[artist id="500964"]Bret Michaels[/artist] surprised millions of viewers, turning up on the season-nine finale of [url id="http://www.mtv.com/news/topic/american_idol/index.jhtml"]"American Idol"[/url] to perform "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." The guest spot was Michaels' first major musical appearance since suffering a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage last month, followed by a series of health-related setbacks.
So what's the story behind that song? To some, it's a tune made familiar by star Miley Cyrus, who recently covered it. But for Michaels (and Poison fans), the song's history runs much deeper. In an episode to devoted to him on VH1's "Behind the Music," Michaels revealed that he wrote "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" as a way to cope in the aftermath of his breakup from then-girlfriend Tracy Lewis.
According to the Poison frontman, the song's titular rose represented his blossoming music career, while the thorn was a metaphor for how success had cost him the relationship with Lewis. Though forged from heartbreak, "Every Rose" ultimately rose to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for three weeks, from December 1988 to January 1989. It was Poison's first, and only, #1 hit.
"Every Rose" became not only a commercial success, but also found a place within popular culture. The track played a memorable role in 1991's "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey," with the flick's rock-obsessed idiots reciting lyrics from the song in order to gain entry to heaven. And Michaels collaborated with Cyrus for her remake of the Poison tune, which landed on her latest album, Can't Be Tamed.
Of course, the song surfaced again during Wednesday night's (May 26) "American Idol." Singing the track opposite third-place finisher Casey James, Michaels provided his supporters with a powerful message: Just as "every rose has its thorn, and every night has its dawn," Michaels' troubles are coupled — and exceeded — by his triumphs.
Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.