The 1951 Rolling Review Show … # 70

The 1951 Rolling Review Show … # 70

Welcome to the 1951 Rolling Review Show which twice weekly features pieces of music I have enjoyed at some time in my life. I hope you enjoy them as well. Let me know if you do.


A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square – Vera Lynn

 “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” is a song with lyrics by Eric Maschwitz and music by Manning Sherwin. It was written in the then small French fishing village of Le Lavandou shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. According to Maschwitz, the title was “stolen” from a story by Michael Arlen. The song had its first performance in the summer of 1939 in a local bar, where the melody was played on piano by Manning Sherwin with the help of the resident saxophonist. Maschwitz sang the words while holding a glass of wine, but nobody seemed impressed.

The song was published in 1940 when it was first performed in the London revue New Faces by Judy Campbell. In the same year it was also performed by both Ray Noble and then by the wonderful Vera Lynn “The Forces’ Sweetheart”.


A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square

That certain night
The night we met
There was magic abroad in the air
There were angels dining at the Ritz
And a nightingale sang in Berkeley square

I may be right I may be wrong
But I’m perfectly willing to swear
That when you turned and smiled at me
A nightingale sang in Berkeley square

The moon that lingered over London town
Poor puzzled moon he wore a frown
How could he know we two were so in love
The whole damned world seemed upside down

The streets of town were paved with stars
It was such a romantic affair
And as we kissed and said goodnight
A nightingale sang in Berkeley square

How strange it was
How sweet and strange
There was never a dream to compare
To those hazy crazy nights we met
And a nightingale sang in Berkeley square

Ah this heart of mine
Loud and fast
Like a merry-go-round in a fair
We would dance cheek to cheek
And a nightingale sang in Berkeley square

The dawn came stealing up
All gold and blue
To interrupt our rendez-vous
I still remember how you smiled and said
Was that a dream or was it true?

Our homeward step was just as light
As the dancing feet of Astaire
And like an echo far away
And a nightingale sang in Berkeley square
And a nightingale sang in Berkeley square

That night in Berkeley square.


11 responses to “The 1951 Rolling Review Show … # 70

  1. What a beautiful voice! I did know neither the song nor the singer! Thank you very much for sharing! Have a great weekend, Kris!

  2. I wonder how many of us remember Vera Lynn singing on BBC! She was regularly requested on BBC”s “Two-Way Family Favorites” which was based around music requests from/to overseas military in the 1950’s. Nothing wrong with my long term memory… but short term??????

  3. Such a melancholy song. Nice to meet you!

  4. My first time to hear this song was when the Manhattan Transfer performed it on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I’ve never heard Vera Lynn, but her voice is lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  5. memories of 1950’s incredible

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