Born in New Orleans, Rose moved to Hollywood where he found a job working as a comedy sketch writer with George Carlin. Among other assignments, he wrote for the Mort Sahl TV show. Eventually, Rose transitioned to songwriting.
David Bowie covered the song "Fill Your Heart," written by Biff Rose and Paul Williams, on his album Hunky Dory (1971), making it Rose's most well known composition. It was originally released by Tiny Tim as the B-side to his 1968 hit single "Tiptoe through the Tulips". Rose was instrumental in giving Williams his start in the music business; Williams wrote in the liner notes of his greatest hits package Evergreens – The Best of the A&M Years (2004) that Rose was his first songwriting collaborator and ultimately, his connection to A&M Records, having gotten Williams a meeting with publisher Chuck Kaye. Rose and Williams also collaborated on "I'll Walk Away", from Rose's third eponymous record (Rose composed music and Williams wrote lyrics).
Following the release of 1968's The Thorn in Mrs. Rose's Side, which contained his hit single "Buzz the Fuzz" (viewable on YouTube), Rose made 12 appearances on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show from 1968 to 1970. Rose performed his songs ("Gentle People" and "Myrtle's Pies") on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, the footage of which can be seen on YouTube. He also appeared on other popular programs of the day such as American Bandstand, and Hugh Hefner's Playboy After Dark. He emceed the Atlantic City Pop Festival of 1969, and the Atlanta Pop Festival of 1970.
Rose's work usually consists of piano and voice without much other adornment, although his first three albums have orchestration and sometimes a full band. His lyrics are often humorous and irreverent. He has a sophisticated and early 20th-century style of piano-playing, sometimes described as "Old World".
Full Length Releases
- The Thorn in Mrs. Rose's Side (1968, Tetragrammaton, re-released on Buddha)
- Children of Light (1969, Tetragrammaton, re-released on Buddha)
- Biff Rose [some copies titled Ride On] (1970, Buddha)
- Roast Beef (1978, Pacific Arts)
- Thee Messiah Album/Live at Gatsby's (1979, Pacific Arts)
- Biff Rose at Discogs.com
- "The Ziggy Stardust Companion: Early beginnings". 5years.com. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "Evergreen". Oocities.org. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- ""In A Far Away Land" The Japanese John Denver Page". Bekkoame.ne.jp. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "Columns: April 1969". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- [dead link]
- "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour - Episode Schedule". Smothersbrothers.com. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "Gentle People". YouTube. 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- TV.com. "American Bandstand - Season 13, Episode 21: Joe South / Biff Rose / Rhetta Hughes". TV.com. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "BR's Classic Rock Photos - Atlantic City Pop Festival". E-rockworld.com. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "Biff Rose". Jhendrix110.tripod.com. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- Unterberger, Richie (1937-10-15). "Biff Rose - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- http://www.biffrose.com/ One Biff Rose official website