VE Day 75

#VEDay75 – Music to relive the wartime spirit

So we’ve had the food that you would’ve been served at a 1945 style street party and although the drinks weren’t flowing like they would be today, there was a tipple or two on offer.

But no street party is complete without a bit of music and although there was no Adele, Ed Sheeran or Beyoncé back in 1945 – some may argue that the music of the wartime generation was quite simply unbeatable.

Let’s take a look at what you might have expected to hear back in 1945!

We’ll Meet AgainDame Vera Lynn

Often considered the anthem of the Second World War in Britain, this song was actually released in 1939 by Vera Lynn and became synonymous with families waving off their loved ones as they went to war. However, this song kept the spirits of the British people high during the dark days of the Battle of Britain and Blitz and so would definitely have been played at a VE Day celebration.

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Rule Britannia 

Originating from a poem ‘Rule, Britannia’, this song spiked a sense of patriotism in the British nation throughout the Second World War however when Victory came in 1945 the song assumed extra significance.

“Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves. Britons never will be slaves”

Check out a clip below of Rule Britannia being performed at the BBC Last Night of the Proms.

Coming In On a Wing and a Prayer

With lyrics by Harold Adamson and music by Jimmy McHugh the song was recorded by the Song Spinners for Decca Records in 1943. The song was often associated with the work of the Royal Air Force and in the present day, it still is. The song was recently sung by Tom Jones at the Festival of Remembrance marking the 100th anniversary of the RAF.

It’s a Long Way to Tipperary 

Originally an anthem of the First World War, this song’s popularity continued right through to the Second World War and consoled soldiers who just wanted to return to the “sweetest girl I know”. See some of the famous lyrics below:

“It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go.
It’s a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye Piccadilly,
Farewell Leicester Square!
It’s a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart’s right there.”

There’ll Always Be An England

Another Dame Vera Lynn offering and a song that was, once again, recorded in 1939 however this song was as patriotic in 1945 as it was at the start of the war. No doubt this would have been played at street parties up and down the country.

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

An iconic and more up-tempo song from the Second World War era. Originally a hit for The Andrews Sisters and reached number six on the U.S pop singles chart in 1941. The song has been re-recorded a number of times since 1945 however it would’ve been the best song to ‘boogie’ to at a VE Day party.

Land of Hope and Glory

Another huge patriotic song for Britain during the dark days of the Second World War. As part of the Victory celebrations in 1945, this song received a remarkable spirited response as part of the 1945 Proms. This song is so popular that it has often been described as the unofficial national anthem.

“Land of hope and glory, mother of the free
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet”

(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover

Our final song choice is another from Dame Vera Lynn and perhaps the most well known Second World War song. First composed in 1941 by Walter Ken it was Vera Lynn’s 1942 version that made this song what it is today. The song was written just over a year after German and RAF aircraft had been fighting over the South of England and of course fighting over the White Cliffs of Dover. Vera Lynn performed this song to thousands of troops across the world and would definitely have been on a VE Day party playlist.

What are the songs you associate most with VE Day or the Second World War? Let Royal Circular know on Facebook and Twitter.


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