|Born||April 28, 1913|
Xenia, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||November 16, 1989 (aged 76)|
New York City, U.S.
Rose Murphy (April 28, 1913 – November 16, 1989) was an American jazz singer famous for the song "Busy Line" and unique singing style.
Described by Allmusic 's Scott Yanow as having "a unique place in music history", Murphy was known as "the chee chee girl" because of her habit of singing "chee chee" in many of her numbers. She was also known as "the girl with the pale pink voice".
Murphy began her musical career in the late 1930s, playing intermission piano for such performers as Count Basie, and became popular in the United States and United Kingdom in the late 1940s. She is best known for her high-pitched singing style, which incorporated scat singing, giggling, and percussive sound effects. "Busy Line", one of her most well known songs, made use of perhaps her most famous vocal sound effect: the 'brrp, brrrp' of a telephone ring. A version of the song was later used in 1990 by British Telecom in a television commercial, which was such a success that RCA reissued the original recording. Princess Margaret became a fan after "Busy Line" became a hit in England. She attended Murphy's concerts in London and imitated her while playing the piano and singing "Busy Line" at parties.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, Murphy continued to play at "many of the top clubs of New York, like the Cookery, Michael's Pub, Upstairs At the Downstairs", and was "usually accompanied by bassist Slam Stewart or Morris Edwards." These were interspersed with engagements in London and tours of Europe.
Personal life and death
During a two-week engagement at Hollywood Roosevelt's Cinegrill in June 1989, Murphy became ill and returned to New York City. She died in New York aged 76 on November 16, 1989, and, though married four times, left no direct descendants. Her final marriage, from 1950 to 1977, was to Eddie Matthews, a businessman who, from 1928 to 1933, had been married to Ethel Waters. Rose Murphy and her radio broadcasts in the U.K. are referred to in the novel Under the Pink Light by British author Brian Hurst.