The First Real McCoy: A Small Sampling of Songs Written by Rose Marie McCoy

The talents of many African American women in the arts has long been hidden behind the scenes as history marches on further down the line. One major mover and shaker you may have never heard of is Rose Marie McCoy. Single-handedly she’s one set of hands and one voice that is possibly more responsible for the advances and opportunities women held in the music business in the last 70 years.

01mccoy2-obit-superJumboBorn in Oneida, Arkansas on April 19, 1922, she started her show business career at the age of 20. As a nightclub act, and eventually a recording artist, she made her way from sea to shining sea, California to Canada and beyond for the better half of the 1940’s. The early 50’s however brought a shift towards sitting down at the Piano and working out lyrics and melodies herself. She soon had her first major hit with Big Maybelle. The now classic “Gabbin’ Blues” sailed into the R&B Top 5, leading the way for more opportunities to place tunes with increasingly bigger names.

The thing to note with Rose Marie’s career is that she turned over charming tunes to a heavy bevy of hitmaking artists from across all spectrums of the stylistic dial. A quick perusal of the tracklisting below starts with big names of the 1950’s, from Sarah Vaughan, Eartha Kitt and while not listed, her songs went to names like Elvis and Roy Orbison as well. As the 1950’s became the 1960’s, her reputation as peerless in her field didn’t diminish, and stars in the making from Jerry Butler, Patti Drew to Aretha gladly took to the Rose’s magic touch with the melody.

This reputation for stellar talent allowed Rose Marie to remain an independent artist for her whole life. She avoided being shackled to many a major record label, publishing house or production company. All the while, during her lifetime, she churned out more than 800 songs for people to record. Although the bulk of her most famous work of the 1950’s isn’t as well recognized today, she still stands as one of the pillars of modern popular music.

As we approach what would be her 97th birthday, I hope that you revive the spirit of a pioneer, and remember there’s always a road to pursue your passions.

  1. Jo Stafford – What A Feeling
  2. Eartha Kitt – My Heart’s Delight
  3. Sarah Vaughan – True Believer
  4. Little Willie John – Uh, Uh Baby
  5. Big Maybelle – One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show
  6. Nappy Brown – Sitting In The Dark
  7. Annisteen Allen – No More Lovin’
  8. Ruth Brown – If I Had Any Sense
  9. Ernestine Anderson – The Gypsy Goofed
  10. Nat King Cole – If I May
  11. Damita Jo – In My Heart
  12. Linda Hopkins – Little By Little
  13. Zabethe Wilde – Oh, What A Feeling
  14. Varetta & The Thomases – Fly By Night
  15. La Vera Johnson – Coward
  16. The Shirelles – I Do The Same Thing Too
  17. LaVern Baker – I Didn’t Know I Was Cryin’
  18. Carl Hall – What’s Come Over You?
  19. Elaine Dunn – If My Teardrops Could Talk
  20. Joe Williams – I’ll Belong To You
  21. Ruby & The Romantics – Remember Me
  22. Dottie West – Give Him My Love
  23. Brook Benton – Please, Please Make It Easy
  24. JoAnne Courcy – My Poor Broken Heart
  25. Patti Drew – I Can’t Shake It Loose
  26. Jerri Michaels – Give It All To Me
  27. The Inspirations – Touch Me, Hold Me, Love Me
  28. Freddie Scott – I’ll Be Gone
  29. Darrell Banks – I’ve Got That Feeling
  30. Sari & The Shalimars – Too Anxious
  31. The Drifters – Still Burning In My Heart
  32. Carolyn Franklin – I Can’t Love Without You
  33. Parrish Broxton – The Thrill Of Loving You
  34. The Realistics – If This Ain’t Love
  35. Amen Corner – Our Love Is In The Pocket
  36. Barbara Lewis – I Remember The Feeling
  37. Brenda Jo Harris – Love Is Like A Hurricane
  38. Etta James – Ease Away A Little Bit At A Time
  39. Aretha Franklin – Pitiful
  40. Lee Williams & The Symbols – I Love You More