Thought We Were Writing The Blues: 

But They Called It Rock & Roll

By Arlene Corsano

About Thought We Were Writing the Blues

The inspiring story of Rose Marie McCoy, a black female who broke into the white male-dominated music business to become one of the most sought after songwriters, as well as a record producer and music publisher. Her songwriting career is one of the longest ever; her first song was recorded in 1946; her newest songs came out in 2013. But it was in the 1950s and ’60s that she was most successful, contributing to the crossover from segregated rhythm & blues to international rock and roll, and paving the way for the female pop specialists who followed.

The book is filled with Rose Marie McCoy’s fascinating behind-the-scenes tales of songwriters, musicians, producers, music publishers, record company owners, mobsters, and legendary singers who recorded her songs, including Nat “King” Cole, Elvis Presley, Sarah Vaughan, Ike & Tina Turner, James Brown, Dinah Washington, Jackie Wilson, Johnny Mathis, and so many more.

“I don’t know of any other songwriter with the kind of track record Rose Marie McCoy has,” says Al Bell, past president of Motown Records Group and former owner of Stax Records. “Her songs have been recorded by so many legendary artists in such a diversity of styles: blues, jazz, rock, rhythm & blues, country, pop, gospel. It’s mind boggling what she has done.”

And truly mind boggling is that she succeeded an independent songwriter, without the backing of a publishing house or record company to promote her work, relying on her talent, determination, and self-assurance. Hers is a truly inspiring story.