I am thinking of yanking my Knockout roses from the front of my house. They face east and get a decent amount of sun, but have never done as well as the ones in the back. I have switched to almost all doubles because they are hardier in zone 5.
I talked to the Jackson and Perkins rep a few years ago, and he said that the popular single does not do well in the Chicago area. My favorite Knockout is Rainbow, very hardy and flowers until November profusely!
An asian friend of mine said you should not have thorns in the front of your house bad luck!