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We’ll meet again: Remembering the songwriters behind “Forces’ sweetheart” wartime classics

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As the nation mourns the death of British singer, songwriter and entertainer Dame Vera Lynn, who passed away on 18 June 2020 at the age of 103, we also remember the songwriters behind two of the most poignant songs that brought us together at a time of war.

Hughie Charles (24 July 1907 – 6 October 1995) and Ross Parker (16 August 1914 – 1 August 1974), both members of the Performing Right Society, composed and wrote ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and ‘There'll Always Be An England’ in 1939. Dame Vera Lynn’s performances of these songs resonated deeply with British soldiers and audiences of the time, following the outbreak of the second world war.

As a duo, Charles and Parker were among the leading British songwriters of the ‘Tin Pan Alley’ era, a name that refers to the music publishers and songwriters who inhabited London’s Denmark Street from the early 1900s.

The lyrics of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ were recently referenced by the Queen during a broadcast to the British people regarding the coronavirus pandemic, and the song itself entered the UK Official Singles Chart for the first time ever in May this year.

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We are all saddened to hear of Dame Vera Lynn’s recent passing. Her performances of these timeless songs have been bringing British people together since World War II and they are no less poignant today. As songwriters, Hughie Charles and Ross Parker captured the strong emotions of the time succinctly with their enduring music and lyrics, that were impeccably brought to life through Lynn’s iconic renditions.

Andrea C. Martin, CEO, PRS for Music

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK and around the world. As a membership organisation it works to ensure that creators are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. In 2019, 18.8 trillion performances of music were reported to PRS for Music with £810.8m collected on behalf of its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations.

PRS for Music’s public performance licensing is carried out on PRS for Music’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.

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