Songwriter, lyricist popular in 1920s

Browse Song Catalog: ASCAP

Roy Turk


Wrote Elvis' "Are You Lonesome Tonight" 

Roy Turk was born in New York City on September 20, 1892. He attended City College, and during World War I he served in the United States Navy. After the war, be began writing song lyrics, including special material for such successful vaudeville performers as Rock & White, Nora Bayes and Sophie Tucker. He then became a staff writer for music publishers on Tin Pan Alley, and later went to Hollywood where he wrote song lyrics for films.

Among his collaborators were Harry Akst, George Meyer, Charles Tobias, Arthur Johnston, Maceo Pinkard, and J. Russel Robinson. From 1928 through 1933, he worked especially closely with Fred Ahlert, with whom he had many popular successes. Probably his best known song is "Mean To Me", written in 1.928 to music by Fred Ablert, which has become a jazz standard, ,emorably recorded by Billie Holiday and others.

Other successes include "I'll Get By" (1928, music by FredAhlert), "Walkin' My Baby Back Home" (193 1, with Harry Richmond and composer Fred Ahlert), "I Don't Know Why (I Love You Like Do)" (1931 with Fred Ahlert), "Love, You Funny Thing" (1932, music by Fred Ahlert), "Mandy, Make Up Your Mind" (with George W. Meyer and Arthur Johnston), "I'm a Little Blackbird Looking For a Bluebird" (with George W. Meyer and Arthur Johnston), "After My Laughter Came Tears" (1932, with Charles Tobias), "Beale Street Mama" (1932, with J. Russel Robinson) and "Aggravatin' Poppa" (1933, with composer J. Russel Robinson),k which was a 1933 hit for Sophie T ucker. With additional lyrics by Bing Crosby and music by Fred Ahlert, "Where The Blue Of The Night Meets The Gold Of The Day" (193 1) became famous as Bing Crosby's theme song.

Roy Turk died in Hollywood, California on November 30, 1934, However, his songs have proven to be timeless - in 1960, Colonel Parker convinced Elvis Presley to record a song written in 1927 by Roy Turk and Lou Handman. The song was "Are You Lonesome Tonight'" and became one of Presley's greatest hits.

Biggest hit was 1929 "Mean To Me" with partner Fred Ahlert