friend tear me into pieces
    I learnt who are the friends and enemies on my black day
    I had ten troubles now I have fifty
    I am put on the death order
    Let them hang or shoot me
    I am Pir Sultan Abdal, whose soul can't rise into the air
    Only if god commands, the rain shall start
    The stones of the strangers never fell on me
    But the rose of a friend hurts me

    The source:

    Pir Sultan was a rebellious of his time against the Ottoman Sultan. He was sentenced to murder and this poem is said to be his last one. The hearsay is that, the sultan orders the public to stone him, one of his fellow is afraid to do against the Sultan's order but throws a rose instead of a stone not to hurt Pir Sultan. However, PIr Sultan hurt more because it comes from a friend but not an enemy.

    That is to say, for this song Ben Harper is influenced from the story and the poem and quotes it.
  • Lorax from Victorville, CaYou are all wrong... it is about the last supper and the crucifixion/ resurrection.
  • Clint from Mississauga, CanadaI dunno, I interpreted the song (specifically the chorus a little differently). What I immediately thought was that you literally cannot survive roses from your friends.. I mean, how often do you receive roses from your friends (as a guy, never). The only time all of my friends will give me flowers will be at my funeral. SO.. boiled down, my take is "Don't sweat the daily conflicts that bring you down, take the time you have now, and enjoy your friendships, while they last."
  • Ben from Sf, Camy take on this song is that it is about a brake up and others in your life react to that brake up. "The stones from my enemies these wounds will mend " this talks about how some people in your life will be upset with you because you hurt someone in their life that they care about. Ie, your ex's best friend will hate you regardless for what happened because you hurt their friend, but you get over that. However the next line " but I cannot survive the roses from my friends" talks about how it hurts more when someone says that it was good that you broke up with that person. The praise or the ?rose? from my friends is sometimes a harder pain to take because it shows that relationship was not right, even to your friends.
  • Richard from Dunedin, New Zealandthis is my interpretation which i think is typical of ben harper amazing mind. the key words are stones and roses, which are both tangible objects. also think about physical pain and emotopnal pain. what hurts more, getting bruises from the stones or getting roses from those who love you (which can come in your time of need- e.g, losing someone close to you).
see more comments

Editor's Picks

The End Of The Rock Era

The End Of The Rock EraSong Writing

There are no more rock stars - the last one died in 1994.

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors Examined

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors ExaminedSong Writing

Doors expert Jim Cherry, author of The Doors Examined, talks about some of their defining songs and exposes some Jim Morrison myths.

Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty

Rob Thomas of Matchbox TwentySongwriter Interviews

Rob Thomas on his Social Distance Sessions, co-starring with a camel, and his friendship with Carlos Santana.

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)Songwriter Interviews

Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai were two of Graham's co-writers for some '80s rock classics.

When Rock Belonged To Michelob

When Rock Belonged To MichelobSong Writing

Michelob commercials generated hits for Eric Clapton, Genesis and Steve Winwood in the '80s, even as some of these rockers were fighting alcoholism.