Brigadoon 

  Brigadoon, a musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe,  premiered on Broadway in 1947 and ran for 581 performances.  A 1954 film version starred Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, and a 1966 television version starred Robert Goulet and Peter Falk. In the show, the...

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Voice of America Calls USSR

Established in 1942 for Allied propaganda broadcasts during WWII, the Voice of America (VOA) continued broadcasts after the war aimed mostly at Western Europe.     In September 1947, VOA began broadcasts aimed at the Soviet Union with: “Hello! This is New...

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Muddy Waters

Growing up in Mississippi, McKinley Morganfield (1913 – 1983) played Delta blues in the style of Son House and Robert Johnson. Later, performing as Muddy Waters, he was recognized as one of the original modern Chicago blues musicians of the late 1940s - early 1950s.  ...

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Annie Get Your Gun

Annie Get Your Gun, a 1946 Broadway show with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and a book by the brother-sister team of Dorothy and Herbert Fields, was a fictionalized account of the life of Annie Oakley, a 19th and early 20th-century sharpshooter who starred in...

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Dunkirk

After seeing the new movie DUNKIRK directed by Christopher Nolan last night, I wanted to recommend it to you readers. Like the top film critics, I found this film technically flawless and emotionally extremely powerful. The film's soundtrack by Hans Zimmer kept me on...

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R.I.P. Glenn Miller

Alton Glenn Miller (1904 – 1944) was a big band star in the American swing era whose recordings were best-sellers from 1939 to 1943. Traveling to entertain U.S. troops in France in December 1944, his single-engine UC-64 Norseman disappeared in bad weather over the...

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Home For Christmas

 Ironically, Bing Crosby’s elegant Toluca Lake mansion was virtually destroyed by fire. The culprit was none other than the family Christmas tree. ______________________   Want to hear the top hits of 1943? Check this out: Jukebox 1943   ...

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Fred Waring

Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians Chorus and Band was formed in 1918 at Pennsylvania State University. While the 1925 song Collegiate was probably their best known song, other novelty songs were I've Never Seen a Straight Banana and I Wonder How I Look When I'm...

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It Don’t Mean a Thing

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (1899 – 1974) was a key figure in American jazz composition and performance. A pianist and bandleader, Ellington travelled throughout Europe in the 1930s and gained national prominence in the USA with his orchestra's appearances at the...

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Die Große Liebe

  Die große Liebe (The Great Love), which premiered in 1942, became the most commercially successful film in the history of the Nazi Germany. From the film's musical score: "Davon geht die Welt nicht unter" and "Ich weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder gescheh'n" became...

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American Music WWII

Unlike songs popular in America during WWI , many WWII songs focused more on romance and strength instead of patriotism. Particularly popular, were singers included Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, the Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby. Listen on YouTube to these popular...

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Umi Yukaba

This rather eerie military song (軍歌 gunka)  Umi Yukaba  海行かば was based on an ancient 和歌 waka poem by Ōtomo no Yakamochi and put to music by Nobutoki Kiyoshi in 1937. Popular throughout WWII, Umi Yukaba was sung by departing Kamikaze pilots (神風) during the last stages...

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Leningrad 7th Symphony

In the summer of 1941, shortly after the German army began the long siege of his city Leningrad, the Soviet Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich began work on his Seventh Symphony. After composing several movements, Shostakovich and his family, along with the...

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Wünschkonzert Request

During WWII German radio hosted the Wünschkonzert für die Wehrmacht, playing music requested by German soldiers. The 1940 motion picture Wünschkonzert , seen by over 20 milllion viewers, used a blend of fiction, newsreel and documentary footage to tell the classic...

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INFERNO

I am currently reading this excellent book by Max Hastings. Not only is it detailed, balanced and well-referenced; it is superb writing. Before dawn next morning, "a warm, damp, rather hazy day," American and Japanese pilots breakfasted. The Yorktown's men favoured...

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Jazz in the Third Reich

Jazz music, very popular in the Weimar Republic, came under attack from right wing conservatives in the Third Reich. Despite efforts to eliminate fremdländisch (alien) music by Hitler and his followers, jazz survived early efforts at prohibition. Popular demand for...

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Smoke on the Water

There will be a sad day coming For the foes of all mankind They must answer to the people And it’s troubling their mind Everybody who must fear them Will rejoice on that great day When the powers of dictators Shall be taken all away [Chorus:] There’ll be smoke on the...

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USO WWII

In 1941, Congress chartered the USO (United Service Organizations) to provide programs, services and live entertainment to United States troops and their families. Not an official government agency, the USO relied on private contributions, goods and services from...

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Taps

The American military tune "Taps," sounded at dusk by bugle or trumpet, is also played at military funerals. Like its German and Imperial Japanese counterparts, it evokes melancholy and tribute to valorous fallen...

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Comrade-in-arms

All nations glorify death in combat, but Imperial Japan probably more than most. For example, most American movies made during WWII depicted heroic US soldiers defeating the enemy (think John Wayne). But Imperial Japanese movies made during wartime (e.g. Chocolate &...

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Ich Hatt’ Einen Kameraden

This stirring hymn to a fallen comrade, written by German poet Ludwig Uhland in 1809, is still used today by the German military. Original German Text English Translation Ich hatt' einen Kameraden, Einen bessern findst du nit. Die Trommel schlug zum Streite, Er ging...

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Gene Autry – USAAF

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVCjMTf0GYs GeneAutry.com - Gene Autry: Flight Officer. In July 1942, during a live broadcast of his radio show Melody Ranch, singing cowboy movie star Gene Autry was inducted into the Army Air Forces as a Technical Sergeant. Already...

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Satchmo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xj_9sXa4wU Louis Armstrong (1901-1971), known as Satchmo (perhaps because he had a "satchel mouth") became prominent in the 1920s as an American jazz trumpeter, gravelly-voiced jazz and scat singer. With charismatic stage presence and...

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Deutschland Über Alles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojWfD34HZO4 The national anthem Das Lied der Deutschen  (the Federal Republic of Germany now only uses the third verse). In 1841, the German linguist and poet August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben wrote the lyrics of "Das Lied der...

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From the South

  The original 1942 version of this popular Japanese song by movie star and singer Junko Mihara (1920-1959) apparently* included references to the war and the State Shintō Religion. Re-recorded in 1947, it excluded these references. *Unfortunately, not speaking...

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