Monday, December 08, 2008
This was a from a lot of Christmas records I purchased from a Canadian dealer off eBay earlier this year.
Someone offered this a year or two ago but there was incomplete artwork (good front, no back cover). When I listened, I thought something about this sounded familiar.
Vera Lynn was a popular British singer who toured British army camps and the front lines throughout World War II. She was a favorite of all the doughboys who nicknamed her "the Forces' Sweetheart" while yank reporters dubbed her "the female Bob Hope".
Her post WWII career was very popular with the returning vets and their families. She had dozens of hits and albums throughout the late 1940s and 1950s for Decca Records. However, her popularity began to wane a bit and her recording career wasn't doing too well when she got an unassisted boom.
Stanley Kubrick had filmed "Dr. Strangelove" and originallly ended the film with a pie-throwing scene that simulated an assassination of President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers). After the events in Dallas on 11/22/63, Kubrick cut the scene and added the montage of atomic explosions sung to the tune of Vera Lynn's trademark song "We'll Meet Again".
Her popularity began to rise again and she appeared on albums, radio, and television shows throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Lynn was appointed an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1969 and a DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1975.
When my copy of this 1976 album arrived, I knew it sounded familiar and WOW! The Mike Sammes Singers accompanies Vera on four of the twelve tracks! "Sleigh Ride", "Let's Have A Merry, Merry Christmas", "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and "The Little Drummer Boy" all have that special Sammes sound!
And Vera does her standard fine job with the rest!
Vera Lynn - Christmas With
Lynn kept performing concerts and on television show well into the 1980s. She became the heads of several charities and always made time for the doughboys she sung to all those years earlier at any of their reunions or benefits.
In 1995, a ceremony marking the golden jubilee of VE Day was held at Buckingham Palace. Lynn, then 78, came out of semi-retirement for a surprise appearance. To quote Vera:
"These boys gave their lives and some came home badly injured and for some families, life would never be the same. We should always remember, we should never forget and we should teach the children to remember."
She then sang "We'll Meet Again" for the final time - it was her last known public performance.