Peter DeRose

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Peter DeRose
Born(1900-03-10)March 10, 1900
OriginNew York City, U.S.A.
DiedApril 23, 1953(1953-04-23) (aged 53)
New York City, U.S.A.
GenresJazz, pop
Years active1919–1953
Associated actsCharles Tobias, Al Stillman, Carl Sigman, Billy Hill

Peter DeRose (or De Rose) (March 10, 1900 – April 23, 1953) was a US Hall of Fame composer of jazz and pop music during the Tin Pan Alley era.


DeRose was born in New York City and as a boy exhibited a gift for things musical. He learned to play the piano from an older sister but composing music was a gift that saw him have his first song published by F. B. Haviland Pub. Co. at the age of eighteen, Tiger Rose Waltzes. After finishing high school (DeWitt Clinton High School), class of 1917, he found a job at a music store as a stock room clerk but a highly successful 1920 composition called "When You're Gone, I Won't Forget" led to his being hired by the New York office of the Italian music publisher G. Ricordi & Co.[1]

In 1923 he met ukulele musician May Singhi Breen (1895–1970) performing on radio with a female ukulele group known as the "Syncopators." A personal relationship developed and she left the group to join DeRose in a musical radio show on NBC called the "Sweethearts of the Air" in which he played piano and she performed on the ukulele. The popular show ran for sixteen years during which time the two entertainers were married. The show not only provided them with a good living, but was also a vehicle for the introduction of a number of his compositions.[1]

DeRose collaborated with a number of prominent lyricists such as Charles Tobias, Al Stillman, Carl Sigman, Billy Hill. Some of DeRose's best known works are:

The monument of Peter De Rose

The music of DeRose has been recorded by many other artists including John Coltrane, Spike Jones, Art Tatum, Les McCann, and Peggy Lee. In addition to Wagon Wheels, Peter DeRose wrote songs for the Broadway musicals Yes Yes Yvette and Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1928. The most famous of his songs, "Deep Purple", was written in 1934 as a piano composition with lyrics added a few years later by Mitchell Parish. It was a top hit for Larry Clinton & His Orchestra in 1939 and recorded by Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Sarah Vaughan. In 1957, it was a No. 20 hit record for Billy Ward & the Dominoes then a No. 1 hit on the 1963 Billboard charts for Nino Tempo & April Stevens. It would become popular again in 1976 with another duet by Donny and Marie Osmond.[2]

The epitaph letter from May to Peter

In 1932 Peter DeRose wrote religious sheet music with radio star Phillips H. Lord for one of Lord's "Seth Parker" religious music books. DeRose also composed music for the 1941 Ice Capades show and in the late 1940s and early 1950s wrote songs for several Hollywood motion pictures.

Peter DeRose's final hit was "You Can Do It", written just before his death in New York City in 1953. Interred in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, his tombstone is etched with the words "Every friend he ever made, he kept".

In 1970, Peter DeRose was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.[3]


  1. ^ a b Composers and Lyricists Database (1988). "Peter de Rose". Biography. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  2. ^ a b Internet Movie Database (2010). "Peter de Rose". Biography. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  3. ^ Songwriters Hall of Fame

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