Duke Ellington was born on April 29, 1899 in Washington, D.C. He composed thousands of songs for the stage. At age seven, he began to play the piano. He earned his nickname "Duke" for his gentlemanly ways. Ellington made hundreds of recordings with his band. They appeared on television and on radio. Some of the songs he composed are: "Concerto for Cootie," "Cotton Tail," and "Ko-Ko."