Henry Creamer

From Wind Repertory Project
Henry Creamer


Henry Sterling Creamer (21 June 1879, Richmond, Va. – 14 October 1930, New York) was an American popular song lyricist.

Henry Creamer first performed on the vaudeville circuit in the U.S. and in Europe in a duo with pianist Turner Layton, with whom he also co-wrote songs. Two of their most enduring songs, for which Creamer wrote the lyrics, are After You've Gone (1918), which was popularized by Sophie Tucker, and Way Down Yonder in New Orleans (1922), which was included in the soundtrack for one of the dance numbers in the Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers 1939 movie The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle.

Success on Broadway arrived in 1922 when Creamer’s Creole Production Company produced the show Strut Miss Lizzie, and in 1923 to seal their success, Bessie Smith recorded their song Whoa, Tillie, Take Your Time. He moved on to collaborate with other notable composers including J.C. Johnson, Jimmy Johnson, and vaudevillian Bert Williams.

In the fall of 1926, Creamer was commissioned to direct the Cotton Club revue, The Creole Cocktail. Also in 1926, Creamer and James P. Johnson wrote Alabama Stomp. In 1930 they achieved another hit with If I Could Be with You.

Creamer was a co-founder with James Reese Europe of the Clef Club, an important early organization for African-American musicians and entertainers in New York City.

Works for Winds