Fred Rose was born in Evansville, Indiana on August 24, 1897. Raised by relatives in St. Louis, Rose attended St. Louis public schools and played the piano for tips in various St. Louis saloons as a young boy.
In his teens, Rose moved to Chicago where he became a singer and pianist and songwriter. His first success came with “Red Hot Mama”, written for Sophie Tucker. Rose moved to Nashville where he had a 15-minute radio show called “Freddie Rose’s Song Shop”, however the program was short-lived and Rose moved to New York to try his luck on Tin Pan Alley.
In New York in the 1930’s, he was introduced to Gene Autry, who was then at the height of his career. Rose and Autry began collaborating on songs and some of the hits produced included “Be Honest With Me” and “Tears on My Pillow”.
In 1942, Roy Acuff, a Grand Ole Opry star, decided to set up a music publishing company in Nashville and asked Rose to be his partner. Rose accepted and Acuff-Rose, the first publishing company in Nashville was born with the goal “that no man, or girl, that entered our door would be cheated our of a song, or one penny of anything that they’ve got coming.” Acuff-Rose would publish and promote the songs of country music legends such as Hank Williams.
As a songwriter, Rose collaborated with various composers and lyricists, such as Hy Heath, Edward G. Nelson, Steve Nelson, Walter Hirsch and Gene Autry, the Rose catalog includes such hits as “‘Deed I Do”, “Honest and Truly”, “Don’t Bring Me Posies”, “Roly Poly”, “Take These Chains from My Heart”, “I’ll Never Stand in Your Way”, “Hang Your Head in Shame”, “Crazy Heart”, “No One Will Ever Know”, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”, “Just Like Me”, “You Know How Talk Gets Around”, “Texarkana Baby”, “Kaw-Liga”, “Before You Call”, “Setting the Woods on Fire” and “Worried Over You”.
Fred Rose died in Nashville on December 1, 1954. In 1961, he was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame as a charter member.