Biff Rose

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Biff Rose
Birth namePaul Conrad Rose III
Born(1937-10-15)October 15, 1937
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedJuly 25, 2023(2023-07-25) (aged 85)
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
  • Comedian
  • Singer-songwriter
  • Vocals
  • piano
Years active
  • 1964 – 2023

Biff Rose, born Paul Conrad Rose III (October 15, 1937 – July 25, 2023), was an American comedian and singer-songwriter.


Rose [1] was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 15, 1937.[2][3] After moving to New york, he joined the Greenwich Village folk scene as a banjo playing singer/comedian. His popularity lead to a New York Times profile.[4] Rose utilized the profile to generate momentum in his career. He moved to Hollywood where he worked as an actor and writer. While working in television, Rose met Paul Williams. The duo started a short songwriting partnership and composed several songs including ‘Fill Your Heart’, which was covered by David Bowie and ‘When Love is Far Away’, featured in Crazy Rich Asians.[5][6]

After releasing his debut album in 1968 Rose made a handful of appearances on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show.[7][8] After the Carson exposure, Rose performed on several other TV programs including The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,[9] American Bandstand,[10] and Playboy After Dark.

Biff Rose died from liver cancer at 85 in 2023.[11][12]


Rose's first release was 1968's The Thorn in Mrs. Rose's Side, which contained the song "Buzz the Fuzz".

The song "Fill Your Heart" is Rose's best known composition. Co-written by Paul Williams, the song was covered Tiny Tim on the B-side of his 1968 hit single "Tiptoe through the Tulips".

Bowie recorded Rose's song ‘Fill Your Heart’ was recorded on his 1971 album Hunky Dory.

Yes Keyboard player Rick Wakeman worked as a session musician on Hunky Dory .[13] He noted, “I remember going out and getting a Biff Rose album myself as he had obviously influenced David.” [14]

A young Bruce Springsteen opened up for Biff Rose at Max's Kansas City in February 1973.[15] In attendance that evening was David Bowie who had gone specifically to see Biff.[16][17]

Rose's songs been recorded by John Denver , Vetiver and Pat Boone.[18] Cat Stevens counts Rose as an influence.[19]

Racism Allegations

In October 2017, Indy Week pointed out that Rose's website contained "blatantly racist and anti-Semitic material." In an interview with Nate Waggoner, Rose, " expresses some views that are definitely not my own." In a published emailed rebuttal, Rose offered racist ideas about Islam as a defense against being anti-Semitic.[20] He continued to post racist and anti-Semitic language and ideas on his websites and social media accounts, including drawings that utilized visual ethnic stereotypes and graphic depictions of homophobia and misogyny.[21][22]

Full-length releases

  • The Thorn in Mrs. Rose's Side (1968)
  • Children of Light (1969)
  • Biff Rose [some copies titled Ride On] (1970)
  • Half Live at the Bitter End (1971)[23]
  • Uncle Jesus, Aunty Christ (1972)
  • Hamburger Blues [24] (1973)
  • Roast Beef (1978)
  • Thee Messiah Album/Live at Gatsby's (1979)


  1. ^ Lindsay, Sally (July 17, 1971). "Youth Beat". Pottsville Republican. Page 27. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  2. ^ Paul Conrad Rose, III United States Public Records, 1970-2009. FamilySearch. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  3. ^ O'Leary, Chris (2015). Rebel Rebel: All the Songs of David Bowie From '64 to '76. John Hunt Publishing. ISBN 1780997132.
  4. ^ "Folk Comedian Picks Audience As Target of Ethnic‐Cult Barbs; Biff Rose, Banjoist, Performs Topical‐Satirical Ditties at the Gaslight Cafe". The New York Times. November 14, 1964. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  5. ^ "Interview: Paul Williams". Film Comment. February 27, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  6. ^ Crazy Rich Asians (2018) - Soundtracks - IMDb, retrieved August 15, 2023
  7. ^ "Columns: April 1969". Robert Christgau. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  8. ^ "The Official Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson web site". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved September 11, 2005.
  9. ^ "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour – Episode Schedule". Archived from the original on August 11, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  10. ^ "American Bandstand – Season 13, Episode 21: Joe South / Biff Rose / Rhetta Hughes". Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  11. ^ "Biff Rose". Legacy. Retrieved September 8, 2023.
  12. ^ "Paul "Biff" Rose ~ American comedian / singer-songwriter passed away at the age of 85 at his home in Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday July 25th". Biff Rose on Facebook. July 28, 2023. Retrieved September 8, 2023.
  13. ^ "Rick Wakeman: On 'Piano Portraits,' David Bowie, Yes in the Rock Hall of Fame and More (Q&A)". Archived from the original on January 22, 2017. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  14. ^ "Rick Wakeman: On 'Piano Portraits,' David Bowie, Yes in the Rock Hall of Fame and More (Q&A) - Rock Cellar Magazine". Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  15. ^ "Biff Rose / Bruce Springsteen". Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  16. ^ "David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen: The History of an Unlikely Friendship". The 22nd Row. July 30, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  17. ^ "David Bowie's Animated First Reaction To Bruce Springsteen (a top story)::David Bowie News". Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  18. ^ "Tracks on Departure - Pat Boone (1969) | SecondHandSongs". Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  19. ^ "Cat Stevens". Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  20. ^ "An Interview with Biff Rose, Truly Weird Part of Music History". The Tusk. August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  21. ^ Hussey, Allison (October 5, 2017). "Heading to Biff Rose Tonight? You Might Want to Check His Website". Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  22. ^ Waggoner, Nate (August 1, 2014). "An Interview with Biff Rose, Truly Weird Part of Music History". Archived from the original on March 4, 2019. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  23. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: R". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 12, 2019 – via
  24. ^ "HAMBURGER BLUES, by Biff Rose". Biff Rose. Retrieved August 15, 2023.

Further reading

External links