Sissle, Noble

Sissle, (Lee) Noble

(1889–1975) lyricist, singer; born in Indianapolis, Ind. He began singing with the famous Society Orchestra. In 1915 he met Eubie Blake and they toured in vaudeville for several years, performing their own songs including "Good Night, Sweet Angeline" (1916). In 1921 they joined with the vaudeville team in creating Shuffle Along, the first black musical to play in a major Broadway theater during the regular season; it spawned a series of similar musicals, several by Sissle and Blake, and also produced Sissle and Blake's classic, "I'm Just Wild about Harry." In the 1930s and 1940s Sissle was a bandleader and cofounder of the Negro Actors Guild. In 1972 he and Blake received Yale University's Ellington medal. Sissle and Blake's songs would continue to be heard in later Broadway musicals such as Bubbling Brown Sugar (1976) and Eubie (1978).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.