Skip to Content
HomeAbout this siteHelpSearch this site The Library of Congress
America's Story from America's LibraryMeet Amazing AmericansJump Back in TimeExplore the StatesJoin America at PlaySee, Hear and Sing
Meet Amazing Americans Musicians & Composers Duke Ellington
 
Drug store with soda fountain, possibly in Detroit, Michigan.
A drug store with a soda fountain like this one inspired "Soda Fountain Rag"

Enlarge this image
Duke Ellington's Early Years
At age 15, Ellington worked at a soda fountain and wrote his first song, "Soda Fountain Rag." By his late teens, he was making enough money to help his parents move into a better house. One of Ellington's first professional gigs was a party where he played so long that his hand bled. He earned 75 cents. "It was the most money I had ever seen," he said. "I rushed all the way home to my mother with it. But I could not touch a piano key for weeks . . . " What do you think was Ellington's next move?
Back page 2 of 3 Next



Library Of Congress | Legal Notices | Privacy | Site Map | Contact Us