Merrilee Rush: Seattle’s homegrown rock ‘n’ roll sweetheart

September 1, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. | Updated March 7, 2022 at 12:20 a.m.
In 1968, Seattle’s own Merrilee Rush found fame with her hit song, “Angel of the Morning.”
In 1968, Seattle’s own Merrilee Rush found fame with her hit song, “Angel of the Morning.”

All photos courtesy of Merrilee Rush

Merrilee Rush gained national fame in 1968 with her breakout hit song, Angel of the Morning, which earned her a Grammy nomination for female vocalist of the year.

Before that, Merrilee was already well-known on the northwest’s thriving teen dance circuit playing packed venues like the Spanish Castle on Pacific Highway and Parker’s on Aurora. She and her bands cut records, found radio play and were popular draws on the circuit. In short, they were regional celebrities. Then, as award-winning author and rock ‘n’ roll aficionado Peter Blecha writes: “...after scoring her first of several international radio hits, Angel of the Morning, she was no longer Seattle’s private treasure and the years of major-label record deals, television appearances and concert touring began.”

Merrilee spends time these days on her historic farm outside of Redmond. She is surrounded by 22 lush acres and a small “herd” of Old English Sheepdogs, a breed she’s been raising for 60 years.

Merrilee has a small “herd” of Old English Sheepdogs on her farm. She’s been raising the breed for 60 years; while she is near the end of her “dog” career, she has loved showing. “I loved going around the ring with a beautifully-moving dog with its lovely stride.” But, “Getting out of bed at dawn, being my own roadie and schlepping gear, plus raising a litter is all consuming. That, and pulling dog hair out of my food.” Still, she loves her dogs!

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