Felix Arndt

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"Nola" sheet music cover

Felix Arndt (May 20, 1889 – October 16, 1918) was an American pianist and composer of popular music.[1] His mother was the Countess Fevrier, related to Napoleon III.[2] His father, Hugo Arndt, was Swiss-born.[3]

Educated in New York (his music teachers included Carl Lachmund), Arndt composed songs for the famous vaudeville team of Jack Norworth and Nora Bayes, and recorded over 3000 piano rolls for Duo-Art and QRS Records. He died in New York City from the "Spanish flu" influenza.[4] Arndt is interred at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Tarrytown, NY.[5]

Arndt is best remembered for his 1915 composition "Nola," written as an engagement gift to his fiancée (and later wife), Nola Locke.[6] It is sometimes considered to be the first example of the novelty piano or "novelty ragtime" genre, published by Sam Fox Publishing Company. It was the signature theme of the Vincent Lopez orchestra, and a top ten hit for Les Paul in 1950. A vocal recording by Billy Williams, featuring lyrics by Sunny Skylar, became a minor hit in 1959.

Piano solos[edit]

  • 71st Regiment – Waltz (1908)
  • A Symphonic Nightmare – Desecration Rag No. 1 (1914)
  • From Soup to Nuts – One Step Turkey Trot (1914)
  • Kakuda – One Step Turkey Trot (1914)
  • Marionette (1914)
  • Nola (1915)
  • Toots – Rag One Step (1915)
  • An Operatic Nightmare – Desecration Rag No. 2 (1916)
  • Clover Club – Fox Trot (1918)


  • As Long As the Band Will Play – 1911 (with Harold Atteridge)
  • Snow Time – 1911 (with Bert Fitzgibbon)
  • If That is Not Love Wot? - 1911 (with Louis Weslyn)
  • When Sunday Rolls Around – 1911 (with Louis Weslyn)
  • Night Time – 1911 (with Louis Weslyn)
  • When You Know Why – 1913 (with Louis Weslyn)
  • Evr'y Rose Reminds Me of You – 1913 (with Louis Weslyn)
  • In the Shade of the Mango Tree – 1918 (with Louis Weslyn)
  • My Gal's Another Gal Like Galli-Curci – 1918 (with Louis Weslyn)
  • Nola (song) – 1922 (with James F. Burns) (posthumous)

His piano rolls reveal Arndt to be a fine pianist, and he is known to have been an influence on the young George Gershwin, who would visit him at his studio in the Aeolian Building on 42nd Street in Manhattan.


  1. ^ Mawer, D. (2014). French Music and Jazz in Conversation. Music since 1900. Cambridge University Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-107-03753-3. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  2. ^ Ewen, D. (1977). All the years of American popular music. Prentice-Hall. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-13-022442-2. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  3. ^ "Felix Arndt" (obituary) The Highland Democrat (Peekskill, NY), 26 October 1918.
  4. ^ "Trade Chat." The Music Trades, 9 November 1918.
  5. ^ "Felix Arndt" (obituary) The Highland Democrat (Peekskill, NY), 26 October 1918.
  6. ^ Shaw, A. (1989). The Jazz Age: Popular Music in the 1920s. Oxford University Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-19-536298-5. Retrieved July 4, 2018. "Nola" was the work of a New York-born composer, Felix Arndt (1889–1918), who had previously written special material for such vaudevillians as Nora Bayes and Gus Edwards. Named after Nola Locke, to whom he was engaged in 1915, ...

External links[edit]