Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Songbook: It's Been a Long, Long Time

WWII produced a host of songs about missing someone, leaving and expecting to be gone for a long while but promising to return, being far away and longing for home, or remembering the old days when the two lovers were together. Many of these songs were written long before the war ("I'll Be Seeing You,", "As Time Goes By") and so there is no overt theme of going away to war in particular, but these older songs gained new meaning and depth during the war and were sung, wistfully but fervently, by millions. The classic example of the genre, though, is probably "They'll Be Bluebirds Over The White Cliffs of Dover", which you imagine being sung in barracks and barrooms all over England.

Many of these songs will undoubtedly seem over-sentimental at first blush, but given the larger societal context, I find them very moving. Take for example Styne and Cahn's "It's Been a Long Long Time," which dominated the charts in late 1945 (thought it was written in 1938). The war was over, but many of the boys were still scattered around the world or in transit. So when Bing sings these lyrics, he is speaking the deep longing of many many hearts.

1 comment:

nance marie said...

i'm familiar with this song.
i think i'll have a little listen.