Ernest Hogan

Ernest Hogan was a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky. His first big hit was the first of a new genre of music, for which he coined the term "ragtime", in 1895. Ernest Hogan grew up in the now historic Shake Rag District of Bowling Green. (Could there be a connection to the term "ragtime"?)

Here is his obituary from the Chicago Record-Herald in 1909:

 Bowling Green Mural features Ernest Hogan

This mural was painted by the kids in Kaleidoscope. 

More About Ernest Hogan, Ragtime Originator

Ernest Hogan was a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky.  He grew up in the Shake Rag District of Bowling Green in the 1860's and 1870's. As a teen, he joined a traveling minstrel show, where he honed his musical and comedic talents. His first big hit was the first of a new genre of music, which he coined "ragtime", in 1895.

Scott Joplin was quick to pick up the ragtime style in his 1898 composition, Maple Leaf Rag. However, it was Ernest Hogan who went on to become the world's most popular African-American entertainer of his time. He was the first black entertainer to produce (and star in) a New York Broadway show, The Oyster Man, in 1909.

Ernest Hogan died of tuberculosis later that year at the age of 44.

Many of Hogan's songs utilize racist humor, such as using the word "coon" and stereotyped behaviors. Later in his life he regretted having to use this form of humor, yet it was his only means of access to the racist entertainment world of his day.

Regardless of the titles and words of his songs, the music itself had a profound influence on the development of original American music of the 20th century, including jazz and blues.

[Thanks to Ray Buckberry for his extensive research on Ernest Hogan.]

Order a copy of Dr Rick's CD!

Dr Voakes has arranged and performed 16 of Ernest Hogan's songs on this enjoyable CD. He uses electronic instruments to simulate instruments of Ernest Hogan's time. To order, send a check or money order for $12 to:
Rick Voakes
PO Box 54
Bowling Green, KY 42102


© Rick Voakes 2021