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Melissa Monroe
Born:  September 12, 1936
Died:  December 3, 1990

About The Artist

Melissa Kathleen Monroe was the older of the two children of bluegrass music creator Bill Monroe. As a teenager and young adult, she often traveled with Bill and his Blue Grass Boys, and recorded eight country songs for Columbia.

In later years, she suffered from health and emotional problems which curtailed her career.

In August 1950, not quite age 14, she cut four numbers for Columbia. The most memorable was "Oh How I Miss You" that had earlier been recorded by Pete Cassell. Some of Bill's band and a couple of session musicians backed her up. The next year she cut four additional numbers for Columbia.

The addition of Melissa to the Columbia label was part of a roster shuffle at the label by Don Law, the Folk A&R manager. The label added eight artists over a period of weeks such as Okie Jones, Billy Brown, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs (from the Mercury label), Riley Crabtree (from Talent label), Billie Starr (from London label) and a newcomer, Lefty Frizzell. Other additions during that period were the Masters family along with Melissa.

Promo Ad - Lakewood Beach - Ohio - Bill Monroe; Melissa Monroe; Shenandoah Valley Trio; August 1950 Promo Ad - Russellville, KY - Bill Monroe; Shufly; Buckeye Sneezlewee; Shenandoah Valley Trio; Little Melissa Monroe; March 1949

Promo Ad - Brown County Jamboree - Bean Blossom, IN - Bill Monroe; Charlie Monroe; Melissa Monroe - November 1953 Promo Ad - Brown County Jamboree - Bean Blossom, IN - Bill Monroe; Charlie Monroe; Melissa Monroe; Red Richie; Shorty and Juanita Shehan - November 1953

Promo Ad - Brown County Jamboree - Bean Blossom, IN - Bill Monroe; Birch Monroe; Melissa Monroe - October 1963 Promo Ad - Brown County Jamboree - Bean Blossom, IN - Monroe Family Day - Bill Monroe; Birch Monroe; Melissa Monroe - October 1963

As Melissa grew older, she began to have emotional problems, While her father was very protective of his daughter, apparently firing band members who became too familiar with her, he did not practice what he preached. Openly flaunting his relationship with bass player Bessie Lee Mauldin seemed more than Melissa could handle. On November 30, 1963, while appearing with Bill at the WWVA Jamboree, after finishing her song, Melissa "burst into tears and was inconsolable the rest of the evening."

Not long after this Bessie no longer worked in the touring band with Bill. Meanwhile, Melissa continued living with her mother until she died in 1984. Thereafter, Melissa lived in assisted living until the spring of 1990 when she moved in with her father. That fall, after suffering a stroke and other ailments, she fell into a coma and died six weeks later

Melissa Monroe — Record Reviews From The Billboard & Cash Box
Date Label Rec No. Review
4/11/1950 (BB) Columbia 20752 Oh, How I Miss You — Country thrush, strongly influenced by leading blues pipers offers a lackluster bit here. (Overall rating: 60)
Guilty Tears — Formula stuff of no special distinction. (Overall rating: 60)
2/24/1951 (CB) Columbia 20783 Stop, Look And Listen — A cute song is done here in the light voice of Melissa Monroe. This girl hillbilly singer adds a lot of interest to the tune and keeps you with it.
You Rule My Heart — The bottom half is a ballad in which Melissa gets some interesting backing. Top deck gets our nod.
2/24/1951 (BB) Columbia 20783 Stop, Look And Listen — An effective novelty tune, with an original pattern gets a fair go. (Overall rating: 68)
You Rule My Heart — Thrush does an unimpressive vocal on a fair country torcher. (Overall rating: 57)
9/29/1951 (BB) Columbia 20856 Peppermint Sticks and Lemon Drops — Pert bouncer is handled amiably by the femme singer. Cute ditty, but not especially strong one. (Overall rating: 72)
Oceans of Tears — Melissa does a fully persuasive tune with this sequel to "I'll Never Be Free." Good disking which will provide coverage on the Tennessee Ernie-Kay Starr etching of same months ago. (Overall rating: 75)

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com would like to express its thanks to Ivan M. Tribe, author of Mountaineer Jamboree — Country Music in West Virginia and other books that can be found on Amazon.com and numerous articles in other publications for providing us with information about this artist.
  • Col. Shuffles C&W Roster; January 20, 1951; The Billboard; Cincinnati, OH

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  20752 A Oh, How I Miss You
  20752 B Guilty Tears
  20783 A You Rule My Heart
  20783 B Stop Look And Listen
  20856 A Peppermint Stick And Lemon Drops
  20856 B Oceans Of Tears
  20868 A There's No Room In My Heart
  20868 B I'm Waiting Just For You

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