"We'll Meet Again" is a 1939 British song made famous by singer Vera Lynn with music and lyrics composed and written by English songwriters Ross Parker and Hughie Charles. The song was published by Michael Ross Limited, whose directors included Louis Carris, Ross Parker and Norman Keen. Keen, an English pianist also collaborated with Parker and Hughie Charles on "We'll Meet Again" and many other songs published by the company, including "There'll Always Be an England" and "I'm In Love For The Last Time". The song is one of the most famous of the Second World War era, and resonated with soldiers going off to fight as well as their families and sweethearts.
The song's original recording featured Lynn accompanied by Arthur Young on Novachord (an early synthesizer), while a rerecording in 1953 featured a more lavish instrumentation and a chorus of British Armed Forces personnel.
The song gave its name to the 1943 musical film We'll Meet Again in which Lynn played the lead role (see 1943 in music). Lynn's 1953 recording is featured in the final scene of Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film Dr. Strangelove - with a bitter irony, as the song accompanies a nuclear holocaust that wipes out humanity. It was also used in the closing scenes of the 1986 BBC television serial The Singing Detective. British director John Schlesinger used the song in his 1979 World War II film Yanks, which is about British citizens and American soldiers during the military buildup in the UK as the Allies prepare for the Normandy landings.
During the Cold War, Lynn's recording was included in the package of music and programmes held in 20 underground radio stations of the BBC's Wartime Broadcasting Service (WTBS), designed to provide public information and morale-boosting broadcasts for 100 days after a nuclear attack. The song reached number 29 on the U.S. charts. Lynn sang the song in London on the 60th anniversary of VE Day in 2005.
In April 2020, a charity duet with Katherine Jenkins, released in 2014, reached number 72 on the UK Singles Chart, with proceeds going to NHS charities. In May 2020 following the 75th Anniversary celebrations of VE Day, the solo version by Lynn also reached number 55 in the UK chart.
- Numerous artists have recorded this song.
- Traditionally, this song is played on 5 May as a closure to the Liberation Day Concert in Amsterdam, to mark the end of World War II in the Netherlands, as the monarch leaves the concert on a canal boat.
- The Byrds recorded the song as the closing track of their debut album Mr. Tambourine Man in 1965, inspired by the song's use in Dr. Strangelove. The credit reversed their first names.
- In 1980 the Viennese singer Margot Werner released a German version called Muß ich auch geh'n. Unlike Lilli Marlene, which was popular with troops on both sides during World War Two, Muß ich auch geh'n is little known in Germany.
- Johnny Cash recorded a cover version as part of his 2002 album American IV: The Man Comes Around, the last album released in his lifetime.
- The Ink Spots recorded a cover
In film and television
- On the final episode of The Colbert Report, the song was sung by Stephen Colbert in a more upbeat tempo with members of his family and an assembled crowd of many of his most prominent guests.
- The song was sung by Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins during the final performance at VE Day 70: A Party to Remember at Horse Guards Parade in London in 2015.
- On the film Kong: Skull Island, John C. Reilly's character starts singing the song to a picture of his wife who he has not seen in decades, as he is on the way to be rescued. Vera Lynn's version then starts playing and is also featured in the soundtrack album.
- The first trailer of season 3 of Westworld uses the song as the theme of the trailer. A song with same name composited by Ramin Djawadi is also used in the last episode of season 2.
- On the animated television show Gravity Falls, the main antagonist of the series, Bill Cipher, sings it in the episode "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls".
- In Episode 6 of the French animated series The Long Long Holiday, Colonel Douglas sings the song to Gaston.
- At the end of the film Dr. Strangelove, the song is played over footage of nuclear detonations.
- In the final episode to the animated series Freakazoid, "Normadeus", it ends with the entire cast coming out in a group rendition of the song.
- During season three of the show Stranger Things, this song plays before the credits sequence.
- During episode 1 of season 5 of Gotham the song plays at the beginning
- Pennyworth season 02 episode 07: the clubgoers all take over the song to shut the fascist soldiers up while those are singing the Rule Britannia! British patriotic song in the club.
- In "Why Women Kill" season 2 episode 3: the episode ends with the Vera Lynn recording.
- The Johnny Cash recording is used in the trailer for the movie Jackass Forever
- The song's featured in a scene in the 2019 film The Best of Enemies.
References in other works