Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard


The Music

Lemon Drops


Music written and performed by Mike Bernard
Published by Jos. Morris Co. in 1910


Phantom Dance


The audio files of Mike Bernard’s original song “Phantom Dance,” published in 1902, were created by Bill Gill from “scratch” by using the sheet music to enter the music notes into the Finale program. With Finale, he was able to create a clear and concise audio file in contrast to that of a 100 year old recording made with much older technology. Click here to listen. And thank you, Bill!


The Neutrality March


The audio files of Mike Bernard’s original song “The Neutrality March,” published in 1915, were created by Bill Gill using the Finale program. Click here to listen.


The Battle of San Juan Hill


Music adapted and performed by Mike Bernard
Recorded by Columbia Records in 1912
Mike Bernard had an amazing ability to recreate the sounds of battle on his piano. This song was a real crowd-pleaser! It was this kind of skill and showmanship that prompted a music reviewer for the Chicago Daily Journal, in 1910, to describe one of Bernard’s performances as “a piano-playing exhibition that looks like an acrobatic sideshow and sounds like a speeding pianola.”


The Race Horse Rag


Music written and performed by Mike Bernard
Published by Jos. Morris Co. in 1911


The Stinging Bee


The audio files of Mike Bernard’s original song “The Stinging Bee,” published in 1908, were created by Bill Gill using the Finale program. Click here to listen.


That Ticklin’ Rag


The audio files of Mike Bernard’s original song “That Ticklin’ Rag,” published in 1910, were created by Bill Gill using the Finale program. Click here to listen.


Lift Every Voice and Sing


African American composer and performer J. Rosamond Johnson, an important character in the fictionalized story of Temptation Rag, wrote the music to “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” His brother, the poet James Weldon Johnson, wrote the lyrics. The song was first performed in 1900 and later was widely regarded as the “Negro National Anthem.” The recording here is a modern, acapella version of the traditional hymn, performed by the group Committed. (Note: The correct spelling of the composer’s name is “Rosamond.”)


“You’ve Been a Good Old Wagon but You Done Broke Down”


Music and Lyrics by Ben Harney
Published 1895
Ben Harney has been called the “Father of Ragtime.” As the fictionalized story of Temptation Rag explores, however, such a title is misleading since ragtime originated in the African American community. Nevertheless, Harney’s “Good Old Wagon” is thought to be the first published ragtime song. Harney, who popularized ragtime music among white audiences, was at one time the highest-paid entertainer in vaudeville. Surprisingly, there are no known recordings of Harney playing ragtime piano and apparently only one recording of him singing unaccompanied. Take a listen to him singing “Good Old Wagon.” I think of him kind of like the Bob Dylan of the ragtime era!  (Note: The name Ben Harvey, at the start of this video, is the producer’s blooper. It is, of course, Ben Harney.)