James Hubert "Eubie" Blake (February 7, 1883 or 1887 - February 12, 1983) was a composer of ragtime, jazz, and popular music, as well as a lyricist. With his long time collaborator Noble Sissle Blake wrote the Broadway Musical Shuffle Along in 1921; this was the first Broadway musical ever to be written and directed by African-Americans. Blake's hit compositions included "Bandana Days" "Charleston Rag", "Love Will Find A Way", "Memories of You", and "I'm Just Wild About Harry".
In 1978, the musical Eubie opened on Broadway.
Blake continued to play and record until shortly before what everyone thought was his 100th birthday. He uttered the memorable quote, "If I'd known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."
On his passing in 1983, he was interred in the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
Recent research by Peter Hanley in 2003, however, suggests that his claimed great age was an exaggeration. His birthday is recorded in the 1900 US Census as 'February 1887', and when he had applied for a social security number in 1937, had given his date of birth as 7th February 1887. Hanley himself concluded 'In the final analysis, however, the fact that he was only ninety-six years of age and not one hundred when he died cannot detract, in any way, from his extraordinary achievements. He will always remain among the finest popular composers and songwriters of his era.'
Blake's authorized biography, Eubie Blake, was written by Al Rose .
In 1995 Eubie Blake was honored with a United States postage stamp. James Hubert Blake High School was built in Silver Spring, Maryland in 1998.
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46