Fred Rose (August 24, 1897 or 1898 – December 1, 1954) was an American musician, Hall of Fame songwriter, and music publishing executive.
Born in Evansville, Indiana, Fred Rose started playing piano and singing as a small boy. In his teens, he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he worked in bars busking for tips, and finally vaudeville. Eventually, he became successful as a songwriter, penning his first hit for entertainer Sophie Tucker.
For a short time Fred Rose lived in Nashville, Tennessee but his radio show there did not last long and he headed to New York City’s Tin Pan Alley in hopes of making a living as a songwriter. It was there that he began writing songs with Ray Whitley, an RKO B-Western film star and author of “Back In the Saddle Again”, and this collaboration introduced Rose to the possibilities of country music. He lived for a time with Ray and Kay Whitley in an apartment in Hollywood, co-writing many tunes for Ray’s movies.
In 1942 he returned to Nashville, teaming up with Grand Ole Opry star Roy Acuff to create the first Nashville-based music publishing company. Their Acuff-Rose Music was almost immediately successful, particularly with the enormous hits of client Hank Williams. Acuff-Rose Music remained a foundation of the country music business even after Fred’s death; his son, Wesley Rose, took over the presidency and continued with Roy Acuff until 1985, when the company’s catalog was sold to Gaylord Entertainment Company, parent company of the Grand Ole Opry.
While running the business, Fred Rose continued to write numerous country songs and eventually became one of the industry’s most important personalities. He also wrote songs under the name Floyd Jenkins.
Fred Rose died in Nashville from cancer in 1954 and was interred there in the Mount Olivet Cemetery.
Along with Hank Williams and the “Father of Country Music”, Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose was one of the first three inductees of the Country Music Hall of Fame when it opened in 1961. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985.