Readers seemed to enjoy this enough that I must agree, an expanded series is in order. Yes, there were many iconic World War II songs I did not highlight in Part 1 – space limitations prevented me from including them all, else it might have been a 50-video article that no one would’ve read.
That being said, here is the continuation of this list, which includes songs suggested in the comments of Part 1. Ideally, this is how these lists should work, interactively, with people making suggestions for future reference.
These are numbered but not ranked. Frankly, I don’t even see how it would be possible, to say any one of these great songs are “better” than another; turning the radio on then must’ve been a pure delight.
Written about a year after British and German aircraft had been dog-fighting over the aforementioned location. It looked forward to the day when peace would again reign over the cliffs, which are the DeFacto “border” with the European mainland.
1. Vera Lynn – “(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) the White Cliffs of Dover”
Every soldier, sailor, airman or marine’s fondest wish.
2. Frank Sinatra – “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
Though not the famous song performed by Bing Crosby (that is, as featured in the 1944 movie of the same name, starring Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotton), this is a fine version as well.
3. Tommy Dorsey – “I’ll Be Seeing You”
I know that for soldiers and marines of WWII, “Patrol” was a special kind of epithet. No one liked to go patrol, but that’s what so much of what they did was. You had to go out into the generally miserable weather and hey, there were maybe people out there who might see you and shoot at you.
4. Glenn Miller – “American Patrol”
A great song. Of course, there were many wartime liaisons made, both at home and abroad. One tried to be faithful, but not everyone was perfect. People got lonely. It reminds me of a story I’d once read, of an American GI stationed in Australia; he’d picked up an Aussie girlfriend and dumped his stateside beau. Who sent an angry letter, “What’s she got that I haven’t got?” The reply was, “Nothing…but she’s here, and you aren’t.”
5. The Andrews Sisters “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”
My Dad was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1940, so he would have, at least for a time early on during the war, been the hard-ass breaking in these new guys.
6. Irving Berlin – “This is the Army Mr. Jones”
Yes, that Dinah Shore.
7. Dinah Shore – “It Had to be You”
And the inescapable Glenn Miller again. He and his orchestra were, for this time, as big as the Beatles were during the 1960s.
8. Glenn Miller – “I’ve Got a Girl From Kalamazoo”
Written for the film Here Come the Waves (1944), starring Bing Crosby and Betty Hutton.
9. Bing Crosby / Andrews Sisters – “Accentuate the Positive”
And finally – while by no stretch of the imagination was this “pop” music of the time, it’s significant and one hell of a patriotic anthem. Timely too, since we were only a few years away being in the thick of total global war. We needed to hear songs like this to remind us of who we are and what we were about.
10. Kate Smith – “God Bless America”