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Born in Modesto, Calfornia in 1894, Meyer studied classical violin in Paris during the first decade of the twentieth century. He came back to the United States in 1908, served in WWI, and by the early 1920s had taken up songwriting for Tin Pan Alley publishers. He began "with an enormous hit, 'My Honey's Lovin' Arms' with lyrics by Herman Ruby (1891-1939). It became a favorite of dance bands and jazz combos" including Isham Jones, Ray Miller and Jazzbo's Carolina Sernaders (Jasen, p. 282).
David Butler was an early collaborator of Buddy DeSylva's in southern California where they had attended USC together. Just before De Sylva was about to leave for New York (in the early twenties at the behest of Al Jolson who was impressed by his lyric writing abilities), Butler introduced him to Joe Meyer (who had returned home from New York) and "desperately wanted DeSylva [sic] to hear a tune he'd written; DeSylva listened reluctantly, and within half an hour had provided a lyric and title: 'California Here I Come.' (Meyer subsequently went to New York too, and composed 'Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie,' 'If You Knew Susie,' and 'A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich, and You'" (Marmorstein, p. 39).
Ed.'s note: Others have suggested De Sylva wrote the lyric for "California Here I Come" after he had gotten to New York, inspired by his desire to return to California. He finally did go back six years later, making a very successful second career for himself as a movie studio executive. Also, Joslon,cutting inon the credits for the song and singing it repeatedly in his movies, proceeded to make it into a big hit.
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Master List of Great American Songbook Songwriters
Names of songwriters who have written at least one song included in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook are listed below.
Names of songwriters with two or more song credits in the catalog (with rare exceptions) are linked to their own Cafe Songbook pages, e.g. Fields, Dorothy.
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