Felix Arndt was born in 1889 in New York to an aristocratic mother, Countess Fevrier, who was purportedly related to Napoleon III. He was a fine pianist and produced over 3000 piano roll recordings, many of which still survive today. Nola, his biggest hit, was written as an engagement piece in 1915, ten months before his wedding to fellow musician, Nola Locke. Subtitled “A Silhouette for Piano”. It became (and remains) a very popular piano piece and is sometimes considered the first example of novelty piano or novelty ragtime music.
Arndt was certainly an influence on the young and then unknown George Gershwin, who would visit him at his studio. Sadly, Arndt died, aged just 29, of Spanish Flu in the 1918 pandemic.
The title might not be familiar – but you’ll almost certainly recognise the catchy theme!