Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The Sounds of #TheCrown – @kpgtourguide Listens To The Hits Of 1952 #EnglishTourismWeek

Karen Pierce-Goulding writes…

As part of English Tourism Week I'm leading a special tour for travel trade influencers this Sunday – an exclusive preview of the NEW London Walks tour based on The Crown.

The walk launches in May.

As part of my research I've been listening to the sounds of 1952 – Churchill's speeches and Richard Dimbleby's famous broadcasts, of course, but also the music of the day.

In 1952, the first year in the reign of Elizabeth II, the inaugural UK singles chart was published by the New Musical Express and Al Martino was No.1 with Here in My Heart.

(The New Musical Express newspaper – the NME – closed just last week. HMQ is still going!)

Before record sales were listed in this country, the "Hit Parade" as it was once charmingly known, was measured by sales of sheet music. Eight songs held the No.1 spot in 1952 (including Al Martino, Vera Lynn and Jo Stafford).

Through the hit songs of 1952, part of the backdrop to The Crown is revealed - then, as now, American artists dominate the chart. Vera Lynn, the famous wartime singer, with two hits (Auf Wiedersehn Sweetheart & The Homing Waltz), is the only British singer on the list. Britain's place in the world is changing and the US is dominant in all areas – politics, commerce and entertainment. Both of Lynn's songs have a strongly nostalgic feel. Contrast them with the confident elegance of the great Nat King Cole and the effortless, soaring sound of Al Martino. Compare the sound of post-war Britain and post-war America. It's a vivid indication of the shifting sands of world power.

Here's a playlist featuring all eight hits plus two spoken word tracks from the period - the funeral of King George VI and Winston Churchill's Coronation Day. There's an extra track at the end – a great calypso number from the Trinidadian singer and musician Young Tiger documenting the events of Coronation Day called At the Coronation. I defy you not to dance!

The Crown Walk walk takes place at 2.30 pm every Wednesday and at 2.30 pm every Sunday from May 1st 2018 onward. The meeting point is just outside the Green Park exit (by the fountain) of Green ParkTube.

About Your Correspondent


Karen comes trailing clouds of glory. Travel & Leisure crowned her "the world's greatest tour guide." 

She hosts the Canadian television travel show "London Next Stop." 

She won the London Tourist Board's Guide of the Year award.

She is, quite simply, a star turn – which is why she's the "go to" London guide for every major media concern. 

A reformed actress and occasional journalist, her gold standard walks are, needless to say, vivid and entertaining.

She's the author of Royal London.

* In the run-up to the new tour based on The Crown, and during the spring and summer, Karen will be blogging more about the popular Netlfix series here on The Daily Constitutional. Check out her earlier post – also music-related – HERE

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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