There’ll Always be an England Sheet Music

It has been a while since we looked at a piece of sheet music on the blog, and tonight we have one of the biggest hits of the Second World War, ‘There’ll Always be an England’:SKM_C284e18012211440This song was written in April 1939 by lyricist Ross Parker. Apparently his publisher rang him up and said that as the song ‘God bless America’ was doing very well in the states, perhaps he could write something similar for the UK? Parker sat down with his composing partner Hughie Charles and came up with ‘There’ll always be an England’. The song went down well and was chosen to be used as the finale of a film called ‘Discoveries’, a film based on a BBC talent-spotting show. The film needed a big patriotic finale and ‘There’ll always be an England’ was chosen as the piece of music to end the film with, sung by a ten-year old boy Glyn Davies with chorus, military band and hundreds of uniformed extras- as seen on the cover of the sheet music.

The film was released as war broke out and although the movie itself has largely been forgotten, the song was to become a hugely popular anthem of the war years. 200,000 copies of the sheet music were sold in the first two months of them war alone.

Its lasting popularity though was to come through one young female singer, Vera Lynn, who made it one of her two signature tunes and it is her version that will be forever associated with the Second World War. Ironically modern sensibilities have seen this track removed from a modern album of her greatest songs as it is no longer deemed politically correct to express pride in England as an entity!

The inside of the sheet music has the tune and words printed on it:SKM_C284e18012211450

SKM_C284e18012211451The words of the song read:

I give you a toast Ladies and gentlemen

I give you a toast Ladies and gentlemen

May this fair land we love so well

In Dignity and freedom dwell

While worlds may change and go awry

There’ll always be an England

While there’s a country lane

Wherever there’s a cottage small

Beside a field of grain

There’ll always be an England

While there’s a busy street

Wherever there’s a turning wheel

A million marching feet

Red, white and blue

What does it mean to you?

Surely you’re proud

Shout it loud

Britons awake!

The Empire too

We can depend on you

Freedom remains

These are the chains

Nothing can break

There’ll always be an England

And England shall be free

If England means as much to you

As England means to me

The song became a proud anthem of the war years, sung by men and women throughout the conflict. When HMS Barham was sunk, the survivors kept their spirits up singing the song whilst waiting rescue and despite modern sensibilities it will be forever associated with the war years.

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