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Biff Rose

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Paul "Biff" Rose (born October 15, 1937, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States)[1] is an American comedian and singer-songwriter.


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.[2] Rose tried his hand as a stand-up comic and eventually began writing songs, performing his own compositions on piano. While his piano-playing demonstrated a solid versatility, ranging in style from honky-tonk to lilting melodies, Rose's voice was never strong enough for pop success. Quavering and sometimes hitting false notes, his singing was an acquired taste, yet his songs and hperformances emitted a genuine sweetness that appealed to many in the late 1960s.

Rose recorded his first two records for Tetragrammaton Records. David Bowie covered the song "Fill Your Heart," written by Biff Rose and Paul Williams, on his album Hunky Dory (1971), making it one of Rose's best-known compositions. It was originally released by Tiny Tim as the B-side of his 1968 hit single "Tiptoe through the Tulips".[3] Rose was instrumental in giving Paul 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 got Williams a meeting with the publisher Chuck Kaye.[4] Rose and Williams also wrote "I'll Walk Away", from Rose's third eponymous record, and "Someday", recorded by Sajid Khan in 1969 (Rose having composed the music and Williams the lyrics).

Rose songs have been covered by John Denver ("Molly"),[5] Vetiver ("To Baby") and Pat Boone.[6]

Following the release of 1968's The Thorn in Mrs. Rose's Side, which contained his hit single "Buzz the Fuzz", Rose made 12 appearances on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show from 1968 to 1970.[7][8] Rose performed his songs ("Gentle People" and "Myrtle's Pies") on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,[9] the footage of which can be seen on YouTube.[10] He also appeared on other popular programs of the day such as American Bandstand,[11] The Merv Griffin Show, The David Frost Show and Hugh Hefner's Playboy After Dark. He emceed the Atlantic City Pop Festival of 1969,[12] and the Atlanta Pop Festival of 1970. [13]

Singer songwriter Cat Stevens has mentioned Rose as an early influence.[14]


  • The Thorn in Mrs. Rose's Side (1968, Tetragrammaton, re-released on Buddha)
  • Children of Light (1969, Tetragrammaton, re-released on Buddha Records)
  • Biff Rose [some copies titled Ride On] (1970, Buddha)
  • Half Live at the Bitter End (1971, Buddha)
  • Uncle Jesus, Aunty Christ (1972, United Artists)
  • Hamburger Blues, [with Wall Matthews] (1974, Sweet Jane Limited)
  • Roast Beef (1978, Pacific Arts/DownPat)
  • Thee Messiah Album/Live at Gatsby's (1979, Pacific Arts/DownPat)


  1. ^ "Biff Rose". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "The Ziggy Stardust Companion: Early beginnings". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  4. ^ "Evergreen". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  5. ^ ""In A Far Away Land" The Japanese John Denver Page". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  6. ^ "". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Columns: April 1969". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  8. ^ [2][dead link]
  9. ^ "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour - Episode Schedule". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  10. ^ "Gentle People". YouTube. 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  11. ^ "American Bandstand - Season 13, Episode 21: Joe South / Biff Rose / Rhetta Hughes". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  12. ^ "BR's Classic Rock Photos - Atlantic City Pop Festival". Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  13. ^ [3][dead link]
  14. ^ Robert Windeler. "Cat Stevens". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 

External links