ANZAC Day - A good time to reflect on the inspiration of Vera Lynn
April 18, 2019
With ANZAC Day fast approaching is seems a good time to reflect on legendary singer Vera Lynn who recently celebrated birthday number 102.
Below is a piece from Nancy Bilyeau of the Vintage News.
102! Singer who Inspired Nations During the Toughest of Times
Vera Lynn began her music career at age 15. And on March 20, 2019, the "Forces Sweetheart" celebrated her 102nd birthday. The performer who captured the heart of the nation with songs like "We'll Meet Again" and "(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) the White Cliffs of Dover" fortified the morale of a nation and has supported ex-servicemen over the decades. Her iconic songs embodied the British soldier's longing for home and everyone's wish for end to the war.
Vera Margaret Welch was born in East Ham, Newham, England in 1917 to a working-class family. Young Vera began singing in the local working men's clubs at just seven-years-old, and at age 11, she took her grandmother's maiden name of Lynn as a stage name. After leaving school at age 14, was spotted by a booking agent. In 1935 she sang the refrain on several big band records and began performing on the radio.
Lynn was given her own radio show on the BBC, Sincerely Yours, Vera Lynn, in November 1941. The following year she recorded "The White Cliffs of Dover," another iconic song for the war-weary nation. In 1942 she appeared in the film We'll Meet Again, in which she portrayed a character based on herself.
In 1944 Lynn spent the spring and summer performing for troops stationed in Egypt, India, and Burma (Myanmar).
By 1970 she had developed emphysema and performed less frequently. In 2009 she became the oldest living artist to have a Number One album in England with We'll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn. Eight years later she became the oldest living artist to have an album in the Top Ten on the British charts with 100, which was released in honor of her 100th birthday. To celebrate that milestone birthday, her image was projected onto the cliffs on March 20, 2017.
Dame Vera said then: "It is an unprecedented honor to have my birthday marked in such a beautiful way and I am truly thrilled by this wonderful gesture. As we look to the white cliffs on Monday, I will be thinking of all our brave boys — the cliffs were the last thing they saw before heading off to war and, for those fortunate enough to return, the first thing they saw upon returning home."
In 1966 the Righteous Brothers reached No. 21 in the UK with their cover of "White Cliffs of Dover," and in 1995 Robson Green and Jerome Flynn recorded this and released it as a double A-side single along with another Righteous Brothers track, "Unchained Melody."
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