Women who sang the hits of 1945 - including Vera Lynn, Andrew Sisters and Doris Day

Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 10:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 10:47 am

Throughout World War Two Music played a huge part in keeping up morale – with artists from Britain and the US providing the soundtrack.

As we commemorate  the 75th anniversary of VE Day on Friday May 8, let’s look at some of the top-selling and most popular female artists and their hits of ’45.

Vera Lynn: We’ll Meet AgainUndoubtedly one of the voices of the Second World War. From I’ll Be Seeing You to White Cliffs Of Dover, each was an anthem for the times.

Doris Day and Les Brown: Sentimental JourneyLes Brown and his Band of Renown had been performing the song, but were unable to record it because of 1942-44 musicians’ strike. When the strike ended, the band - with Doris Day as vocalist - had a hit with her first number one song. They also recorded It Could Happen To You.

The Andrew Sisters: Rum And Coca ColaRecorded in under ten minutes, Laverne, Maxene and Patricia made a record that sold seven million units and sat at number one on Billboard magazine chart for seven weeks.The sisters also recorded with Bing Crosby and Glenn Miller.

The Andrew Sisters

Ella Fitzgerald: I’m Beginning To See The LightPopular song and jazz standard written by Duke Ellington. Ella Fitzgerald and the Ink Spots recorded a version in 1945 that was on the pop song hits list for six weeks that year.

Judy Garland: On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa FeIt refers to the former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and was featured in the 1946 film The Harvey Girls, where it was sung by Judy Garland.

Billie Holiday: Oh, Lover Man, Where Can You Be?Particularly associated with Billie Holiday, for whom it was written, her version was inducted into Grammy Hall of Fame in 1989.Holiday’s version reached number 5 on R&B charts and number on pop charts in 1945.

Marlene Dietrich: Lili MarleneGerman love song that became popular during World War Two throughout Europe and the Mediterranean among Axis and Allied troops.Most famously recorded by Marlene Dietrich, a film and cabaret star. She also recorded The Boys In The Back Room.

Marlene Dietrich

Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Strange Things HappeningTharpe was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist. She attained popularity in the 1930s and ‘40s with her gospel recordings, characterised by unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and rhythmic accompaniment.

Jo Stafford: SymphonyJo Elizabeth Stafford was an American traditional pop music singer and occasional actress, whose career spanned five decades from the late 1930s to early ‘80s. Admired for the purity of her voice, she originally underwent classical training.

Peggy Lee: Waiting For The Train To Come InClassic smoky vocals from Peggy Lee, waiting for her man to come home.

Ivy Benson Band: I’m Getting Sentimental Over YouIn 1945 the band were the first entertainers invited to perform at VE Day celebrations in Berlin at the request of Field Marshal Montgomery.

Internationally renowned Leader of Ivy Benson and her All Girls Dance Band

Helen Forrest and Dick Haymes: Some Sunday MorningAmerican singer of traditional pop and swing music, Helen served as girl singer for three of the most popular big bands of the swing era - Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Harry James.

Gracie Fields: Sing As We GoIn 1939 “Our Gracie” suffered a breakdown and went to Capri to recuperate. World War II was declared while she was recovering there. Still ill after her cancer surgery, she threw herself into her work and signed up for Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA).

Petula Clark: Mighty Lak’ A RoseClark’s professional career began during World War Two as an entertainer on BBC Radio. She sang this song to an audience to settle their jitters during an air raid.