Music's Message

A special look back at some of the brightest Sunday Mornings is part of Our Sunday Best: 20 years of Sunday Morning, marking the broadcast's 20th anniversary. Here is a segment that aired on May 7th, 1995, with host Charles Osgood.

CHARLES OSGOOD: The songs of World War 11, the ones that were most heard on the radio and played on the jukeboxes and danced to and sung and whistled on the front lines, and on the home front as well, were songs that expressed the hopes and dreams of millions. And, of course, the fondest hopes and the sweetest dreams were those of the day that the war would end.

(Footage of Osgood playing the piano)

Everywhere you'd look, there'd be Americans- American airmen, American soldiers- in London in those days. The locals used to say they were overpaid, oversexed and over here. At pubs like this one in the East End of London, you'd find Americans standing shoulder to shoulder with the British and drinking the same brews and wooing the same women and singing the same songs.


(Voiceover) When the folks at Mercer's Arms Pub are in this mood, you have to go with the flow. I was taking requests. Did I know "Roll Out the Barrel"? You bet.

It was the ladies who asked for "The Yanks Are Coming." The gentlemen sort of drifted off from that one, for some reason.

(Footage of Osgood playing the piano)

Now you know those.

(Voiceover) Margaret McGregor knows these songs because during the war, when she was in uniform, she made friends with an American or two.

(Photo of McGregor)

Ms. MARGARET McGREGOR (Veteran): (Voiceover) Thanks very much.

OSGOOD: (Voiceover) Thank you. We'll- we'll do some more.
McGREGOR: (Voiceover) Thank you.
OSGOOD: (Voiceover) Thank you.
(Footage of Osgood playing the piano)

There were strong friendships made during the war- intense relationships, shared experiences. Many men and women fell in love, and their moments were precious, too, because you never knew, of course, how long love would last or how long a war would last- for that matter, how long life itself would last. With every parting, there was always the fear that it might be- the hope that it would not be- the last parting. Maybe that is why this song that Vera Lynn used to sing became an anthem that, even to this day, can bring tears to the eyes of many an old soldier.

(Footage of Osgood playing the piano)

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©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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