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Eugene Delbert Greene (June 9, 1857 – April 5, 1930), better known as Gene Greene was an American entertainer, singer and composer, nicknamed "The Ragtime King". He was a vaudeville star and made some of the earliest sound recordings of scat singing in 1911 for Columbia Records and Victor Records and was a popular ragtime performer.
Greene was born in Aurora, Illinois and moved to Chicago as a young child. He began his professional career in the late 1890s with his future wife Blanche Werner. They performed in vaudeville first as Manjonita and Eugene and then as Greene & Werner. Greene began performing as a solo act around 1909. He toured England in 1912 and 1913 and Australia in 1913 and 1914. His pianist was on these tours was Charley Straight. Greene continued to be a popular vaudeville performer in the United States and Canada until his death backstage immediately after a vaudeville performance at the Grand Opera House in New York in 1930.
Greene was closely associated with the song "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier" by Alfred Bryan and Al Piantadosi. This song was one of the extremely few anti-war music-hall songs during the First World War, most music-hall songs being fiercely pro-war. This reflected the views of Chicago's large German population at the time, but the song was also well-known, and controversial, in Britain.
Recordings of Greene are scarce in the compact disc era. One track, "King of the Bungaloos" recorded on February 17, 1911, can be found on Pop Music The Early Years 1890-1950, part of Sony Music's Soundtrack For A Century box set. Another recording, "Frankie and Johnny" by the Leighton Brothers, is discussed and played by Peter C. Muir in a video to accompany his book Long Lost Blues. Greene and Straight recorded the song for Pathé Records in London during their 1912–1913 tour of England.
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