She’s a Killer Queen

"Tell me, Mr Obama, what compression rate did you use?"

"Tell me, Mr Obama, what compression rate did you use?"

Baracka Obama is in Europe this week and one of his engagements was an audience with the Queen of England. To mark the occasion, the US President presented the British monarch with a shiny new iP*d. He also filled the player with videos of her 2007 visit to the US as well as mp3s of forty Broadway show tunes. My guess is that she already has these ones: There’s No Business Like Show Business, Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, and Send in the Clowns. Much of the comment concerning the gift has focused on its appropriatness, the legality of the mp3s, and alternative suggestions as to what tunes he should have chosen. What the American president may not have realised, however, is that Her Royal Highness already has an iP*d. Unsurprisingly, the songs on her favourites list are low on hip hop, punk and metal, but high on those show tunes and other easy listening favourites. For the first time here, I present the five most played tracks on Queen Elizabeth II’s iP*d

One of the biggest hits of the wartime years was The Andrews Sisters‘ Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. The song tells of a drafted bugle player who is unhappy because he cannot practice.  But things improve when his captain drafts more musicians into his unit and they form a band. The song was recorded in 1941 and was performed by the group in that year’s film, Buck Privates, for which the ladies received an Oscar nomination. In 1945, Elizabeth Windsor joined the Women’s Auxilliary Territorial Service, training as a driver and mechanic

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy – Andrews Sisters

In 1946, 20-year-old Elizabeth’s dad, King George VI, awarded the OBE to the popular entertainer, George Formby. Although often associated with the ukulele, the singer from Wigan actually played a cross between a banjo and a ukulele called the banjolele. Formby did much to entertain troops and keep the nation happy at home and both his songs and his films were popular during wartime. Leaning on a Lampost sold 150,000 copies upon its release in 1937

Leaning on a Lamp Post – George Formby

As part of her education, Princess Elizabeth studied French and still speaks the language fluently. La Mer by Charles Trenet was adapted into an English language version, Beyond the Sea, made famous by Bobby Darin in 1960. Trenet’s original was written in 1943 on a train journey with two of his friends. Bernardo Bertolucci’s film, The Dreamers (2003), made good use of Trenet’s original, though I do not think that this film would amuse the Queen

La Mer – Charles Trenet

Elizabeth II has been Queen since 1953. One of her duties is to attend the annual Royal Variety Performance, which brings together popular singers and comedians of the day. One of the attendees was Benny Hill, whose song, Ernie (the Fastest Milkman in the West) was a Christmas number one in 1971. This moving tale, based on the his experiences as a milkman, chronicles a bizarre love triangle involving a milkman and a bread delivery man as they compete for the affections of a widow on their route. The song was chosen by David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party, on a 2006 episode of Desert Island Discs

Ernie – Benny Hill

In the days before iP*ds, computers, satellite TV and computer games the majority of families used to sit in front of the telly and watch programmes on the two or three channels that were available to them. For many years in the 70s, most families in England, including the Royal family, watched the Morecambe & Wise Christmas Specials in their millions. Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise were a comic duo whose regular show featured comedy sketches, lighthearted songs and weekly guests. Bring Me Sunshine was their signature tune and was often used to close their shows and I’m sure the lads wouldn’t have minded me using it here to close this post

Bring Me Sunshine – Morecambe & Wise

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