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Eubie Blake

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James Hubert Blake (February 7, 1887 – February 12, 1983), better known as Eubie Blake, was an American composer, lyricist, and pianist of ragtime, jazz, and popular music. In 1921, Blake and long-time collaborator Noble Sissle wrote the Broadway musical Shuffle Along, one of the first Broadway musicals to be written and directed by African Americans. Blake’s compositions included such hits as, “Bandana Days”, “Charleston Rag”, “Love Will Find A Way”, “Memories of You” and “I’m Just Wild About Harry”. The musical Eubie!, which opened on Broadway in 1978, featured his works.

Blake was born at 319 Forrest Street in Baltimore, Maryland, to former slaves John Sumner Blake (1838–1917) and Emily “Emma” Johnstone (1861–1927). He was the only surviving child of eight, all the rest of whom died in infancy. In 1894, the family moved to 414 North Eden Street, and later to 1510 Jefferson Street. John Blake worked earning US$9.00 weekly as a stevedore on the Baltimore docks.

In later years, Blake claimed to have been born in 1883, but his Social Security application and all other official documents issued in the first half of his life list his year of birth as 1887. Many otherwise reliable sources mistakenly give his year of birth as the earlier year, reprinting the false information that had been printed before these official documents and census records came to light.

Blake’s musical training began when he was just four or five years old.

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  • johntardsbaby66

    Whoa, he was almost 100 when he died.

    27 Sep 2010 Reply
  • LondonLouis

    Johnnie Carson was apparently in 1973. According to Wikipedia, he did Saturday Night Live in 1979, presumably as a result of the Boradway show, Eubie, based round his life's work. It's always nice when the world rediscovers a genuine talent in their old age. I'm a sucker for what Ry Cooder did for those aged Cuban stars in Buena Vista, or for the rediscovery of Mississippi John Hurt in the 1960s folk boom (in Hurt's case, he had never made it out of his wooden shack, so had never had any initial success, as Eubie and the Cubans had had).

    8 Feb 2009 Reply
  • vmoreaux

    Never mind - must have been the 70's. In any case, I'm old now, but Eubie ain't. You gotta love this guy. Thank you Last.FM

    6 Oct 2008 Reply
  • vmoreaux

    Used to see this guy on Johnny Carson in the 80's. Thank you Lord for EB!!!!

    6 Oct 2008 Reply
  • Shinmeiryuougi

    Underrated as hell..

    29 Mar 2008 Reply
  • kreisky

    Yo

    26 May 2006 Reply

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