Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
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Lady Writes the Blues

In the 1950’s and early 1960’s American pop music saw the melding of different genres —rhythm & blues, country, and rock & roll — bringing together black and white, northern and southern musical styles.

This is the story of one of the most prolific songwriters of that era. You probably don’t know her name, but Rose Marie McCoy’s songs have been recorded by Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Dizzy Gillespie, Ike & Tina Turner, Big Maybelle, Ruth Brown, James Brown, Sarah Vaughan, Johnny Mathis and Aretha Franklin.

Born in 1922, Rose grew up in a tin shack in rural Arkansas. Her success was even more remarkable in an era when blacks and women were largely excluded from the business side of the music industry. But despite publishing over 800 songs, Rose Marie McCoy remains largely unknown.

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