Noble Sissle was an American composer, lyricist, singer, and bandleader. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, he began singing as a child. He attended DePauw University before turning to music full-time. In 1916, he moved to Europe and joined James Reese Europe’s society orchestra. Sissle and Europe established the regimental band for the 369th Infantry Regiment (“Harlem Hellfighters”) and Sissle served as Europe’s sergeant and lead vocalist in France during the First World War. Sissle left the army after the war and joined Europe’s civilian version of the band.
Following the war, Sissle formed a vaudeville act, “The Dixie Duo”, with Eubie Blake. Together, they worked on the musical Shuffle Along, along with Aubrey Lyles and Flourney Miller. The show was a huge success on Broadway and catapulted Sissle and Blake’s song, “I’m Just Wild About Harry” into the popular songbook. Sissle and his band went on to perform in London and New York throughout the 1930s and Sissle accompanied Adelaide Hall on the piano at Broadway’s Palace Theatre during her world tour.
In 1954, Sissle became a disc jockey for the New York radio station WMGM and presented a show featuring the music of African-American artists. He moved to Florida later in life and died in Tampa at the age of 86.
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