Sunday, 5 May 2013

Retro Vinyl: The Voice Of Winston Churchill (Decca Records,1965)

The 1960s was a decade for variety as far as the long play record was concerned.

1965 particularly was a year where releases by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones alongside the soundtrack to The Sound of Music ruled the album chart supreme.

However one of the most unusual chart entries that year was undoubtedly  a recording featuring the voice of a former Prime Minister which headed to No.6 in the album charts following Winston Churchill's death in January 1965.

Decca records had previously released a 12 LP anthology of collected speeches and narrative by Churchill, however this release culled from that collection consisted of several of Churchill's speeches made between 1940 and 1944  including Fight On The Beaches, Some Chicken.. Some Neck and The Infernal Combustion Engine.

Nearly half a century after Churchill's death,  several of these speeches still make rousing listening, while Churchill's appointment to form a government in the event of World War II is almost humorous as it is dramatic.

The historical events of five years is squeezed into some 45 minutes with dramatic classical music bursts provided with dramatic effect by Cyril Ornadel's orchestra. The musical bursts almost give a flavour of what would come much later with Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds and almost create a storytelling feel to the album.

No doubt this LP commemorating Churchill proved popular amongst anyone old enough to remember the heady days of two decades previous. It proved a keepsake to those who felt they knew Churchill through the medium of radio during World War II and the albums peak at number 6 in the LP charts in 1965 proved a momentous occasion, if only for the fact that it paved the way for  speech albums and audio books in the future.
  • On the recent passing of  former PM Margaret Thatcher, current UK Prime Minister David Cameron referred to the Iron Lady as the greatest Prime Minister of the 20th Century. I would suggest Mr Cameron digs a copy of this album out and listens to how Mr Churchill spearheaded Great Britain through the darkest hour of the 20th century,  a reminder of the darker days the UK faced during the 1940s.

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