Roy Turk

About Roy Turk

American lyricist Roy Turk wrote popular hits during the 1920s and early '30s, many of which were used in Broadway and Hollywood musicals of the time. Born in N.Y.C., in 1892, Turk studied at CCNY and then served in the military during WWI. After being discharged from the service, Turk got his start in the music business with jobs writing for vaudeville and publishing houses, and his first hit came with 1919's "Oh How I Laugh When I Think How I Cried About You." Turk landed only a few more hits over the next few years, and the first stage production to use some of his songs, Plantation Revue (1922), was unsuccessful; but 1923 brought a success that helped establish Turk's career, Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1923. He wrote two successful songs for this show, and two more independent hits that year. From this point until a year before his death, Turk had several hits each year, including tunes for the 1930 films In Gay Madrid, Free and Easy, and Children of Pleasure. Some of his best-known songs are "Aggravatin' Papa" (1922), "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" (1926), "I'll Get By" (1928), "Mean to Me" (1929), "Walkin' My Baby Back Home," "I Don't Know Why," Bing Crosby's theme song "Where the Blue of the Night" (1931), "Love, You Funny Thing" (1932), and his final musical success, "I Couldn't Tell Them What to Do" (1933). Turk's main collaborator during his career was composer Fred Ahlert, but he also co-wrote songs with composers Harry Akst, George Meyer, Maceo Pinkard, J. Russel Robinson, and Charles Tobias. ~ Joslyn Layne