Turner Layton

From Wind Repertory Project
Turner Layton


Turner Layton (born John Turner Layton Jr., 2 July 1894, Washington, D.C. – 6 February 1978, London, Eng. ) was an African American songwriter, singer and pianist.

Turner was the son of John Turner Layton, "a bass singer, music educator and hymn composer." After receiving a musical education from his father, he attended the Howard University Dental School, later coming to New York City in the early 1900s, where he met future songwriting partner, lyricist Henry Creamer.

Layton is known for his many compositions with Creamer, the best known of which is the standard After You've Gone, written in 1918 and first popularized by Sophie Tucker. Turner and Creamer had another hit with Way Down Yonder in New Orleans in 1922. It was recorded in 1927 by Frank Trumbauer (with Bix Beiderbecke), and was a rock and roll hit for Freddy Cannon in 1959. Turner and Layton contributed music and lyrics to many Broadway shows, including the Ziegfeld Follies of 1917, 1921 and 1922, Three Showers (1920), Some Party (1922) and Creamer's own Strut Miss Lizzie (1922).

Beginning in 1924, Layton found major popular success in England with Clarence "Tandy" Johnstone as a member of the group Layton & Johnstone, quickly earning a reputation as a cabaret act, with the pair allegedly selling over "10 million records". An elegant song stylist, he held a regular, successful spot over the years at the Café de Paris, a London club, until his retirement in 1946.

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