In 1954, McCoy and Singleton wrote a song called "Trying to Get to You," which was first recorded by a black vocal group called The Eagles. Elvis Presley heard their version in a record store in Memphis, and he decided to record the song on his debut album for RCA Records in 1955.
"Elvis did that just exactly like The Eagles, exactly," McCoy says. "Every breath, every sound, everything. Amazing how he did that. ... He wasn't a big star at that point, and we thought he was terrible because we thought he couldn't sing. We didn't understand, but we was grateful. Thank God for Elvis."
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"They wanted to hear what you had," she adds. "And if they liked it, they didn't care if you was black or white. We thought it was the blues and they called it rock 'n' roll; I still don't know the difference."
February 27, 2009
NPR did a great piece on songwriter Rose Marie McCoy this afternoon. You can tell just by listening to her conversation with the interviewer that she made her money with words so listen to it if you have time (though it looks like most of the transcript is there). These were a couple of my favorite lines: