Discover one of America's most prolific songwriters.  

(September 8, 2019)

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we speak with biographer Arlene Corsano about the life and music of Arkansan songwriter and singer Rose Marie McCoy.  This episode airs Friday, September 13.

Through personal stories and rare interview recordings with McCoy, Corsona tells the in-depth and behind-the-scenes story of a complicated singer and songwriter who broke barrier after barrier as a black woman in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s in the music business. 

Corsano's book Thought We Were Singing the Blues But They Called It Rock 'N' Roll chronicles McCoy's storied life and turbulent times from her beginnings in Oneida, Arkansas to her partnership with songwriter Charlie Singleton in New York and her office in the famed Brill Building.

During her lifetime, McCoy published over 850 songs that were recorded by the likes of Ike and Tina Turner, Louis Jordan, Nat King Cole, Nappy Brown, Big Maybelle, Little Esther Phillips, Elvis Presley, Bette Midler, Linda Ronstadt, Duke Ellington, Faith Hill, and many others.

Generous funding for this episode was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.