Dame Vera Lynn discovers lost recordings

Recordings made by Dame Vera Lynn over 60 years ago and not heard since then will be released on Decca later this month.

Dame Vera, her daughter Virginia and archivist Andrew Dalton came across the acetates, which had not been issued or even heard by anyone since 1947, in a recent tidy out of some boxes of vintage memorabilia.

In Andrew Dalton’s own words: “I finally discovered at the bottom of an old cupboard what in my dreams I had scarcely hoped to find: a bag of dusty acetate recordings with faded, barely legible handwritten labels... These fragile discs were almost certainly one-offs and had lain neglected and unheard for over 60 years.”

Decca, Dame Vera’s original record label, are now storing the recordings in their archive, and will be releasing them for the first time on 24 May, on an album entitled Unfortgettable. Last year Dame Vera’s album We’ll Meet Again - The Very Best of Vera Lynn went to number one.

One notable track on the new album is the moving love song, I’ve Never Loved Anyone, made just a few years into Dame Vera’s marriage to musician Harry Lewis. Her performance of Gershwin’s Summertime is also poignant, recorded shortly after she became a mother. A third precious discovery is the one and only duet that exists with her fellow ‘forces’ sweetheart’ Anne Shelton, Say Something Sweet.

Joining these long-lost gems on the album will be a new song called Not Forgotten, which Dame Vera recorded just last year with female swing duo Swingtime Sweethearts. Proceeds from this original track will go to Dame Vera’s own Trust for Children with Cerebral Palsy and the Not Forgotten Association, which raises money for the serving wounded and ex-Service with disabilities

Dame Vera herself is excited about the release of the recently discovered material: “It's great to be able to find some tracks of my recordings that haven't been heard before, and I hope that people who are used to hearing the established songs will find something a little different”.