Various Artists

The History of Pop Radio, Vol. 9: 1941 [OSA/Radio History]

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The ninth volume of the German History label's 15-CD box set The History of Pop Radio is devoted to the music of 1941, and it contains some of the most popular songs ("Daddy," "Yours") and performers (Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Bing Crosby) of that year. But rather than presenting 1941's best or most successful recordings, or even a representative or interesting selection of the year's tracks, it contains for the most part a miscellaneous collection of tracks and artists, some of the music not even dating from 1941 at all. For example, "It's Foolish But It's Fun" sung by Deanna Durbin -- which may be from the soundtrack to her film Spring Parade (no sources are provided for the material, though, the album title notwithstanding, none seem to be Airchecks) -- appeared in 1940, as did the Top Five hit "Six Lessons From Madame La Zonga" by Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra. "Six Lessons From Madame La Zonga" is credited to singer Helen O'Connell, just as the Glenn Miller track, "Yes My Darling Daughter," is credited to singer Marion Hutton. Lena Horne's "Just One of Those Things," clearly borrowed from the soundtrack to Panama Hattie, is from 1942. Most egregiously, Peggy Lee's "My Heart Stood Still," the last track (which is sonically far superior to everything that has gone before), must date from some time in the 1950s or later. The problem with the album isn't just chronology, however. The disc is crammed with second-rate material, much of it performed by British artists doing pale imitations of the American originals. You won't get much of an idea of what was special about music in 1941 by listening.

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