George W. Meyer was a composer born in Boston in 1884. He had hits spanning many years, including “”My Song of the Nile,” “Lonesome,” “My Mother’s Rosary” and the great novelty song “Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go with Friday on Saturday Night?” PS However, his biggest hit was probably “For Me and My Gal,” with lyrics written by Edgar Leslie and E. Ray Goetz. When Meyer died, his wife had the song title inscribed on his tombstone. RCG
The song “was a forerunner of the jazz age.” RCG Its lyrics about “bells ringing and birds singing as two turtle doves go off to their wedding” RCG showed that in 1917, even as Americans were consumed by World War I, they still relished love songs.
The popular vaudeville team of Van & Schenck recorded the song and took it #1. Others to sing it on vaudeville included Belle Baker, Fanny Brice, Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, Al Jolson, Sophie Tucker. 1917 saw three more chart version in addition to Van & Schenck’s – Prince’s Orchestra (#5), Henry Burr & Albert Campbell (#7), and Billy Murray (#9). PM The sheet music moved three million copies.
The song “was still on pianos all over America” RCG In 1942 when Gene Kelly and Judy Garland sang the song in the movie of the same name. The movie celebrated vaudeville and other hits from the World War I era. Their recording was a #3 hit featuring Garland’s then-husband David Rose and His Orchestra. JA Guy Lombardo also charted with a version of the song in 1943, reaching #17.
For Me and My Gal (Gene Kelly & Judy Garland)
Resources and Related Links:
- DMDB page for “For Me and My Gal”
- Van & Schenck’s DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry
- JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 60.
- PS ParlorSongs.com Lessons in America’s Popular Music History
- RCG RimChiGuy.com The Old Songs (1900-1929)
- PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 499.