I’m so thrilled that at 92 years young, Dame Vera Lynn has set a new record and become the oldest living person to have a UK number one album.  “We’ll Meet Again” is at the top of the charts, ahead of the re-mastered Beatles re-issues, Jamie T’s “Kings & Queens”, David Guetta’s “One Love” and the Arctic Monkey’s “Humbug”.

Born March 20th, 1917, in East London, Dame Vera began singing at the age of seven. In 1935 she made her first radio broadcast and a year later her first solo record. But what really catapulted her into fame was World War II.  Nicknamed the “Forces Sweetheart”, Dame Vera traveled thousands of miles boosting morale during the war by giving countless performances to both the forces and civilians. Dame Vera went on to sell hundreds of thousands of singles and albums during her extensive career.

Hearing of Dame Vera’s new success awoke many memories for me of growing up in England. My grandmother served in World War II and was a big fan of Vera Lynn.  I remember her spinning one of Vera’s LP’s on her old stereo system that had the shiny wooden top that closed looked more like a hope chest with legs than anything that would emit music.  Even as a child I remember being moved by the hauntingly melodious tunes and words of  "We’ll meet again" and  "White Cliffs of Dover".  My grandmother, when listening to Vera Lynn, would get a sad and wistful look in her eyes.  I mistakenly thought it was the tune itself, but today I’m fairly sure it was the tune reminding her of times gone by, of people she’d met who were no longer in her life and especially of those who had been killed in the war. 

As I listen to Vera Lynn today I feel a deep connection with those brave souls, of a bygone era and most of all warm, yet bittersweet memories of that time with my beloved grandmother.  She’s been gone many, many years now, but listening to Vera put took me right back to that precious time I shared with her.  I think that’s one of the reasons Dame Vera’s greatest hits collection "We’ll meet again" has become a surprising hit.  It takes people back.  Some remember WWII first hand, while many others remember their parents, grandparents or great grandparents telling them about the war and they feel connected with their heritage, with their past and with their Britishness. 

September also marks 70 years since the beginning of World War II and the album was released to coincide with that.  It entered the charts three weeks ago at number twenty and has risen to number 1. Nostalgia is ruling the charts and it’s lovely to see these songs  getting a new following.

Congratulations Dame Vera and thank you!

I’m sharing a couple of videos of Dame Vera… a current one (check out how amazingly youthful and vibrant she is) and some rare footage from her singing during WWII. 

Blessings,

Mitzi

Vera During Wartime