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Popular Song in Britain during the Two World Wars

Abstract : During the First World War, music-hall played an important role in the war effort, organizing on-stage recruitment for the army, concert parties at the Front and free shows for the wounded in hospital. Satire and criticism of how the war was run could also be present. By the Second World War, the official political discourse had changed. Lloyd George’s glorious sacrifice had become Churchill’s “blood, toil, tears and sweat”. The music industry had also changed, through the rise of the gramophone, the dance hall and the American crooner. Popular music is more and more the object of academic study, but the war periods have been neglected. The present article aims at examining the production and the content of popular song in the two world wars. We will try to judge if popular song can at times represent a “voice of the people”, and to compare first war songs with second war songs. Finally, we will analyse similarities and differences between “commercial” popular songs and “trench songs”.
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John Mullen. Popular Song in Britain during the Two World Wars. Arts of War and Peace, Mark Meigs, Jennifer Kilgore-Caradec, LARCA Paris-Diderot, 2019. ⟨hal-02427029⟩

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