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Victory through HarmonyThe BBC and Popular Music in World War II$
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Christina L. Baade

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372014

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372014.001.0001

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“Invasion Year”: Americans in Britain, Americanization, and the Dance Music Backlash

“Invasion Year”: Americans in Britain, Americanization, and the Dance Music Backlash

(p.174) 8 “Invasion Year”: Americans in Britain, Americanization, and the Dance Music Backlash
Victory through Harmony

Christina L. Baade

Oxford University Press

Focusing on 1944, “Invasion Year,” Chapter 8 explores how the BBC, British musicians, and fans negotiated the “special relationship” with their American allies and the potential threat that Americanization posed to a distinctly British culture. In the months surrounding D-Day, when American soldiers, Armed Forces Radio, and performers like Bing Crosby and Glenn Miller entered Great Britain in force, British dance musicians and enthusiasts welcomed the opportunity to observe American musicians in person. Meanwhile, the BBC became concerned with promoting British-style dance music, which it defined in opposition to American swing, and discouraging “pseudo-American” bands, like Geraldo's. Nationalism aside, dance music's value as a morale booster existed only so long as it remained popular. In 1944, BBC Listener Research determined that dance music had declined significantly in popularity, and programmers reduced its presence in the schedule—a decision that critics and performers, especially those who had contact with soldiers, contested.

Keywords:   special relationship, GIs, Armed Forces Radio, swing, Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, BBC Listener Research, American, D-Day

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