Mean to Me


Mean to Me (Fred Ahlert, Roy Turk)

Short profiles of the songwriters, from Wikipedia:

Roy Turk (September 20, 1892 in New York, New York – November 30, 1934 in Hollywood, California) was a U.S. songwriter. A lyricist, he frequently collaborated with composer Fred E. Ahlert – their popular 1928 song “Mean to Me” has become a jazz standard. He also worked with composers such as Harry Akst, George Meyer, Charles Tobias, Arthur Johnston, Maceo Pinkard, and J. Russell Robinson. Turk was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.

Fred E. Ahlert (19 September 1892 – 20 October 1953) was an American composer and songwriter. He received a degree from Fordham Law School, but instead of pursuing a legal career he began work as an arranger, initially for Irving Aaronson and his Commanders and then for composer and band-leader Fred Waring. Ahlert had his first hit song in 1920, and eventually started his own publishing company in 1928.

His songs have been recorded by numerous artists, including Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Fats Waller. Ahlert most frequently collaborated with lyricist Roy Turk, but he also wrote with others including Joe Young and Edgar Leslie.


Fred Ahlert compositions, with lyric by Roy Turk unless otherwise noted:

  • “I Don’t Know Why (I Just Do)”
  • “I’ll Get By (as Long as I Have You)”
  • “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” (with Joe Young)
  • “Love, You Funny Thing!”
  • “Mean to Me”
  • “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home”
  • “Where the Blue of the Night (Meets the Gold of the Day)”


Ruth Etting  — recorded in New York on 11 March 1929; accompanied by Tommy Dorsey, t / Charlie Butterfield, tb / Jimmy Dorsey, cl / ? Frank Signorelli, p / Eddie Lang, g / Joe Venuti / Joe Tarto or Ward Lay, sb


Annette Hanshaw  – recorded 20 February 1929


Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, vocal: Babe Click — from the short film Songwriter’s Revue (1930); introduced by emcee Jack Benny


Phil Napoleon’s Emperors – 1929

Teddy Wilson & his Orchestra with Billie Holiday — one of two issued recordings of the song made during an 11 May 1937 session in New York City

Buck Clayton, t / Buster Bailey, cl / Johnny Hodges, as / Lester Young, ts / Teddy Wilson, p / Allan Reuss, g / Artie Bernstein, sb / Cozy Cole, d / Billie Holiday, v


Illinois Jacquet and his Orchestra – The label (second video, same recording) includes the credit “(Norman Granz supervision)” – recording and release dates not known




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