At an inspiring 100 years young, Dame Vera Lynn is the first centenarian singer in history to release a new album – and she’s set to storm the musical charts.
The original “Forces’ Sweetheart” was popular during World War II, when she toured around the world performing her emblematic songs at outdoor concerts to boost the morale of troops.
Over the decades, the singer’s popularity has never waned and she remains one of the world's most acclaimed female vocalists.
During WWII, Vera Lynn’s songs captured the spirit of their times
“It’s truly humbling that people still enjoy these songs from so many years ago, reliving the emotions of that time – I was after all just doing my job as a singer – and it’s so wonderful for me to hear my songs again so beautifully presented in a completely new way,” she says.
In celebration of her 100th birthday, Dame Vera has recently released her album, Vera Lynn 100. The compilation features her original vocals and re-orchestrated versions of her most beloved hits including ‘We'll Meet Again’, ‘White Cliffs of Dover’, ‘As Time Goes By’ and ‘Auf Wiedersehn Sweetheart’, the track which crowned Vera Lynn the first British artist to top the US Billboard charts in 1952.
There are also some recently unearthed, rare recordings including a version of 'Sailing' not heard in more than 35 years.
Her distinctive dulcet tones are joined by an all-star line-up of British singers, featuring duets with Aled Jones, Alexander Armstrong and world-renowned tenor, Alfie Boe. The Band of the RAF Squadronaires also perform ‘Yours’ – a beautiful tribute to Dame Vera’s late husband, Harry Lewis, who was a foundation member.
On whether she’ll be number one on the UK album charts, Dame Vera told BBC Radio 4: “Oh golly, I doubt that, but … there might be somebody who’s interested in what the music was all about in those days and how different the songs are and the lyrics. So it might seem quite tame to these young people – the music – but for us it was very exciting and very meaningful and it meant a lot to people.”
Vera Lynn singing 'After The Rain' in 1942, accompanied by Geraldo & His Orchestra
Dame Vera has been honoured countless times for her services to entertainment and charity. In 2009, her greatest hits collection, We'll Meet Again – The Very Best of Vera Lynn, topped the UK album chart, making her the oldest living artist ever to do so at the age of 92.
Her latest accolade was during the Queen’s 2016 birthday honours where she became the first person from the field of popular entertainment to be made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour.
You can wish the beautiful Dame Vera a happy birthday here and send her a personal birthday telegram.
What Vera Lynn song is most memorable to you?
The giveaway to win a copy of her new album has ended.