Elsie McWilliams (nee Williamson, June 1, 1896 - December 30, 1985) was songwriter who wrote for Jimmie Rodgers. McWilliams, even though she is only officially credited with writing twenty songs, actually wrote or co-wrote 39 songs for Rogers. McWilliams was his most frequent collaborator. She was the first woman to make a career as a country music songwriter.
June 1, 1896
|Died||December 30, 1985(aged 89)|
|Known for||Jimmie Rodgers|
|Notable work||Blue Yodel|
Rodgers asked McWilliams to help him with songwriting after he secured a recording contract and McWilliams agreed, traveling to recording sessions and collaborating. Rodgers could not read music, so McWilliams would play the songs and he would learn them by ear. The first song she wrote for Rodgers was A Sailor's Plea. Many of her songs became top hits. McWilliams's ideas for her songs often "came from conversation" and she said that "When an idea hit me, I would have to write it down that minute or it would get away."
Part of the reason he needed help was because his health was poor. Even though McWilliams helped him write songs, she only took credit for some, stating that she wanted the full amount of the money to go to Rodgers and his family. Sometimes when she received payment for her work, she would turn the royalties back over to Rodgers.
After Rodger's death in 1933, McWilliams focused more on her family and her church. In 1938, she and her sister made recordings in memory of Rodgers. In 1979, she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2010, a marker on the Mississippi Country Music Trail was created to honor her work.
- Blue Yodel
- Cowhand's Last Ride,
- Daddy and Home
- Everybody Does It In My Hawaii,
- Hobo Bill's Last Ride,
- Home Call,
- Lonesome Blues,
- Lullaby Yodel,
- My Little Home in New Orleans
- My Little Lady,
- My Old Pal,
- My Rough and Rowdy Ways,
- The Never No Mo Blues,
- Nobody Knows But Me,
- A Sailor's Plea,
- That's Why I'm Blue
- Tuck Away My Lonesome Blues
- Waitin' For the Train,
- Yodeling Cowboy,
- You and My Old Guitar,
- "Elsie McWilliams". Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- Mazor, Barry (2009). Meeting Jimmie Rodgers: How America's Original Roots Music Hero Changed the Pop Sounds of a Century. Oxford University Press. p. 305. ISBN 9780199716661.
- Wade, Howard Mitchell (1 July 2012). "Jimmie Rodgers: The Life and Times of America's Blue Yodeler". Journal of American Folklore. Retrieved 10 January 2016 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)).
- "Elsie McWilliams - Meridian". Mississippi Country Music Trail. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- Chadbourne, Eugene. "Elsie McWilliams". All Music. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- Cotton, Gordon (13 November 1973). "In-Law Aided Jimmie Rodgers". Lubbock Morning Avalanche. Retrieved 10 January 2016 – via Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
- Mullins, Daniel (24 May 2012). "Rodgers Remembrance Vol !V: My Old Pal". Bluegrass Today. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- "Records in Memory". San Antonio Light. 26 July 1938. Retrieved 10 January 2016 – via Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
- "Country Songwriter Elsie McWilliams". Chicago Tribune. 1 January 1986. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- "Around the Region". The Commercial Appeal. 8 September 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2016 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)).
- "103 Songs Composed by Jimmie Rodgers". Billboard: 22. 16 May 1953. Retrieved 10 January 2016.