About David Rose
The name David Rose is virtually synonymous with the golden age of American instrumental pop and few artists have managed to equal his output in terms of innovation, diversity and sheer volume. Dubbed "The King of Strings," he is best known for his massive hits "The Stripper" and "Holiday for Strings" in which his signature employment of pizzicato strings and melodic octave doubling over block chords is deliberately audible. In addition, his scores for "Bonanza" and "Little House on the Prairie" have been regarded as some of the finest in television history and serve as a benchmark for much contemporary Western style scoring. He has recorded over 5,000 hours of music, more than 80 albums, and his work continues to be licensed in numerous films and TV shows. In addition, he has received 4 Emmy's (with 9 nominations), 1 gold record, 2 Academy Award nominations, 6 Grammy nominations, and 6 ASCAP Film and Television awards.
Rose was born in London on June 15th, 1910. In 1914 he and his family relocated to Chicago. At the age of 7, he began studying the piano and just 7 years later he decided to pursue his studies on a higher level at the Chicago College of Music. At the age of 16, he performed as a pianist with The Ted Fiorito dance band in New York City. Three years later, he began work as a standby pianist, conductor, and arranger for NBC Radio. During this time he also worked outside the network penning arrangements for several recordings including Benny Goodman's 1936 hit, "It's Been So Long."
In 1938 David set off for Hollywood where he assembled the David Rose Orchestra as the music director for the Mutual Broadcasting System's "California Melodies." It was through this show that he sharpened his string writing talents as the full orchestra was eventually cut by the broadcaster, leaving him with only a string section. In 1941, MGM hired him as their musical director which marked the beginning of a 27 year relationship that spanned more than 25 feature films with Rose-penned scores as well as a long string of recordings on the MGM label. On November 2, 1942 he enlisted into the U.S. Army and served for 3 years; while in the service, his trademark song, "Holiday For Strings," became a major hit in 1943. The following year, he composed and conducted the music to the Moss Hart stage play, "Winged Victory," and in the same year was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song: "So In Love" from the Danny Kaye movie, "Wonder Man." After the war, Rose returned to MGM and his post as music director and at the same time became a regular on Red Skelton's radio program. Their collaboration continued into the early 50's when David Rose and His Orchestra joined Red as his program shifted to television. "Holiday For Strings" became the theme song and remained so until the Red Skelton Show went off the air in 1971.
The 1950's proved to be a prolific time for David as he worked simultaneously in several mediums. He began to grow as a recording artist in the later end of the decade--in 1957 he had a minor hit single with "Calypso Melody," in 1959 he produced Connie Francis' hit, "My Happiness," and in 1962, he released the smash hit, "The Stripper." Though he continued to record with his orchestra and score feature films, television ultimately became the media he conquered. Beginning in 1959, he composed the background music for the iconic Western, "Bonanza," during its entire 14 season run on NBC; it was during the "Bonzanza" years that his long-standing relationship with Michael Landon began.
Their collaboration led to Rose becoming Landon's official composer starting with "Little House On the Prairie" which debuted on NBC in 1972 and ran all the way to 1983. He went on to compose the music for additional Michael Landon productions including "Father Murphy" (1981-1983), "Highway to Heaven" (1983-1989) and the Landon semi-autobiographical TV films: "The Loneliest Runner" (1976) and "Sam's Son" (1984).
David Rose died on August 23rd, 1990 leaving behind a rich legacy and a prolific catalog that continues to be licensed to this day; recently, his music was featured in films such as "Hot Tub Time Machine," "Madagascar," "Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and "The Full Monty" as well as heard in numerous TV shows and national ad campaigns.