CWRU Links

SISSLE, NOBLE

SISSLE, NOBLE (10 Aug. 1889-17 Dec. 1975), black composer, bandleader, and vocalist, was born in Indianapolis, son of Rev. George A. and Martha (Scott) Sissle. He moved with his family to Cleveland in 1909, graduated from CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL in 1911, and studied at DePauw University (1913) and Butler University (1914-15). Sissle began singing professionally in 1908, in 1915 organizing his own short-lived group in Indianapolis, also singing in Baltimore where he met Eubie Blake and formed a songwriting team, with Sissle as lyricist. Sissle joined a New York society dance orchestra in 1916. In 1917 he joined the 369th Infantry Regimental Band and served overseas until 1919. Sissle and Blake toured the vaudeville circuit. In 1921 their production of "Shuffle Along" opened an 18-month Broadway run, followed by another 2 years on tour. Sissle and Blake toured Europe in 1926. After dissolving the partnership, Sissle performed as a soloist and with his own band in Europe before returning to New York in 1931. From the mid-1930s to mid-1950s, Sissle led his own Noble Sissle Orchestra, touring the U.S. In 1937 he helped found the Negro Actors' Guild, serving as its first president. During WORLD WAR II he toured with a USO troop. Throughout the 1940s, Sissle wrote columns for the New York Age and Amsterdam News. During the 1960s, he continued managing his own publishing company and nightclub, as well as leading his own orchestra.

Sissle married was married to Harriet Toye. They had three children: Noble, Cynthia, and Helen (Toye). Sissle retired to Florida in the 1970s and died there. He was buried in New York City.


Kimball, Robert. Reminiscing with Sissle and Blake (1973).