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In Tune -- by Bill Fuller
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Joseph Meyer               May 2008

 Joe Meyer  seems to be an oft-overlooked Tin Pan Alley specialist who churned
out some memorable tunes that have become standards of the jazz repertoire. He
was born in California near the end of the 19th century. His folks sent him to
France to study violin when he was 13-years-old. When he came back he finished
high school and started playing violin professionally in a San Francisco café.  
During World War I he served in the army and upon his return he entered the
business world and also started to dabble in songwriting. It wasn’t till 1921, that
he decided for sure that songwriting was what he wanted to do. So he packed up,
went to New York, and took up residence on Tin Pan Alley:

MY HONEY’S LOVIN’ ARMS – written in 1922, with lyricist Harry Ruby, this was
Joe’s first big success, but not his greatest. It was recorded by the California
Ramblers, Joe Venuti and  Tommy Dorsey in 1928, and Benny Goodman in1939,
but its most popular recording was by the Isham  Jones Orchestra in 1922. In more
recent years it was even recorded by Barbara Striesand.

CALIFORNIA HERE I COME – also written in 1922, but this time with lyricist
Buddy DeSylva. This became the #1 recording of Al Jolson as well as Joe’s best
known composition. It was introduced in the musical “Bomba” and later became
the theme song of the Abe Lyman Orchestra. It was used in the 1946 film “The
Jolson Story” and the 1952 film “With a Song in My Heart.”

CLAP HANDS, HERE COMES CHARLIE – written in 1925 in collaboration with
Billy Rose and Ballard MacDonald, this tune was introduced in vaudeville by the
team of Salt and Pepper. It was first recorded by Johnny Marvin and was revived
in 1930 by the Chick Webb Orchestra. Early on it was the theme song of Charlie
Kunz and later (in the 40’s) became the theme song of Charlie Barnett.

CRAZY RHYTHM – co-composed in 1928, by Joe with Roger Wolfe Kahn and
lyrics by Irving Caesar. It was introduced by Ben Bernie, Peggy Chamberlain, and
June O’Dea in the musical “Here’s Howe.” Recorded first by the Roger Wolf Kahn
Orchestra, it was revived by Dan Dailey in the 1948 film, “You Were Meant for
Me.”
Earlville Association for Ragtime Lovers Yearning
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization
EARLYJAS