American pop music lyricist Sam M. Lewis had a prolific and successful career from the time of his first hit in 1912 with "That Mellow Melody" throughout the 1930s with his final hit, 1939's "The Last Two Weeks in July." Born and raised in N.Y.C. in the late 1800s, Lewis had already worked many odd jobs as a youth, including singing in cafés, when he began writing material for himself and others. Lewis penned a few more tunes after his initial breakthrough before teaming up with lyricist Joe Young in 1916. The Tin Pan Alley duo collaborated with a number of different composers -- including George Meyer, Fred Ahlert, Jean Schwartz, Ray Henderson, and more -- on many successful songs, some of which were used in stage musicals like Sinbad (1918) and Kid Boots (1924). Lewis and Young had a prolific output and remained partners through 1930. Some of their best-known songs include "Rock-a-bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody" (1918), "How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?" (1919), "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue," "I'm Sitting on Top of the World" (1925), "In a Little Spanish Town" (1926), and "Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder" (1930). After this, Lewis wrote lyrics solo, collaborating with composers such as Victor Young and J. Fred Coots for hits including "Just Friends" (1931), "Street of Dreams" (1933), and the much-recorded "Gloomy Sunday" (1936).
Share this page