October 20, 2003 by

Rosalie Allen


Categories: Media, Musicians

Rosalie Allen, a disc jockey known as the “queen of the yodelers,” died on Sept. 23 from congestive heart failure. She was 79.

Allen taught herself to sing and play her brother’s guitar as a child. During World War II, she earned $15 a week as a professional yodeler. When she moved to New York and landed a job on the “Swing Billies” radio show, her pay increased to $300 a week.

In 1944, Allen took a brief break from singing to become one of the first female disc jockeys. Her half-hour program, “Prairie Stars” on WOV in New York was so popular that Country Music magazine named her the most famous country music personality in Manhattan. She also produced her own local television show on NBC, and opened one of New York’s first country music record stores, the Rosalie Allen’s Hillbilly Music Center.

Allen returned to singing in the late 1940s, performed at Carnegie Hall and recorded several hits, including “I Wanna Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” and “Guitar Polka.” In 1999, she became the first woman inducted into the Country Radio Broadcasters: Country DJ Hall of Fame.

22 Responses to Rosalie Allen

  1. Joan Concilio

    And Ms. Allen began yodeling – that $15-a-week-job – in my hometown of York, Pa. Probably the first notable death with a connection to my area. Thank you very much for choosing her and showcasing her unusual accomplishments.

  2. Sonny Kertesz

    My sister use to listen to Rosalie all the time when we were kids. I just heard her sing “I want to be a cowboys sweetheart and it brought back a lot of good memories. My sister passed away to young. Thanks for the memories

  3. Kurt

    As a child I visited my Aunt and listened to many stories about some really famous country western singers. It was a lot of fun and those were great times. I will miss her alot.

  4. Lila Steele

    I plan to do a tribute to Rosalie Allen to be broadcast on Sunday, March 28, 2004 on WBAI radio, 99.5FM NYC from 5am to 6am. Please contact me at lila.steele@comcast.net if you knew her. I just love her fine yodeling, want to learn more to do a good job for the tribute. Did you hear her radio show?

  5. Gene Lynch

    I rmember when I was about 15 hearing Rasalie sing ” I want to be a cowboys sweetheart”.
    Her words and music has stayed with me all these years.
    I was fortunate to get a copy of that song last fall. It must have been about the
    time she passed on. Her yodeling was like the music of angels.
    Gene Lynch
    Age: 74.

  6. Raymond Francisco

    I was the President of the Rosalie Allen Fan Club at Bayside High School, Bayside, New York in 1953 and 1954.
    We would listen to her on WOV all the time, along with Don Larkins ‘Hometown Frolic’ on WAAT twice a day.
    I will never forget her.
    Ray Francisco

  7. Kazik Malec

    As a young boy in New York City during the 1940’s, when New Jersey was the western frontier, my family and I were loyal listeners to WOV’s Rosalie Allen. I was saddened to hear that she passed away last year.
    Kazik Malec, age 66

  8. Joe Brando, age 29

    I have become a huge fan of Rosalie Allen’s music within the past year and have spent lots of time trying to collect her music and other memorabilia about her. I am happy to say I now have most of her catalog songs as well as many rarer transcriptions but her stuff is not easy to come by. I am trying to meet someone who has been a fan for a long time who may have more information. Please contact me at josephbrando@comcast.net if you are a Rosalie Allen fan as we1l. Thanks!!!

  9. Pat

    I was suddenly reminded of Rosalie Allen when I turned on Ch. 13 tonight and saw Patsy Cline singing. I remember listening to Rosalie’s radio show when I was a kid and loving it. The music and her voice were great. When I looked her up this evening, I saw she passed away recently. Very sad. However, she is very well remembered!

  10. Tom Fiorillo

    I actually grew up across the street from Rosalie Allen in Port Washington NY in the 1950’s. She was married to Macolm McGlasson and they had one daughter, Jill. I will always remember her fondly as a very friendly neighbor, who could sing and yodel like a songbird.

  11. Joe Brignone

    I just received my copy of a German import of Rosalie’s music. It’s great!!. I spent over $30.00 just to get one song that that I remember listening to back in the 40’s: “Can’t You Take It Back And Change It For A Boy”. I have the original old 78 record but it is very scratchy so I just had to have the CD import. I taught myself how to play guitar back in the 40’s by listening to those old western records, (Rosalie’s had quite a bit of early Chet Atkins on them),. Listening to her music and the other early western recording artists really takes me back to my childhood. I have been playing guitar for over 50 years and still enjoy playing and singing that old material. Rosalie had real quality in her voice. I would liked to have heard her record in the 60’s with the nice sounds that came out of Nashville. She was a great lady of early Country Music.
    Joe Brignone

  12. G. Emerson

    Dear fans of Mrs. Allen, I have been searching for a 78, I think by RCA, made in late 40’s or earlier that 1952 which contained a song “Hitler Lives”. One hit suggested that Mrs. Allen might have recorded the song at one time. Any help out there?

  13. Earl Richardson


  14. Earl Richardson

    Our Band “The Sundowners” had the opportunity
    to meet her and play music for her during 3
    shows at “Irene’s Pub” in Passaic New Jersey.
    She was such a grand lady. I played the lead
    guitar for her. I still have the recording
    that was made that night. I’ll always remember her.

  15. Alphonso Sendio

    Yes, I Remember her. I saw her in person, along with Elton Britt. They recorded several duets. I am in the process of searching for her recordings.

  16. rosalie myers

    i remember rosalies family from old forge pa.. i think there was some distant family ties with the Bedra name but not close she was a good yodler heard her on radio..

  17. Joe Brando

    Eighty-four years ago today Rosalie Allen was born!! Happy Birthday Rosalie!!! Though you are no longer with us, your many recordings bring me much happiness. If anyone out there in cyberspace would like to talk Rosalie with me please feel free to e-mail me at josephbrando@verizon.net I do have all of her commercial recordings as well as some rarer transcriptions. But I am always on the lookout for anything that I do not have. I know some of you have posted that you have personal recordings from shows, I would appreciate very much if you would contact me at the above address. Thanks!

  18. Dell C Stout

    I remember my older brother telling of Rosalie Allen. I have two albums:Cattle album Hillbilly Yodel Star of the 1940’s and BACM album Jealous Heart. But there must be more somewhere. Please let me know if you know where to get more. Contact me at dellstout@yahoo.com. Thanks, Dell Stout

  19. Paul Hazell

    Rosalie Allen was a fine singer and yodeller and it saddens me that I only traced where she was a few days before her passing. I am working with the UK-based Jasmine label to reissue some of her work. Initially we are planning the first ever album of duets between Rosalie and Elton Britt. I hope that if it sells, Jasmine will agree to go for a solo album.
    The tracks are now out of copyright under UK law so the release will be nicely produced with liner notes and art work but still retail at a reasonable price. I am not an employee of Jasmine but they are doing great work to preserve the work of these great artistes.
    See http://www.jasmine-records.co.uk
    I am contactable on paul@pithon.co.uk

  20. daniel forrester

    imust find a record by rosalie allan titled cattle call i have been searching for over forty years for it please help thanks danny

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