Harney, Ben

Harney, (Benjamin Robertson) Ben

(1872–1938) ragtime songwriter, performer; born in Louisville, Ky. Trained in classical piano, at age 17 he composed one of the earliest ragtime songs, "You've Been a Good Old Wagon But You've Done Broke Down," which became a big hit. He moved to New York in 1896 and performed the new musical style. Before suffering a heart attack in 1928, he toured the United States, Europe, and the Far East. With the rise of jazz, ragtime declined and he died in poverty.
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Pictured are Terry Harney, Ben Atherton, Steve Freeman, Steve Griffin and Les Wilkinson.