David Rose was one of the most popular and distinctive mainstream instrumental pop composers of the '40s,'50s and '60s, writing a number of pieces that became part of the nation's collective memory. From Holiday for Strings to The Stripper, his music was usually distinguished by a loose, humorous approach, where the strings mimicked voices and the horns and percussion were alternately swinging and supportive. In addition to those two signature songs, Rose composed scores for many films and television programs, including Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie.
Born in London, Rose and his family moved to the United States when he was four years old. As a teenager, he studied at the Chicago College of Music; after he graduated at the age of 16, he joined a dance band led by Ted Fio Rito. He stayed with Rito for three years, then he began working as a standby pianist for NBC Radio. Rose was employed by NBC for most of the '30s as an arranger, conductor and pianist, though he also did work outside of the network. Most notably, he arranged Benny Goodman's hit It's Been So Long in 1936.
Rose left New York in 1938 for Hollywood. Shortly after arriving in California, he assembled the David Rose Orchestra for the Mutual Broadcast System, where he also conducted a program called California Melodies. That same year, he met and married Martha Raye, who he accompanied on her hit single Melancholy Mood. However, their union lasted less than a year and he soon began a relationship with Judy Garland which led to marriage in 1941; the couple divorced in 1945.