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Turk met songwriter Fred Ahlert in 1928 and together they enjoyed a string of successes, beginning with “I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You)” which continued in popularity through the ‘40s when it was number two on the 1944 Hit Parade, recorded by Harry James. In 1929 they wrote their most famous song, “Mean to Me,” which was a hit for Ruth Etting and a favorite of jazz musicians. Their 1930 collaboration with Harry Richmond produced “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home,” which enjoyed a revival in the ‘50s when both Nat “King” Cole and Johnnie Ray recorded it. It was number one on the Hit Parade in 1952.
Bing Crosby collaborated with the songwriting team in 1931 on “Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day)” which became the theme song for his radio show. That same year the pair wrote “I Don’t Know Why (I Love You Like I Do)” which enjoyed a second round of popularity when it was recorded by Tommy Dorsey in 1946. “Love, You Funny Thing!” was a hit for Louis Armstrong in 1932.
Turk’s career was cut short when he died in 1934, but his songs have lived on in the Broadway hit, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1978) and in its 1988 revival.
- Sandra Burlingame
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Just Because You're You
Roy turk and Fred E. Ahlert
Mean to Me
De sylva, Brown and Henderson Inc
I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)
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