This was written by Los Angeles singer/songwriter Amanda McBroom. Midler recorded it for the 1980 movie of the same name, which she starred in. McBroom explained: "A song came on the radio. It was 'Magdalena' by Danny OKeefe, sung by Leo Sayer. I liked it immediately. My favorite line was, 'You're love is like a razor. My heart is just a scar.' I thought, 'Ooh, I love that lyric, but don't agree with the sentiment that love is a razor.'"
"As I continued to drive down the road the thought came, 'What, then, do I think love is.' Suddenly, it was as if someone had opened a window in the top of my head. Words came pouring in. I had to keep reciting them to myself as I drove faster and faster towards home, so I wouldn't forget them. I screeched into my driveway, ran into the house, past various bewildered dogs and cats and husbands, and sat down at the piano. Ten minutes later, 'The Rose' was there."
"A year or so later, a professional songwriter friend of mine said, 'Listen, there is this movie coming out called The Rose, based on the life of Janis Joplin. They are looking for a title tune. Do you want me to submit this to them? I had never really tried to submit a song to anyone. I didn't consider myself a songwriter at the time. So I said, 'Sure.'"
"The producers hated it. They thought it was dull and not rock and roll and totally wrong. They put it in the reject box. But Paul Rothchild, who had been Janis Joplin's producer, and now the music supervisor on the film, hauled it out and asked them to reconsider. They again said no. So he mailed it to Bette Midler, the star of the movie. She liked it, lobbied in favor of it; and that's how it got into the film and changed my life forever."