Lady Writes the Blues: The Rose Marie McCoy Story

Sat, 02/14/2009 - 3:00pm

Host, singer-songwriter Maxine Brown, from the 1960s.

Born in 1922, Rose Marie McCoy grew up in a tin shack in rural Arkansas. By the 1960s, she had become one of the most prolific songwriters of her generation. Lady Writes the Blues: The Rose Marie McCoy Story airs Saturday, February 14 at 3 p.m. on AM 1370 and WXXI-FM HD 91.5-2.

McCoy's songs have been recorded by Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Dizzy Gillespie, Ike & Tina Turner, Big Maybelle, Ruth Brown, James Brown, Bette Midler, Sarah Vaughn, Johnny Mathis, and Aretha Franklin. Her success was even more remarkable since she worked in an era when blacks and women were largely excluded from the business side of the music industry. But despite publishing over 850 songs, McCoy remains largely unknown.

Hosted by singer-songwriter Maxine Brown, Lady Writes the Blues: The Rose Marie McCoy Story shines a long overdue spotlight on McCoy, who wrote her first song, After All, in 1942. After 10 years as a struggling singer in New York City, she partnered with renowned songwriter Charlie Singleton. The duo was so prolific, it is said that throughout the 1950s, almost every station would be playing a Singleon-McCoy tune.

Lady Writes the Blues
features interviews with such iconic performers as Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Scott, and McCoy herself, along with insights from the host. The hour-long special includes previously unreleased songs and a rare recording of McCoy performing in her final concert at the age of 86.