Eubie Blake, ragtime composer and performer, was born in 1883 in Baltimore. At a very early age he began playing his family's pump organ. His parents signed him up for piano lessons with a local teacher, and in his mid teens Blake became interested in ragtime. Despite his parents disapproval Blake began his professional music career by playing ragtime piano in Baltimore brothels, clubs and saloons. When Blake was in his mid 20’s he met Noble Sissle, and she joined Blake's band as a singer. Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake then created a vaudeville act, the Dixie Duo. They co-wrote songs and performed and they had a huge hit with their first song, "It's All Your Fault", sung by Sophie Tucker. Blake, with Sissle, expanded the band and wrote and produced the show ‘Shuffle Along’.


When it reached Broadway the cast included Josephine Baker, Florence Mills and Paul Robeson. Many of Blake's most famous songs come from that show including. "I'm Just Wild about Harry" and "Love Will Find a Way".Blake and Sissle then collaborated on other shows, and Blake also wrote shows of his own including ‘Swing It’, ‘Blackbirds’ and ‘Eubie’.  However the popularity of ragtime gradually faded and Blake gave up show business. In 1969, at the age of 56 he returned to performing and toured across America and Europe playing piano and giving lectures on ragtime music. After performing for most of life, Eubie Blake died in New York in 1983, 5 days after his one hundred’th birthday.