We'll Meet Again

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"We'll Meet Again"
Cover of sheet music for "We'll Meet Again" by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles.jpg
Sheet music cover
Song by Vera Lynn
Released1939
LabelMichael Ross Limited
Songwriter(s)Ross Parker, Hughie Charles
Producer(s)Norman Keen

"We'll Meet Again" is a 1939 song by English singer Vera Lynn with music and lyrics composed and written by English songwriters Ross Parker and Hughie Charles. The song is one of the most famous of the Second World War era, and resonated with soldiers going off to fight as well as their families and loved ones.

The song was published by Michael Ross Limited, whose directors included Louis Carris, Ross Parker and Norman Keen. Keen, an English pianist also collaborated with Parker and Hughie Charles on "We'll Meet Again" and many other songs published by the company, including "There'll Always Be an England" and "I'm In Love For The Last Time". The song's original recording featured Lynn accompanied by Arthur Young on Novachord (an early synthesizer), while a rerecording in 1953 featured a more lavish instrumentation and a chorus of British Armed Forces personnel.[1][2][3]

The song gave its name to the 1943 musical film We'll Meet Again in which Lynn played the lead role (see 1943 in music). Lynn's 1953 recording is featured in the final scene of Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film Dr. Strangelove – with a bitter irony, as the song accompanies a nuclear holocaust that wipes out humanity. It was also used in the closing scenes of the 1986 BBC television serial The Singing Detective. British director John Schlesinger used the song in his 1979 World War II film Yanks, which is about British citizens and American soldiers during the military buildup in the UK as the Allies prepare for the Normandy landings.

During the Cold War, Lynn's recording was included in the package of music and programmes held in 20 underground radio stations of the BBC's Wartime Broadcasting Service (WTBS), designed to provide public information and morale-boosting broadcasts for 100 days after a nuclear attack.[4] The song reached number 29 on the U.S. charts. Lynn sang the song in London on the 60th anniversary of VE Day in 2005.

In April 2020, a charity duet with Katherine Jenkins, released in 2014, reached number 72 on the UK Singles Chart, with proceeds going to National Health Service charities. In May 2020 following the 75th Anniversary celebrations of VE Day, the solo version by Lynn also reached number 55 in the UK chart.[5]

Other performances[edit]

  • Traditionally, this song is played on 5 May as a closure to the Liberation Day Concert in Amsterdam, to mark the end of World War II in the Netherlands, as the monarch leaves the concert on a canal boat.[6]

In film and other media[edit]

References in other works[edit]

  • On her last radio show, NPR host Liane Hansen quoted the song in her farewell address to listeners.[11]
  • On 5 April 2020, Queen Elizabeth II referenced the song in a rare televised address that aired to Britain and the Commonwealth, where she expressed her gratitude for the efforts people are taking to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic virus and acknowledged the severe challenges being faced by families across the world.[12] The reference spurred covers by West End theatre stars with Lynn,[13] Katherine Jenkins with Lynn,[14] and by drag queens.[15] Jenkins' version was released on iTunes as a benefit for the NHS Charities Together.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cover versions of We'll Meet Again by Vera Lynn with Arthur Young on the Novachord". Secondhandsongs.com.
  2. ^ "Vera Lynn – We'll Meet Again / I'm Praying To St. Christopher". Discogs.com.
  3. ^ Savage, Mark. "We'll Meet Again: The story of Dame Vera Lynn's wartime classic". BBC. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  4. ^ Hellen, Nicholas (11 July 1999). "Julie Andrews to sing to Brits during nuclear attack". The Sunday Times. London.
  5. ^ "Vera Lynn | full Official Chart History". Officialcharts.com.
  6. ^ "May 4 and 5 2017 Amsterdam (Commemoration Day and Liberation Day)". Simplyamsterdam.nl. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Stephen & Friends: "We'll Meet Again"". Thecolbertreport.cc.com. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  8. ^ Thompson, Catherine (19 December 2014). "Here's Every Cameo In The Epic Finale Of 'The Colbert Report'". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  9. ^ de Peyer, Robin (9 May 2015). "VE Day Concert Katherine Jenkins, Pixie Lott, Status Quo Lead Party". Standard.co.uk. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  10. ^ Fane Saunders, Tristram (18 June 2020). "We'll Meet Again: how Vera Lynn's song inspired everyone from Kubrick to the Queen". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  11. ^ Hansen, Liane (29 May 2011). "Farewell From Host Liane Hansen". NPR. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  12. ^ "The Queen's coronavirus address: 'We will meet again'". BBC News. 5 April 2020. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  13. ^ Hewitt, Phil (24 April 2020). "Dame Vera Lynn promises UK theatre will thrive again "some sunny day" – VIDEO". Littlehampton Gazette. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Katherine Jenkins and Dame Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again" reaches number one on iTunes charts". ITV. 16 April 2020. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  15. ^ Hudson, David. "WATCH: Drag queens perform powerful 'We'll Meet Again' to help elders". Queerty.com. Retrieved 24 February 2022.