If any male artist has the requisite affinity with the timeless standards that helped maintain the public’s indomitable spirits during the Second World War then it’s Max Bygraves. Set to turn 88 this October, the evergreen East London-born variety entertainer actually juggled a job as an apprentice carpenter with his evening role of performing turns in the capital’s air raid shelters.
After joining the RAF two weeks before his 18th birthday, he went on to perform well over 1,000 concerts for the forces, garnering the title ‘Best Act in Fighter Command’. Post-war he became a household name and veteran of countless London Palladium appearances, changing his name to Max after it stuck following his penchant for impersonating his hero, comic Max Miller.
He continued to tour and delight his fervent fanbase tirelessly for the next 30 years before being honoured with an OBE in 1982. Now 25 years after his original Sing-A-Long-A War Years release turned platinum, a double album of music hall medleys is being re-released to commemorate the Victory In Europe celebrations.
And the man famed for his catchphrase ‘I want to tell you a story’, certainly does on this bumper collection of old-fashioned ditties. From the defiant majesty of White Cliffs Of Dover and We’ll Meet Again to the ageless nostalgia of Sentimental Journey and East End charm of Lambeth Walk, it should take you back to the sepia-tinted days of gramophones, Victorian-era dancehalls and stepping out with your nearest and dearest.
For more info on Max, check out: http://www.maxbygraves.com