Born in New Orleans, Rose moved to Hollywood where he found a job working as a comedy sketch writer with George Carlin working sometimes on the Mort Sahl show. Eventually, Rose moved to songwriting.
David Bowie covered the song "Fill Your Heart," written by Paul Williams, with a melody by Rose, on his album Hunky Dory (1971). The song was originally released by Tiny Tim as the B-side to his 1968 hit single, "Tiptoe through the Tulips."
Rose's early work switches between unaccompanied piano and vocals and more heavily orchestrated numbers. His lyrics from this era embrace a left-wing hippie philosophy. His songs and demeanor feel rather harmless, but do contain an underlying note of the angry sarcasm of his later years.
I'd like to think some people haven't forgotten.
I saw Pete perform years ago (early 1970s) at Nassau Community College on Long Island, NY.
And of course on the old Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
He was something else again.
Pete is reminiscent of satirists like Tom Leherer. He's been described as a left-wing romantic hippie, but I see him purely as an exceptionally unique songwriter & performer with a tragic-comedian's sense of irony.
He wasn't running away from anything. He was describing the people things & events of a very troubled time of violence & division on one hand & a will to solidarity & love on the other. The typical historic philosophical Yes & No.
Some consider him not a rock musician at all.
They see him as Old School/Old World cabaret performer.
Of course Biff was/is a goofball.
His classic "Ain't No Great Day" (with Van Dyke Parks on the Moog synthesizer) is a paean to life's carefree ways. Carefree yet cognizant & oddly responsible in a socially critical way. Biff witnesses his times from a progressive perspective. But who wouldn't find him endearing no matter what side of the love-bead they're on when he brings his falsetto into play?
Pete was/is a real trip, in the best non-toxic sense of the word.
A very strange guide on a very strange journey.
[No song lyrics currently available.]
Biff Rose "Ain't No Great Day" from the album
Children Of Light (Tetragrammaton, 1968)