1940s Era Music

This early 1940s music compilation/commentary courtesy of my friend’s brother-in-law, AKA music lover extraordinaire! Enjoy!

The theme of separation — due to soldiers suddenly being overseas — are the key to music of this time period, combined, I suppose, with a need for some back home to find
something to smile about. Anyway, here are some songs, and remember that a lot of these are “big band with vocal” recordings, meaning that the song would typically start with the band playing a verse, then the vocal starting a minute or so into the recording.


(instrumental, but a huge hit)


(The sound on this is tinny, only because the person who “made the video” for YouTube didn’t know what they were doing.)

….and of course, in December of 1942, White Christmas by Bing Crosby,
specifically this version:

….which is not the same as the version on the Bing Crosby CDs floating around
out there. (It’s called historical revisionism, what can I say?)

<——That’s the one that sold the most copies

<—–but this is the one that people seem to think of today

Yes, Stardust was around by Pearl Harbor, and there were several hit
versions. I always think of the Tommy Dorsey version:

But this one was a bigger hit:

This one’s essential, IMO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKQc-cbAvdQ

….and oh, my:

(Sigh…..I absolutely adore this song.)

Basically, for that time period, you can’t go wrong with Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman….so many hits from those guys during WW2.

Keep in mind, too, that unlike today, it was very common for a song to have very, very strong “staying power” and be recorded by dozens of artists and be a hit by more than one performer, often at the same time as another performer had a hit, so a lot of songs that may have originated in, say, 1937-1940 were still being played heavily on radio and on turntables in 1941 and ’42.

More about Nicole

Community Champion at Buffer ~ writer ~ reader ~ urban homesteader ~ former rodeo queen ~ @nmillerbooks

  • Is that Frank Sinatra in one of those photos?

    Speaking of Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree…just the other night, PBS played the Andrews Sisters singing Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy. My husband and I kept trying to think of the name of the sisters. All I could come up with was apple. 🙂 Finally, about half an hour later he remembered. Ah, to have a young brain again!

  • Heidi

    So fun, Nicole! Thanks!