Uploaded on Sep 10, 2009
Vera Lynn - We'll Meet Again
Vera Lynn was born Vera Margaret Welch on 20 March 1917, in East Ham, then in Essex, now part of Greater London. Her father was a plumber and Vera Welch grew up with her parents' Cockney accent, which she has never abandoned. She began singing at the age of seven in a working men's club, and later adopted her grandmother's maiden name for her stage name. Lynn's first radio broadcast was in 1935 with the Joe Loss Orchestra. She was already being featured on records released by dance bands, including Loss's and Charlie Kunz's. She made her first solo record on the Crown label in 1936, "Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire". (The label was soon bought out by Decca.) After a short time with Loss, she sang with Kunz, during which time she made several recordings. Lynn then moved to the dance band of Bert Ambrose.
Lynn met clarinetist and saxophonist Harry Lewis, the man she would later marry, in 1939, the year World War II began. The following year, she began her own radio programme, Sincerely Yours, sending messages to British troops serving abroad. She and a quartet would perform songs most requested by the soldiers. Lynn also visited hospitals to interview new mothers and send personal messages to their husbands overseas. During the war years she would tour Egypt, India, Burma, giving outdoor concerts for the troops.
In 1942, Lynn recorded the Ross Parker/Hughie Charles song "We'll Meet Again", also appearing in the film of that name. The nostalgic lyrics ("We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when, but I know we'll meet again some sunny day") were very popular during the war and became one of the emblematic songs of the war. Contrary to later reports, she neither sang nor recorded the "Rose of England" during this time and it was only in 1966 when her producer, David Gooch, selected it for her album More Hits of the Blitz that she became familiar with it. The album itself was a follow up to Hits of the Blitz produced by Norman Newell.
Lynn's "Auf Wiedersehen, Sweetheart" became the first record by a British performer to top the charts in the United States, doing so for nine weeks. She also appeared regularly for a time on Tallulah Bankhead's U.S. radio programme, The Big Show. "Auf Wiedersehen, Sweetheart", along with "The Homing Waltz" and "Forget-Me-Not", gave Lynn a remarkable three entries on the first UK Singles Chart, a top 12 (which actually contained 15 songs owing to tied positions).
Lynn's career flourished in the 1950s, peaking with "My Son, My Son", a number-one hit in 1954. Lynn co-wrote the song with Eddie Calvert. In early 1960, she left Decca Records after nearly 25 years, and joined EMI. She recorded for EMI's Columbia, MGM and HMV labels. She hit the top 10 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart in 1967 with "It Hurts To Say Goodbye".
Vera is also notable for being the only artist to have a chart span on the UK single and album charts reaching from the chart's inception to the 21st century - having three singles in the first ever singles chart, and most recently having a #2 album with We'll Meet Again - The Very Best Of Vera Lynn in September 2009.