Dame Vera Lynn has died at the age of 103.
Lynn was a singer, songwriter, and entertainer whose stardom was brightest during World War II, when she was a big part of maintaining morale within the British forces. After the war she had a long recording career and became an icon of popular culture, even to the point of being referenced, in all places, in a song on the Pink Floyd album The Wall.
I spent some time today at work listening to Vera Lynn, and hearing her songs from the distance of almost eighty years, it’s not hard to hear why she was such a star. Her voice in those songs is radiant, carrying the melodies with amazing ease and sonority. She had a nearly perfect voice for the kind of songs that were…well, at the risk of betraying a bit too much bias, I tend to be increasingly of the view that the 1930s and 1940s were the Golden Age of the popular love song.
Here are a few selections I found, including Lynn’s best known song, “We’ll Meet Again”. It’s an incredibly effective song, but the one here that really hits me between the eyes is one of my absolute favorite songs of all time, “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.”
Here is Dame Vera Lynn.