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Glamorous Wartime Singer

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Sometimes occurring in a nightclub, but any large auditorium will do the trick. A sexy female singer, singing a song to a bunch of soldiers/sailors/airmen who are a long way from home and their significant others. Her outfit will be sexy, but not too revealing, possibly in red. If the main male characters of the story aren't in attendance, they will likely be in the middle of battle, with her songs providing the background music, and scenes switching between her performance and the heroes fighting.

Many Glamorous Wartime Singers sing sentimental songs, reminding the troops of home and the girls they left behind.

If people aren't wolf-whistling, she's clearly not doing the job properly. Causing Nose Bleed is an acceptable substitute, especially in anime.

If the main character is a dashing young captain, well, he's in for a little wartime romance.

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Famous Real Life examples also became a popular subject for drag impersonations in shows produced by servicemen.

Particularly present in World War II settings. Compare Camp Follower and The Chanteuse.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Lacus Clyne from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED may qualify but she only sings for her friends (who also happen to be soldiers) and actively shuns war. Her "clone" Meer Campbell from Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny isn't as squeamish. Lacus and Meer are arguably both deconstructions of this trope, given that the shows explicitly depict their music being used as propaganda to rouse the patriotic fervor of the PLANT populace. Lacus is played a little straighter (and keeps control of her message), though, whereas Meer borders on a subversion of the trope, as the girl accepted to become Lacus's Body Double to be loved by others since "nobody needs Meer" and ultimately had a mental breakdown over losing almost all her self-worth.
  • Minna from Strike Witches (played by the same voice actress as Lacus) is a variant in that she's actively fighting on the front lines herself. In fact, her singing actually serves a purpose in the war as a means of detecting the Neuroi.
    • The Luminous Witches spinoff has a comparitively straighter take, featuring a whole group of non-combattant Witches working as wartime singers.
  • The whole point of most Macross series. Except instead of staying at the USO shows, the singers get to change the course of Humongous Mecha battles... by singing.
  • Yellow Belmont from Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (a.k.a. Lancer/Yellow Dancer from Robotech).
  • Porco Rosso has Gina, in one of the most touching examples.
  • Hillariously subverted in the War episode of Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, when Ms. Aki shows up for a USO show. After getting a good look at her face, all the troops fall to the ground in a near-death state. After pulling a Marilyn Maneuver but before she can finish her introduction, she's quickly grabbed by Gas Mask Mooks, shoved into a body bag, and stuffed into a nuclear waste containment barrel, which is then filled with cement, bolted shut, lowered into a larger air-tight container, sealed in MORE cement, tested for radiation levels, boxed up into a cargo crate, put onto the helicopter she arrived in on, and immediately flown out.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Hamon Crowley fits this trope even before open war breaks between Zeon and the Federation. Her lover Ramba Ral is a soldier and pulls her into schemes like smuggling Zeon Deikun's children to Earth. Federation soldiers are also frequent customers and that results in at least one major brawl.

    Comic Books 
  • Le Petit Spirou: Spirou's grandmother apparently was one of these, and performed in Stripperific gear.
  • Edna alias Gam-ma from 9 Chickweed Lane sang for German POWs. Her mission was to gather intelligence from the homesick soldiers but she found a pair of soldiers (one from each side) instead.
  • Brooke Mc Eldowney has written this story as Edie Ernst, USO Singer - Allied Spy, a comic only available directly from the author.
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Etta Candy and Pamela Smuthers are both pretty war time singers leading their own musical groups, the Holiday Girls and Pamela and the Peas respectively and they are both fashion conscious and tend to look quite glamorous on stage.
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    Film 
  • Marlene Dietrich, at least twice, in 1930's Morocco and again in 1948 in Billy Wilder's A Foreign Affair.
    • And don't forget the flashback scene in Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution. "I may never go home anymore..."
  • Judy Garland took a stab at it in 1942, in For Me And My Gal with Gene Kelly. She's glamorous, but not too glamorous.
  • In the 1945 film Tonight And Every Night, Rita Hayworth plays a showgirl in a London music hall that never misses a performance, not even when there's an air raid going on.
  • The "statues" of Mrs Henderson Presents also keep going during air raids.
  • In Darling Lili, Julie Andrews plays a World War I music hall star (and spy). The film opens at a concert where she keeps up the audience's spirits during an air raid by singing a medley of hits such as "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag" and "It's a Long Way to Tipperary."
  • Veronica Lake plays one in I Wanted Wings.
  • The Caine Mutiny
  • Das Boot has French club singer Monique singing to a drunk and cheering German crowd of soldiers at the beginning of the movie.
  • Schindler's List
  • Apocalypse Now- although these are actually Playboy playmates rather than singers, and their presence causes a riot.
  • Memphis Belle
  • The Stanley Kubrick film Paths of Glory, set in WWI France, ends with a captured German singer (played by Susanne Christian, who later married Kubrick) initially greeted with whistles and catcalls by the soldiers, who subsequently become quite moved by her rendition of 'The Faithful Hussar'.
  • For The Boys is a movie about two singers (played by Bette Midler and James Caan) who perform for U.S. troops in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
  • Sky Marshall Omar Anoke (of all people) from Starship Troopers 3: Marauder is a rare male example. As such, he depends more on inspirational rhetoric than sex appeal but still fulfills his role in the Propaganda Machine perfectly.
  • There's an unusual version of this in the WWII-themed film version of Richard III (1995). Bet you didn't know Christopher Marlowe's "Passionate Shepherd to His Love" made a good swing song...
  • Sadie from Across the Universe, in a rather intense performance of "Helter Skelter" with a Vietnam battle going on simultaneously.
  • Unusual version in Big Fish: The main character accidentally parachutes into one of these during the Korean War— in enemy territory. Also, the "beautiful singer" is in fact a pair of Siamese twins, who want him to bring them to America with him.
  • Woody Allen's Radio Days has a scene where Mia Farrow's character is one of these.
  • Rick's Cafe has a female singer-guitarist in Casablanca.
  • Inverted in South Pacific, with Nellie performing "Honey Bun" in an oversized sailor uniform-although this does nothing to take away the wolf-whistles.
  • The 1944 morale-boosting musical Follow the Boys, besides Dinah Shore and the Andrews Sisters (see below), also enlisted Jeanette MacDonald to serve this role by singing "Beyond The Blue Horizon" and "I'll See You In My Dreams," the latter to a blinded soldier. (Sophie Tucker, to paraphrase The Merry Widow (1934), demonstrates that she knows how to do this but is too old to do it glamorously.)
  • These ladies are part of the USO stage show in Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Rachel Stein posing as Ellis De Vries in Zwartboek.
  • Rob Zombie's Werewolf Women of the SS trailer for Grindhouse is a parody of 1970s Nazisploitation movies and includes one of these.

    Literature 
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Straight Silver, Golke returns to a battlefield where he had been seriously injured. He remembers such a singer — passionately adored by the troops — who had sung about wanting to fight anywhere else but here, but he concludes that she was wrong, coming back was good for him.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel For the Emperor, Amberley Vail first appears as one — albeit for an upper-class reception for notables, including officers — down to the sentimental songs and the romance. (Cain denies believing in Love at First Sight but admits he can remember every detail of his first sight of her.)
  • W.E.B. Griffin's character Craig Lowell hooks up with visiting a visiting starlet, to the delight of his company and the anger of his commanders.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development, Lucille Bluth apparently made quite an impact while touring Vietnam with U.S.O.
  • Blossom had an episode in which the title character's grandfather Buzz Richman is reminiscing about having met Blossom's grandmother (played in the flashback scenes by title character's actress Mayim Bialik) who was depicted as this... and also as part of the Women's Army Corps.
  • Chloe Webb's character on China Beach. The show also featured a performance by Nancy Sinatra, who performed for the troops during the era.
  • Julia Sugarbaker in Charlene's WWII fantasies in Designing Women.
  • Dinosaurs, in the miniseries Nuts to War. When the dinosaurs went to war over pistachios, Charlene, Earl, and Roy (all in dresses) performed for the soldiers, as it was the only way to get to the front lines and bring Robbie home.
  • Doctor Who: "The Empty Child" has one of these, doubling as The Chanteuse, at a nightclub the Doctor enters. After she's done singing, the Doctor goes on stage to ask the audience a question and inadvertently perform Black Comedy.
  • Grease Live! has the Pink Ladies fill this role during Marty's Fantasy Sequence about becoming The Chanteuse of a USO show.
  • The JAG episode honouring Bob Hope and the USO cast Catherine Bell as one of these, during The Vietnam War.
  • Recurring character Louise in French series Lazy Company combines this trope with The Chanteuse and Lady in Red.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Starcrossed", Michael Ryan gives his former lover Cass Trenton a job as a singer in his coffee bar Heaven to help her hide from the Hing.
  • On the NCIS episode "Last Man Standing" (Season 6, Episode 1, original airdate September 23, 2008), Ziva David is undercover as a bar singer in a Sexy Backless Outfit and resembles one of these.

    Music Videos 
  • In the video for "Whiskey Lullaby", Alison Krauss summons up this image when she appears at the beginning of the second verse.
  • Christina Aguilera evokes this with her music video for Candyman, in which she also appears as Rosie the Riveter.
  • Mariah Carey's video for "I Still Believe" shows her performing for a crowd of soldiers, while done up like Marilyn Monroe.
  • Keri Hilson's video for "Pretty Girl Rock" has her dressed up as, among other things, one of these.
  • In the video for "Good to You" by Marianas Trench, Jessica Lee is very much this trope, swaying back and forth on the stage in a red dress.

    Tabletop Games 

    Theatre 
  • In Abie's Irish Rose, Abie met Rose Mary near the end of World War I in France, where she used to sing for the troops. Her looks are pretty enough for Solomon to mistake her for an actress.

    Video Games 
  • Valkyria Chronicles has two examples:
    • Brigitte "Rosie" Stark used to be a famous bar singer before joining Squad 7. As revealed in Valkyria Chronicles II, after leaving the Militia she goes on to be this trope full time, holding concerts during Gallia's Civil War to try and improve race relations.
    • Edy Nelson wants to be one of these, and has started a one-sided rivalry with Rosie, whom she accuses of "stealing her spotlight". Later, she finds out that she's tone-deaf and decides to become an actress instead.
  • Laguna falls for one of these in Final Fantasy VIII. Though at the time she wasn't a singer; she only played the piano.
  • The manual for the first Wing Commander (Which is set up to look like a newsletter for the crew) stated that a troupe of entertainers, including a particularly famous Glamorous Wartime Singer would be visiting the Tiger's Claw. Despite their expected date of arrival taking place during the events of the game, they don't actually appear.

    Western Animation 
  • A rather...peculiar example from The Simpsons. Grandpa mentions in one of his war stories that he was stranded behind enemy lines in France, and rode out the war undercover as a cross-dressing Cabaret singer entertaining German soldiers.
    (Abe's fake breast flies out, landing in Hitler's lap)
    Hitler: "Ach du lieber! Das is nicht eine Booby!"
  • Red Hot Riding Hood of Tex Avery's MGM cartoons is a classic example.

    Real Life 
  • Vera Lynn, British singer, known as "The Forces' Sweetheart". Most famous for "We'll Meet Again" (which played over the ending of Dr. Strangelove) and "The White Cliffs of Dover". Still alive, but long retired from singing. Mentioned in Pink Floyd's "Vera". A sign of how much hope she gave.
    • Gracie Fields was pretty much a second-string national sweetheart, but was perceived to have blown it when she left wartorn Britain to live in her newly-liberated second home in Capri, Italy. This was seen as letting the side down.
  • The Andrews Sisters, the best selling female group in history according to The Other Wiki. Blonde, brunette and redhead.
    • Christina Aguilera's "Candyman" uses the tune of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", one of their songs, where she plays all three of them in the music video.
  • Bob Hope's USO shows relied heavily on this trope for (literally) 50 years. In the '40's they particularly featured singer Frances Langford and her well-loved songs, "I'm In the Mood For Love" and "Embraceable You".
  • Marlene Dietrich, film goddess first and foremost (who'd ducked out of Germany while the getting was good). Did the definitive English version of "Lili Marlene", and lots of personal appearances. And rumor has it shacked up with "Jumping Jim" Gavin of the 82nd Airborne on several occasions.
    • Also George Patton. She went to Europe shortly after D-Day and toured almost continuously across the European theater until V-E Day, performing anywhere that a makeshift stage could be set up. (Her musical saw was apparently an especial hit.) On more than one occasion, she and her troupe came under German fire.
    • ...and all this while under a sentence of death for "treason" personally issued by Adolf Hitler. In his relentless effort to stay classy, Hitler also tossed Marlene's sister into a concentration camp. She survived the war.
  • World War II Germans had Lale Andersen, of "Lili Marleen" fame, and Evelyn Künneke, who toured the Eastern front between 1942 and 1944.
  • Vesta Tilley (seriously) seems to have fulfilled this role a bit for World War I, despite being a male impersonator comedienne. Her role was encouraging young men to enlist, rather than entertaining the troops. Upon the end of the war many former fans were left disillusioned, feeling betrayed by the jarring differences between fare like 'Jolly Good Luck to the Girl who Loves a Soldier' and actual trench life.
  • And on the American side of World War I, vaudeville actress Elsie Janis (also known for impersonations) was known as the "Sweetheart of the A.E.F."
  • Carmen Miranda.
  • Marilyn Monroe performed to the troops in Korea in 1954, wearing a sexy dress despite the cold weather.
  • Dinah Shore, at least when appearing As Herself in the wartime morale-boosting movies Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) and Follow The Boys (1944).
  • Yafa Yarkoni was known as ‘the wartime singer’ back in the day. Due to Israel’s constant state of war, many, many other singers have sung at least some songs about the IDF lifestyle, wars, et cetera.
  • Katherine Jenkins, Welsh opera singer, is a prominent modern example. She gave concerts for British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.


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