Rose Marie McCoy

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Rose Marie McCoy (born April 19, 1922, Oneida, Arkansas) was an influential and prolific songwriter of the 1950s and 1960s.

McCoy moved to New York City in 1942, pursuing a singing career. Her vocal talent got her bookings at famous venues such as Harlem’s Baby Grand, Detroit’s Flame Show Bar, Cincinnati's Sportsmen's Club, and Toronto's Basin Street.

In 1952, Rose Marie McCoy wrote and recorded two songs for the newly formed Rhythm & Blues label Wheeler Records, “Cheating Blues” and “Georgie Boy Blues”. After publishers heard these songs they sought her out. One of the first songs she was asked to write was a half-spoken, half-sung song, “Gabbin’ Blues” sung by Big Maybelle with the spoken part provided by Rose Marie McCoy. “Gabbin’ Blues” was the first big hit for Big Maybelle and the songwriter’s first hit.

McCoy wrote other songs for Big Maybelle, and other popular Rhythm ‘n’ Blues artists including, Louis Jordan (“If I Had Any Sense I’d Go Back Home” and “House Party”) and co-wrote, with Fred Mendelsohn, Nappy Brown's 1955 single "Don't Be Angry".[1]

In 1954, Rose Marie McCoy teamed with songwriter Charles Singleton, also known as Charlie Singleton.[2] They soon scored their first hit, “It Hurts Me to My Heart”, recorded in 1954 by Faye Adams. Their collaboration lasted about eight years and, individually and together, they penned many hits for the top artists of the time, including Elvis Presley’s "I Beg Of You", The Eagles' “Trying to Get to You" (later recorded in Presley's Sun Sessions), Ruth Brown’s “Mambo Baby”, and Nappy Brown’s “Little by Little”. Singleton & McCoy tunes were also recorded by Nat King Cole, Little Willie John, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Eddy Arnold, The Five Willows, Big Joe Turner, The Du Droppers, Little Esther, The Clovers, and many other top artists of the time.

After the Singleton and McCoy team parted, Rose Marie McCoy continued to write songs on her own and collaborated with other writers. Her most successful song of the 1960s was “I Think It’s Gonna Work Out Fine,” which became Ike and Tina Turner’s first top 20 pop single and their first Grammy nomination.

Though she is most often associated with songs recorded by legendary Rhythm & Blues artists of the 1950s and 60s, Rose Marie McCoy has written many jazz, pop, rock ‘n’ roll, country, and gospel songs. Legendary jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott has recorded nine Rose Marie McCoy tunes. Sarah Vaughan recorded six of her songs, five of them found on the singer’s 1974 album Send in the Clowns.

Many other artists have recorded some of the over 800 songs she published, including but not limited to: Pearl Bailey, Maxine Brown, Shirley Caesar, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Patti Page, Debbie Reynolds, Lenny Welch, Dinah Washington, Barbara Lewis, Del Shannon, Joe Medlin, Freddie Scott, Billy & Lillie, Tommy Sands, Marie Cole, Shirley and Lee, Sammy Turner, Solomon Burke, Toni Arden, The Crew-Cuts, Ellerine Harding, Annie Laurie, Al Hibbler, Vera Longus, Jimmy Rushing, Eartha Kitt, Otis Williams, Bette Midler, Billy Eckstine, Ella Mae Morse, Chuck Jackson, Eddy Arnold, Dizzy Gillespie, Brook Benton, Buddy Ace, Varetta Dillard, Ivory Joe Hunter, Big Dee Irwin, Jane Froman, Shirley Ellis, Jimmy Rushing, Peggy Lee, Jean Wells, Jo Stafford, Georgia Gibbs, Joe Erskine, Bobby Vee, Wilbert Harrison, Linda Hopkins, The Platters, The Four Preps, Dakota Staton, The Harptones, Moms Mabley, Etta James, Gloria Lynne, Faith Hill, Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor.

McCoy has been a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey since the 1950s.[3]

Ms. McCoy was honored by Community Works NYC in their 2008 exhibition and concert series "Ladies Singing the Blues." McCoy received a five-minute standing ovation during the award ceremony at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City for her contribution to music. To the delight of the audience, "It's gonna work out fine" was played as she was escorted to the stage.


  1. ^ Nappy Brown Obituary in The Independent
  2. ^ They appear to be co-writers of "Strangers in the Night" and other hits. See Talk: Trying to Get To You.
  3. ^ Grasso, Katie. "Behind the lyrics lies a legend", Teaneck Suburbanite, February 18, 2009. Accessed February 18, 2009; no longer online or archived (October 2011).


  • Broadcast Music, Inc.
  • Broven, John, "The Story of Rose Marie McCoy", Juke Blues, Issue 26, Summer 1992, pp. 8–15.
  • Freeland, David, "Rose Marie McCoy," American Songwriter, Vol 21, No. 3, March/April 2006, pp. 65–67.
  • Rose Marie McCoy papers.
  • Rosenbaum, Dan, "Songwriting Sistas", Music Alive, Vol. 26, No. 5, Feb. 2007, pp. 2–3.

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