The Forties

A wall painting with a saxophone and an old-fashioned microphone frequently seen at jazz performances.

When I saw the prompt for Musically Ranting is ‘The Forties’ I was momentarily baffled, but then turned myself to the world wide web and found a list of the 100 Greatest Popular Songs Of The 1940s and was actually surprised at how many songs and artists I actually knew. The thanks for this goes to my parents, who loved to play music, and who are at the foundations of my wide taste in music.

Childhood memories

Names that instantly jumped out at me were those of Bing Crosby, Nat “King” Cole, Billie Holiday, Glenn Miller, Perry Como, Vera Lynn and of course Frank Sinatra. I didn’t recognize the names of Nat “King” Cole and Frank Sinatra because of my parents, but because their names were also well-known during most of my adult years. Just think of the song ‘Unforgettable’ Nat “King” Cole’s daughter, Natalie, did ‘with’ him in the nineties (wow, seriously that long ago?!). When I see the name of Perry Como, I can’t help to think of Jim Reeves, but when I checked, I saw he only had his first success in the 50’s, so I might write about him in a future post.

The other names in that list though, well those definitely remind me of my childhood. There were always music in our house, and where my parents were more into the music of the sixties, the music of the 40’s and 50’s definitely featured too. I remember our Saturday afternoons when my father would prepare the BBQ, light the fire roundabout four in the afternoon, and then by six the coals would be ready for the meat to go on. An hour later we would enjoy our dinner outside — barbecued meat, bread and salads. And all the time, from the moment my father started getting the BBQ ready, there would be music.

Some songs

Don’t Fence Me In – Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters
I started playing this song and immediately I swooned. I mean, just listen to his voice and the harmonious voices of The Andrew Sisters. Listen to the easy rhythm of the music, and the big band in the background. It’s brilliant. And I love the message of the song… don’t fence me in. It symbolizes freedom to me:

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don’t fence me in
Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don’t fence me in

You Are My Sunshine – Jimmie Davis
I know Jimmie Davis is not in my list of names above, but I recognized this song because of the title, and remembered that we used to sing this in the choir in school. It’s a song with a feel-good melody, but if you read the lyrics, it’s actually quite sad. It still takes me back to carefree days when the melody mattered much more than the actual words we were singing:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away

We’ll Meet Again – Vera Lynn
This must be a song that has featured in so many moves, and one of the most known songs from the forties. Somehow, when listening to it, my thoughts travel to war, and how hard it must have been for everyone, whether they did the fighting, stayed at home or were shipped off to those horrible camps. It makes me think of how we commemorate the dead of all wars on 4 May every year, and celebrate the liberation on 5 May every year. Even though I have never been in a war, for the rest of my life I will be thankful for those who have fought for our freedom.

We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away

Facts: Vera Lynn was born on 20 March 1917, and in 2018 she received two nominations at the 2018 Classic Brit Awards and received the Lifetime Achievement Award. On 5 April 2020 Queen Elizabeth II echoed the song ‘We’ll Meet Again’ when she addressed the British nation in a speech about COVID-19.

Doris Day

The name of Doris Day was another my eye fell on in the link I shared above, but in this case not of her music, but because the name was used quite a lot during my childhood. I have no idea why, but so many times my parents told me I looked like Doris Day, and was always with some reference to my hair. Now I checked to see what hairstyles Doris had in her days, and I think indeed my hair looked like hers, as until somewhere in my twenties, I mostly had short hair.

Auld Lang Syne

Oh gosh, the song Auld Lang Syne. Traditionally sung to bid goodbye the old year, and welcome the new, it’s now also sung at funerals, gradations and as farewells on many other occasions.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne?

This song never fails to put tears in my eyes. Never. It reminds me of those people who are not with us anymore; those I miss…

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

Musically Ranting

4 thoughts on “The Forties

  1. Oh don’t fence me in – I remember that so well and have song it in my head over the years when people try and box me in. Be that within a relationship or regarding an opinion. That’s a great song to recall…
    It does indeed symbolise freedom to me too
    May xx

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking of freedom when I hear the song 🙂 xox

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