Page 3 Profile: Dame Vera Lynn, singer


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We’ll meet again…

She said we would, and she’s remained true to her word. Dame Vera Lynn, who buoyed the nation’s spirits in the Second World War, will announce today on her 97th birthday that she is bringing out a new collection of music. It has been 75 years since British servicemen voted her their favourite musical performer in 1939 and she was first hailed as “the Forces’ Sweetheart”.

What can fans expect from her new collection – R&B influences? A dash of dubstep?

Er, no. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as they say. Vera Lynn: National Treasure – The Ultimate Collection will be released in June to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The album will bring together more than 40 of her best loved songs from the war years and also some previously unreleased tracks.

There’s no business like show business?

Apparently not. Born Vera Margaret Welch in 1917, she adopted her grandmother’s maiden name, Lynn, when she made her stage debut at the age of seven and has been performing ever since. She is best known for her 1942 recording of the song “We’ll Meet Again”, and “The White Cliffs of Dover” is another of her emblematic war hits. As well as 90 years in show business she is also celebrating her 97th birthday today.

Talk about longevity. Miley Cyrus could learn a thing or two from her no doubt…

Granted the veteran star was around long before young Miley, but if she hopes to appeal to the younger generation as well as her older, more devoted fans, who’s to say mastering the art of twerking wouldn’t be in her interests?

Hasn’t Dame Vera been around long enough to dispense with such gimmicks?

Yes, you’re probably right – forget the twerking. In 1969 she was appointed as an OBE and in 1975 she was promoted to DBE. She even has a street named after her: Vera Lynn Close, in Forest Gate, east London.

How does she feel about stepping back into the spotlight?

“I think it’s wonderful that my songs are still enjoyed, especially if it encourages people to commemorate what happened 70 years ago,” Dame Vera said. “It’s moving for me to relive those days and humbling to know that people still think of me,” she added.