Friday, February 7, 2014

Happy birthday, composer Eubie Blake

It is the birthday of jazz composer and performer Eubie Blake (1887), one of the finest popular songwriters of his era. Among his hit songs were Bandana Days, Charleston Rag, Love Will Find a Way, Memories of You, and I’m Just Wild About Harry. Along with Noble Sissie, he wrote music and lyrics for the first hit Broadway musical by and about African Americans, Shuffle Along (1921). Blake remained a popular performer throughout his life and continued to captivate audiences until just before his death at age 96. Scholars have determined that records indicating he died at 100 are incorrect. Here is a performance of Charleston Rag, a song he said he wrote in 1899 at age 12.

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