Back to Oral History
  • Oral History

Ray Whitley & Wesley Rose

May 13, 1974 OH194 95 min.


Ray Whitley: Cowboy singer, songwriter, and movie actor. Born December 5, 1901. Died February 21, 1979. Full name: Raymond Otis Whitley. Successful dual career in music and movies. Starred in sixteen singing cowboy shorts for RKO and appeared in sixty feature films overall, including his final film role in the 1956 epic, Giant. Wrote several western standards, including “Back in the Saddle Again,” and “Lonely River” (co-written with Fred Rose). Worked with Gibson Guitar Company to develop the J-200 model guitar, a prototype of the guitar model popularized by the singing cowboy films. Member, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Wesley Rose: Music publishing executive. Born February 11, 1918. Died April 26, 1990. Full name: Wesley Herman Rose. Son of songwriter and publisher Fred Rose. In 1945 he was appointed general manager of Acuff-Rose Publications and in 1954 he became president of the organization. Promoted many notable careers, including those of Hank Williams, the Everly Brothers, and Roy Orbison. Member, Country Music Hall of Fame®.

Interview Summary

1974 May 13
(1 hour, 35 minutes)
Entertainer Ray Whitley and music publisher Wesley Rose participate in an interview to recall highlights from their long professional association. Discussion includes the circumstances of their first meeting; Ray Whitley’s association with Walt Disney during the late 1930s; memories of their work and friendship with Gene Autry, Fred Rose, and Tex Ritter; comments by Ray Whitley about how he measures success; memories of Hank Williams; Ray Whitley’s songwriting; Wesley Rose’s memories of his father, Fred Rose; the story behind Ray Charles’s recordings of Hank Williams’s songs and other country songs; and the story behind the signing of the Everly Brothers to Cadence Records.

We use cookies in the following ways: (1) for system administration, (2) to assess the performance of the website, (3) to personalize your experience, content and ads, (4) to provide social media features, and (5) to analyze our traffic. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. Please consult instructions for your web browser to disable or block cookies, or to receive a warning before a cookie is stored on your computer or mobile device. Read our Privacy Policy.