Lest We Forget

1941 was an awful year. But, at the height of the Second World War, at least we could enjoy Vera Lynn singing about bluebirds over Dover and hoping that we’ll all meet again.

And, in America, there was this horror. The act on this maudlin mess is credited as Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye, with vocals by The Glee Club (on Remember Pearl Harbor) and Allan Foster (Dear Mom). Issued by Victor just days before Christmas, it was an ill-conceived effort to pull on the heartstrings.

Sammy Kaye (born Samuel Zarnocay Jr., in March 1910) was an American bandleader and songwriter, whose tagline, “Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye”, became one of the most famous of the Big Band Era.

Born in Lakewood, Ohio, Kaye and his orchestra made a large number of records for Vocalion, RCA Victor, Columbia, Bell, and Decca and was also a hit on the radio. Kaye was known for an audience participation gimmick called “So You Want to Lead A Band?” where audience members would be called onto the stage in an attempt to conduct the orchestra, with the possibility of winning batons. Popular on television in the 50s, the bandleader passed away in 1987. A year after passing on his own baton to his friend Roger Thorpe, who still leads the Sammy Kaye Orchestra to this day.

Shortly after the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, Sammy Kaye wrote the music (well, ‘adapted’ it from Ohio University's Alma Mater) and Don Reid wrote the words to Remember Pearl Harbor. The disc was recorded on December 17, and it was in the shops before Christmas. I understand the patriotic gesture, but to me the haste, and the saccharine sentiment, make this all a bit indecent. Couple it with the mawkish flipside and you have all the ingredients of a truly miserable record.


Download Harbor HERE

Download Mom HERE

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