Vera Lynn – music reviews

Vera Lynn - music reviews

The release of “We’ll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn” coincides with the 70th anniversary of the declaration of WW2. A musical goddess of the 1940s, Vera Lynn prepares to enchant the nation once more…

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With the release of her album “We’ll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn“, that coincided with the 70th anniversary of the declaration of WW2, Dame Vera Lynn – who enchanted the nation during World War II – recently topped the album chart aged 92. Yes, 92.

Born Vera Welch on 20 March, 1917 in the East End of London, her career began at the tender age of seven singing in Working Men’s Clubs alongside her father. In the 1920s and ’30s she had a successful radio career with Joe Loss and Charlie Kunz, but it was during World War II that her career flourished when she earned the title of “Forces sweetheart”. Oozing girl next-door charm, Vera became the iconic figure we know today. She captured the imagination of the public with her vim and vigour, connecting with both the men fighting for their country and those left behind praying for their loved ones. After the war, Vera Lynn’s career went from strength to strength, accumulating hits in the US and the UK.

With such a wealth of songs to choose from, the album is bound to disappoint some of her fans but with tracks ranging from her first solo record; 1936’s “Up The Wooden Hill To Bedfordshire” to classics such as “We’ll Meet Again”, “Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye” and “As Time Goes By”, it has a great selection of songs for everyone to enjoy.

The opening track, “(There’ll be bluebirds over) The White Cliffs of Dover” embeds itself in your subconscious with its gentle arrangement of piano and strings and Vera’s powerful, timeless voice. It captures the doughty resistance and optimism of the time – you can practically see the long tables filled with party food and the red, white and blue bunting.

1952’s “Auf Wiedersehn Sweetheart” combines a fine orchestral accompaniment with backing vocals provided by members of Her Majesty’s Forces. It was the first record by a British performer to top the charts in the United States and it stayed there for 9 weeks.

Vera Lynn – Auf Wiedersehn Sweetheart (1952)

Get a hold of your upper lip because not all of the songs are about war. “Yours” is Vera’s take on the Spanish song “Quiereme Mucho” and is surprisingly upbeat, playful and flirty. I can’t help but smile.

Another, “If you love me (really love me)”, is unashamedly a love song and though it’s sentimental, it never seems clich├ęd. With songs like this, it’s no wonder she stole the heart of the nation.

The album is a cleanly-remastered gem encapsulating Dame Vera’s life and experience of war, from young love in dance halls to the harsh reality of bombs and rations. It’s a charming, musical history of WWII, but more than that, it’s one hell of a listen.

Vera Lynn has come to symbolise fortitude and hope and indeed a nation. For keeping the nation singing 70 years later, Dame Vera, I salute you.

All together now: “We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when…

Vera LynnVera Lynn