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Roy Turk


(1892 - 1934)

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Big Bands Database


On Broadway at ibdb.com
Films at nytimes.com
Roy Turk began his career writing for vaudeville performers such as Sophie Tucker and Nora Bayes. “Aggravatin’ Poppa” (written later in 1933 with composer J. Russel Robinson) became a feature of Tucker’s act. But ultimately Turk contributed a host of songs to the standards repertoire. One of his early hits, ”Gimme a Little Kiss, Will Ya, Huh?” written with Jack Smith and Maceo Pinkard, enjoyed popularity years after its creation when it was picked up by both Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Another early hit, written with Lou Handman in 1926, was “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” which many people will associate with Elvis Presley, who recorded it in 1960.

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

Ten Cents a Dance

Ruth Etting Includes "Mean to Me"

Walkin' My Baby Back Home

Jo Stafford

The World Of Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole Includes "Walkin' My Baby..."

Centennial Anthology of Decca Recordings

Bing Crosby Includes "Where the Blue of the Night..."

I'll Get By

Billie Holiday
Reading and Viewing

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Roy Turk

Just Because You're You


Roy turk and Fred E. Ahlert

Mean to Me

De sylva, Brown and Henderson Inc

Roy Turk

I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)


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