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Victory through HarmonyThe BBC and Popular Music in World War II$
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Christina L. Baade

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372014

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372014.001.0001

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Sincerely Yours: The Trouble with Sentimentality and the Ban on Crooners

Sincerely Yours: The Trouble with Sentimentality and the Ban on Crooners

(p.131) 6 Sincerely Yours: The Trouble with Sentimentality and the Ban on Crooners
Victory through Harmony

Christina L. Baade

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 examines the BBC's 1942 “ban on crooners,” an act of reform by highbrow idealists within the Corporation, which distilled wartime concerns with popular music, mass culture, and masculinity. With the military setbacks of 1942, vocal members of the press, government, and public argued that sentimental songs and singers demoralized the forces, frequently citing Vera Lynn's program Sincerely Yours, which featured heartfelt sentiment. In July, the BBC banned “sloppy” lyrics, male crooners, and overly sentimental female singers from broadcast. Until the end of the war, the Dance Music Policy Committee vetted hundreds of songs and vocalists. While the effectiveness of BBC censorship in ending sentimentality and crooning was questionable, the energetic public debate about sentimental music's impact on the morale and virility of fighting men demonstrated the wide range of opinions of what constituted good wartime masculinity and how best to sustain the nation's morale.

Keywords:   sentimentality, crooners, Sincerely Yours, Vera Lynn, Dance Music Policy Committee, censorship

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