Monday, 5 July 2010

Anne Shelton

Anne Shelton (born Patricia Jacqueline Sibley, November 10 1923 – July 31 1994) was a popular English vocalist, who is remembered for providing inspirational songs for soldiers both on radio broadcasts, and in person, at British military bases during the Second World War. Shelton was also the original singer in the United Kingdom of the song, Lili Marlene.

Anne Shelton began singing at the age of 13, and by 15 had her own recording contract as a solo artist.

In 1942, Anne Shelton began playing military bases across England and as her popularity grew, was offered her own radio program, Calling Malta, which remained on the air for five years. In 1944, Anne Shelton was invited to sing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Miller invited Shelton to stay on with the band and travel to Versailles, France for a series of shows, she had to turn him down because of prior commitments in Britain, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Miller's aircraft crashed shortly after the shows. But Anne Shelton soon performed with another American: Bing Crosby. Crosby and Shelton appeared on the Variety Bandbox radio show together and afterwards played a show together, duetting on the songs Easter Parade and I'll Get By. In 1948 she recorded If You Ever Fall in Love Again written by Irish songwriter Dick Farrelly who is best remembered for his song Isle of Innisfree, which Anne also recorded. In 1949, she began to make headway Stateside, scoring a pair of hits with Be Mine and Galway Bay, which resulted in her inaugural U.S. tour two years later.

She had a No.1 hit song in 1956 in the UK with Lay Down Your Arms, engineered by Joe Meek. She also had a Top 10 hit in 1961 with her cover version of Sailor. In the same year she participated in BBC Television's A Song for Europe contest, the UK qualifying heat for the Eurovision Song Contest. Her entry, I Will Light a Candle was placed fourth. Shelton made another attempt at Eurovision in 1963 with My Continental Love and came fourth again. In addition to her hits Lay down your arms and Sailor she also charted with other hits in the late 1950s with Seven Days and The village of St Bernadette.

As well as singing and acting in several films, including Miss London Ltd. , Anne appeared in several Royal Variety Performances. On occasion in her career, she was accompanied by her sister, Jo Shelton, also an accomplished and popular singer. There was even an interesting appearance on a 1973 episode of The Benny Hill Show where she sang Put Your Hand in the Hand, a biblically inspired tune by the group Ocean that was a 1971 hit in the U.S. Anne changed the words of one verse to describe briefly her father's positive influence on her family when she was growing up.

Anne Shelton was never able to follow up her big hit, but remained a popular concert attraction nonetheless, performing shows until her death on 31 July 1994. Following her death, numerous compilation albums were published, including such titles as Early Years: Lili Marlene and At Last: The Very Best.

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