Between the Wars

In today’s pro­gramme, we’re play­ing music from the peri­od between the First and Sec­ond World Wars – from big bands to bal­lads and movie sound­tracks – fea­tur­ing restored orig­i­nal record­ings along­side mod­ern recre­ations.

Fol­low­ing the First World War, every­thing had changed and the soci­ety of the ear­ly part of the cen­tu­ry would nev­er return. But despite the rigours of the Depres­sion, peo­ple still knew how to have fun, and the pop­u­lar­i­ty of mass enter­tain­ment – whether it was live music, wire­less, gramo­phone record or movie, reached an all-time high.

The music had changed, too, with the advent of new dances, swing, and the start of the big band era. In today’s pro­gramme, you’ll hear amaz­ing sound­tracks from Bus­by Berke­ley’s spec­tac­u­lar films, ear­ly Frank Sina­tra with Tom­my Dorsey, the won­der­ful writ­ing of Noël Cow­ard, instru­men­tal hits of the peri­od, songs that even today still bring a tear to the eye — and much, much more.

Lis­ten in par­tic­u­lar for songs in which a sig­nif­i­cant part of the total run­ning time from the start of a num­ber is tak­en up by an instru­men­tal or vocal sec­tion — what we would today call an extend­ed “intro”. In fact, it’s the “verse” sec­tion of the song that you sel­dom hear today — fol­lowed by the more famil­iar cho­rus, which is the part we might remem­ber.

Inevitably, with­out check­ing the release dates of each of these songs, it’s pos­si­ble there’s the odd num­ber from the 40s in today’s show, but the major­i­ty of those we’ll leave for anoth­er day.

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin. If you are tun­ing in from Cana­da or the Unit­ed States, please click here. Oth­er­wise, click here to start your play­er, if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to do so. You may also like to tune in to our exper­i­men­tal High Qual­i­ty HE-AAC stream at – now with meta­da­ta!

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