August 15, 1925 - April 15, 1998
Boaz native, Rose Maddox, began singing at the age of 11 in the migrant camps and honky tonks of California during the Great Depression. With her brothers, the Maddox Brothers and Rose became known as "the most colorful hillbilly band in America".
The music the band played was a raucous and exuberant mixture of folk music, old-time country music, gospel, jazz, swing and boogie-woogie. Often called "Okie Boogie," it not only influenced later country music but even helped lay the groundwork for rock 'n' roll. Their flashy stage costumes, featuring embroidered cowboy/Mexican garb, became a trademark for the band and defined country costuming for a generation.
From her California base, Rose Maddox scored 15 country hits between 1947 and 1964, three of them top ten smashes. She was a West Coast mainstay long before the Bakersfield Sound of the 1960's. Teaming with Bluegrass patriarch Bill Monroe, Rose recorded what is considered to be the definitive female bluegrass collection.
Rose Maddox is a country music pioneer who helped pave the way for later women artists and whose classic performances over the years influenced many other singers, from Janis Joplin and Linda Ronstadt to Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.
Rose Maddox is the recipient of the 1997 Alabama Music Hall of Fame John Herbert Orr Pioneer Award.
Rose Maddox, along with brothers Fred, Cal, Don and Cliff, help define the California country sound of the 50s and 60s, and were the first to appear in the flashy, embroidered costuming prevalent in that era.
The Boaz, Al., natives hitchhiked with their parents to Meridian, Ms., when the Depression wiped out the family's finances, then rode railroad boxcars and slept in charity shelters en route to California.
The family became what Rose now calls "fruit tramps," living in tents and going from crop to crop in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1937, the brothers put together a band and with Rose as singer and Mother Lulla as the driving force, began performing for tips at area honky tonks.
World War II interrupted the career as the brothers were drafted, but when it ended they regrouped and became known as "The Most Colorful Hillbilly Band In The Land".
They signed with Columbia Records in the early 50s and joined the Louisiana Hayride, then the Grand Ol' Opry. Later that decade Rose launched a solo career and also recorded duets with Buck Owens.
She inspired many female country singers including Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.