Bob Cole

Robert Allen "Bob" Cole (July 1, 1869August 2, 1911), American composer, actor, playwright, and stage producer and director.

In collaboration with Billy Johnson, he wrote and produced A Trip to Coontown (1898), the first musical entirely created and owned by black showmen. The popular song La Hoola Boola (1898) was also a result of their collaboration. Cole later partnered with brothers J. Rosamond Johnson, pianist and singer, and James Weldon Johnson, pianist, guitarist and lawyer, which resulted in over 200 songs.

Their vaudeville act featured classical piano pieces and their musicals featured sophisticated lyrics without the usual stereotypes such as "hot-mamas" and watermelons. Success enabled Cole and Rosamond to tour America and Europe with their act. The trio's most popular songs were Louisiana Lize and Under the Bamboo Tree (1901?). Their more successful musicals were The Shoo-Fly Regiment (1906) and The Red Moon (1908, written without Weldon).

Tragically, Cole killed himself in 1911 after a nervous breakdown and period of clinical depression that worsened in 1910.

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