Saturday, June 6, 2020

When the Lights Go On Again—Murfin Home Confinement Music Festival 2020

When the Lights Go On Again (All Over the World) by Vaughn Monroe and his Orchestra.

Posts for the Murfin Home Confinement Music Festival 2020 have been sporadic over the last few days due to both excited preparations to welcome new grand baby Matilda home and my participation in and obsession with the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the murder by police of George Floyd and way too many other African Americans, people of color, and other oppressed minorities.  But I realize that many of us are still sheltering at home during the Coronavirus pandemic, so I hope to do better in offering a bit of musical relief for you.

Today we are inspired by the 76th anniversary of D-Day when a generation of Americans and our allies fought Nazism.  Today we have a would-be Führer in the White House who wants to use the pretext of Black Lives Matter and George Floyd protests to stage a fascist putsch with the support of White Nationalist militias and extremist groups and militarized federal police forces under the command of the Justice Department.

Bennie Benjamin and Sol Marcus (shown) along with Eddie Seiler wrote When the Lights Go On Again.

When the Lights Go On Again was written in 1942 by Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus, and Eddie Seiler in 1942 inspired by the black outs in British cities during the German Blitz bombing campaign.  The refrain of the song was also referenced a quote by Sir Edward Grey on the eve of the World War I, “The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our life-time,” but was intended to offer a more optimistic vision of a sure victory.

Bennie Benjamin was an African American songwriter born in the American Virgin Islands and with his frequent partner Sol Marcus wrote hits like I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire, Till Then for the Mills Brothers, Lonely Man for Elvis Presley, and Please Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood for Nina Simone and The Animals from the early ‘40s through the mid ‘60s.

The song was popular for the duration of the war but was widely sung and played after V-E Day when the troops and their loved ones at home both looked forward to reunions and re-starting interrupted lives.

Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra in an early 1940's club date.  Note the Allied flags decorating the band stand.

When the Lights Go On Again was first recorded in 1943 by Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra and quickly zoomed to #1 on American charts.  Monroe was a baritone crooner, trumpeter, big band leader, and occasional actor born in Akron, Ohio in 1911.  He formed his big band in 1940 and was soon recording on the RCA Victor subsidiary label Blue Bird in 1940 but was soon a mainstay of the parent label.  He was also a very popular radio performer and was often considered to be a serious rival to Bing Crosby.  His signature song was Racing With the Moon and other hits included In the Still of the Night; There! I’ve Said It Again; Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow; and Someday (You’ll Want Me to Want You.)  In the late ‘40s and early ‘50s he had a string of western hits most notably Ghost Riders in the Sky, Cool Water, and Mule Train.

A poster for the York Musical Theater company's revival of the musical When the LightsGo On Again in 2015.
Roy Sault wrote When the Lights Go On Again, an English musical that told the story of a family living in England during World War II, and ends in a VE/VJ Day party. The music in the show consisted of 28 war-time favorites, including The White Cliffs of Dover, We’ll Meet Again, and Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.

 Here hoping we have a happy outcome from our current crises too.

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