From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Claude Demetrius, also written as DeMetruis, (August 3, 1916 - May 1, 1988) was an African American songwriter.
Born in Bath, Maine, by his early twenties he was in New York City writing music for and/or with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Witherspoon and B.B. King. Demetrius wrote the 1945 musical comedy short film Open the Door, Richard. During the 1940s, he was very closely associated with Louis Jordan. He wrote songs with Jordan that included material for the 1946 Black musical film Beware in which Jordan had the starring role. Some of Demetrius' best known compositions from that era were co-written with Jordan's wife, Fleecie Moore, including the song "Ain't That Just Like a Woman (They'll Do It Every Time)."
For two decades, Claude Demetrius made a reasonably good living but in 1956 his income would change dramatically after he began writing for Gladys Music, Inc.. Newly formed by Jean and Julian Aberbach, the company owned the exclusive publishing rights to the music of Elvis Presley. Working for Gladys Music, Demetrius co-wrote a song called "I Was The One" that was the B-side to Presley's first RCA single, "Heartbreak Hotel." In 1957 he composed "Mean Woman Blues" for Presley's 1957 motion picture soundtrack, Loving You that was released on the record album of the same name as well as on Side 2 of a four-song EP record. Demetrius topped off a very successful year when he co-wrote with Aaron Schroeder the song "Santa, Bring My Baby Back (To Me)" which appeared on the 1957 Elvis' Christmas Album.
In 1958, Demetrius scored his biggest success of all with his composition of "Hard Headed Woman." The song became the first rock and roll single to earn the RIAA designation, "Gold Record." Demetrius wrote it alone and "Dixieland Rock" with Fred Wise for Presley's 1958 film King Creole. Both songs were part of the record album but "Hard Headed Woman" was also released as a 45rpm single that went to No. 1 on the Billboard music charts.
In 1963, "Mean Woman Blues" was recorded again, this time by Roy Orbison on a 45rpm single that went to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 music charts and was part of Orbison's 1964 album, More of Roy Orbison's Greatest Hits. The timeless rock song was also sung by him on the 1989 HBO acclaimed television special called Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night.
Claude Demetrius died in 1988 in New York City.