Sunday, June 9, 2013

Composer - Billie Brown (1894 - 1921)

Composer Billie Brown was thought to have been 18 years old when she died of Smallpox in December 4, 1921. In reality she was about 26 years old the fact that she was an accomplished composer and had a total of seven tunes published (two of them posthumously) was still a feat.

Published posthumously. 
Her tunes ranging from ballads to ragtime were successful at the time of their publication. Billie Brown appears to have been the adopted daughter of William and Anna (Welker) Brown. According to census data she was listed as being born in June of 1894 as Irene Anderson her father being born in Sweden. Her adoptive father William Brown was a saloon keeper.

Over the years her named changed to Willie Anderson and then to Billie Brown. With the help of her mother writing the lyrics to her compositions her music began being published in 1915 with her first known piece called Aloha Oe (Variations).

Further tunes were published including one by her mother Anna Brown, Shower of Kisses (1915) in which Billie did the arranging. Two version of one called The Star and the Rose published in 1918 & 1919, and Dangerous Blues in 1921.


In 1921 the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded Dangerous Blues along with several other performers including Eubie Blake and Mamie Smith.

After her death a few pieces were published posthumously including the popular Lonesome Mama Blues in 1922.

Lullaby Moon (1922) and What's on Your Mind (1924) were the only other tunes published under her name.

Follow this link for more information on Bille Brown's short life.

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