There is little doubt that for many Vera Lynn was the voice of World War Two years.
So much so, our nation is asked to sing the Forces’ Sweetheart anthem We’ll Meet Again as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day on May 8.
It is a song of hope ... families and sweethearts waving off soldiers, sailors and airmen as they left these shores to serve their country, which would welcome them back, writes Sue Wilkinson.
It also has poignancy because the song is filled with the undercurrent of the knowledge some of those leaving to serve in the Armed Forces would not return.
It is a song that has resonance during these lockdown days.
Here, to help you join in the nationwide sing-along on Friday at 9pm are the words to We’ll Meet Again.
We’ll meet againDon’t know where, don’t know whenBut I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.
Keep smiling through,Just like you always do’Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.
So will you please say ‘hello’To the folks that I knowTell them I won’t be longThey’ll be happy to knowThat as you saw me goI was singing this song.
We’ll meet again,Don’t know where, don’t know whenBut I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.
Although written in 1937, the Lambeth Walk - featured in Noel Gay musical Me and My Girl - is also associated with the VE Day celebrations.
The song takes its name from a local road, once notable for its street market and working class culture in Lambeth area of London. The capital bore the brunt of the Blitz. The song became one of cockiness and cheerfulness.
It can be heard in The Longest Day film about D-Day landings. It is sung by squadron leader Major John Howard in a glider on its way to capture Pegasus Bridge.
Any time you’re Lambeth wayAny evening, any dayYou’ll find us allDoing the Lambeth Walk (oi!)
Every little Lambeth galWith her little Lambeth palYou’ll find ‘em allDoin’ the Lambeth Walk (oi!)
Everything free and easyDo as you darn well pleasyWhy don’t you make your way thereGo there, stay there.
Once you get down Lambeth wayEvery evening, every dayYou’ll find yourselfDoin’ the Lambeth Walk.
No self-respecting playlist would leave out Glenn Miller and his orchestra. From Moonlight Serenade and String of Pearls, from American Patrol to Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, all are instantly recognisable. The Andrew Sisters were often his featured singers. My favourite is In The Mood, opening lines of which were sung by Private Walker - the late James Beck - in TV’s Dad’s Army.
Mr Whatchacallim, whatcha doin’ tonight?Hope you’re in the mood, because I’m feelin’ just right!
How’s about a corner with a table for two?Where the music’s mellow and some gay rendezvous!There’s no chance romancin’ with a blue attitude!You’ve got to do some dancin’ to get in the mood!
Sister Whatchacallim that’s a timely idea!Something swing-a-dilla would be good to my ear!Everybody must agree that dancin’ has charmsWhen you have that certain one you love in your arms!
Steppin’ out with you will be a sweet interlude!Oh build’er up for that would put me in the mood!
In the mood!That’s it!I got it!
Bless ‘Em All was written during World War One, recorded by George Formby in 1940. Ukulele-playing Formby was another Forces’ favourite. The song is sung by characters in Captains of the Clouds film from 1942 starring James Cagney. Lili Marlene, meanwhile, was written in 1915 as a poem. It became popular as a song during World War Two and was recorded by Marlene Dietrich.
Underneath the lantern, by the barrack gateDarling I remember the way you used to wait’Twas there that you whispered tenderlyThat you loved me, you’d always beMy Lili of the lamplight, my own Lili Marlene.
Orders came for sailing, somewhere over thereAll confined to barracks was more than I could bearI knew you were waiting in the streetI heard your feet, but could not meetMy Lili of the lamplight, my own Lili Marlene
Kiss Me Goodnight, Sergeant Major was a favourite World War Two song made famous by Arthur Askey.
Kiss me goodnight Sergeant-MajorTuck me in my little wooden bedWe all love you Sergeant-majorWhen we hear you bawlingShow a leg!
Don’t forget to wake me in the morningand bring me round a nice hot cup of teaKiss me goodnight Sergeant-majorSergeant-major be a mother to me
Let’s go out where we came in, with Vera Lynn ...
There’ll be bluebirds over,The white cliffs of Dover,Tomorrow, just you wait and see.There’ll be love and laughter,And peace ever after,Tomorrow when the world is free.
The shepherd will tend his sheep,The valley will bloom again.And Jimmy will go to sleep,In his own little room again.
There’ll be bluebirds over,The white cliffs of Dover,Tomorrow, just you wait and see.