Spencer, Émile-Alexis-Xavier, French composer; b. Brussels, May 24, 1859; d. Nanterre, Seine, May 24, 1921. He studied piano in Brussels. In 1881 he went to Paris, where he found his métier as a composer for vaudeville; he was credited with about 4, 000 chansonettes, which were popularized by famous singers, among them Yvette Guilbert. His chanson Jambes de bois was used by Stravinsky in Petrouchka under the impression that it was a folk song; when Spencer brought an action for infringement on his authorship, Stravinsky agreed to pay him part of the royalties for performances.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire