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Rose Murphy

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(1) Rose Murphy (May 7, 1913, Xenia, Ohio, USA – November 16, 1989, New York City, USA.) was a pianist and vocalist most famous for the song ‘Busy Line’.

Rose Murphy was known as “the chee chee girl” thanks to her habit of regularly singing the phrase “chee chee” in many of her numbers. She began her musical career in the late 1930’s, playing intermission piano for such performers as Count Basie, and achieved strong popularity in both the US and UK in the late 1940’s. Despite being a very talented pianist, she is best known for her high pitched singing style, which incorporated a range of jazz style ad lib scat, giggling, and percussive sound effects. ‘Busy Line’, one of her most well known songs, made use of perhaps her most famous vocal sound effect: the ‘brrp, brrrp’ of a telephone ring. A version of the song was later used in 1990 by BT (British Telecom) in one of their television adverts. The advert was such a success that RCA reissued Rose’s original recording of the song.

From the fifties to the 80s, Rose continued to play at “many of the top clubs of New York, like the Cookery, Michael’s Pub, Upstairs At the Downstairs, and was “usually accompanied by bassist Slam Stewart or Morris Edwards.” These were interspersed with engagements in London and tours of the Continent. During a two week engagement at Hollywood Roosevelts Cinegrill in June 1989, she became ill and returned to New York City.

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