Walter Melrose

Born 1889. Died 1973.

Biography

Walter Melrose was a music publisher and lyricist in the 1920s and 1930s.

He was born in Sumner, Illinois, and was the brother of Lester Melrose, with whom he established a music store in Chicago. This became successful after the Tivoli Theatre opened in the same street, greatly increasing the amount of passing trade. Melrose branched into music publishing when Jelly Roll Morton turned up in his store, and hits such as Wolverine Blues and King Porter Stomp became highly successful for the company. In 1926 he arranged a series of recordings for Victor Records by Morton's Red Hot Peppers, which have come to be regarded as landmarks of early jazz. He later parted company with Morton acrimoniously, and stopped paying him royalties for his compositions.

Melrose added lyrics to many existing jazz compositions in order to claim a songwriting royalty, although these are rarely performed today due to their amateurish nature.

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