The war was now across the whole world but the music of the US in 1942 brought a top five tracks that would last long after the conflict had ended. These were:
At number 5 was ‘A String of Pearls’ by Glenn Miller while, at number 4, Jimmy Dorsey was telling the story of ‘Tangerine’ with Vaughn Monroe’s version very close behind.
Glenn Miller was also at number 3 – this time with ‘Moonlight Cocktail’ – with Paul Whiteman ‘Traveling Light’ at number 2.
At number 1 was Alvino Rey – or Bing Crosby – or Horace Heidt – or the Merry Macs – but, which ever we chose, all will tell us the same story – the story that was ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’!
Meanwhile in Britain, without any question, the most popular vocalist of the time and place was Vera Lynn – “the forces’ sweetheart”. She sang just about every well-known wartime song in her concerts and in her travels to the troops. I remember my Dad sending a message back to mum and me at home saying they had enjoyed ‘Vera Lynn singing and talking to everyone out in the desert one afternoon – but he could not say where it had happened’. I know he also had two or three more ‘shows’ from Ms Lynn – but he never did say where they were!
There was, however, more than one side to all of this – and that came to the fore in February 1942 when bandleader Tommy Dorsey said of an singer: ‘He’s a great singer, but ya know, you can’t make it without a band. Every singer has got to have a band behind him’. Tommy was talking about a twenty-six-year-old singer who was riding the crest of phenomenal popularity. Wherever this singer appeared with Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra he would be greeted with screams, sighs, and fainting spells from a faithful contingent of over-stimulated female bobby-soxers greeting his every phrase, motion, and intonation with loud and rapturous delight.
Having spent the previous seven years paying his musical dues – a tour with a Major Bowes’ amateur unit; a stint as a singing waiter, a year as vocalist with the struggling Harry James orchestra – one Frank Sinatra now felt he was ready for a solo career, even if his boss Tommy Dorsey said he was ‘a damn fool’ for considering it!
Francis Albert Sinatra was born on 12th December 1915 – an American singer, actor, and producer who would become one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He became one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide and would find success as a solo artist after he signed with Columbia Records in 1943, becoming the idol of the “bobby soxers” when he released his debut album, ‘The Voice of Frank Sinatra’ in 1946.