Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Unpublished music from Gracie Fields to be released

Gracie Fields
Dame Gracie enjoyed a British and Hollywood film career

Unreleased songs by the late music hall and cinema star Dame Gracie Fields are to get a new lease of life after being saved from storage.

The music dates back to 1938 and includes songs such as Sing As We Go and rare Irving Berlin recordings.

Rochdale-born Fields was a forces sweetheart alongside Dame Vera Lynn, who is enjoying a musical resurgence.

Dame Gracie, who was once billed as the highest paid actress for films such as Sally in Our Alley, died in 1979.

Our Gracie - The Best of Gracie Fields has been put together from rediscovered recordings which were part of the singer's radio broadcasts sponsored by Fairy Soap.

They were never released and went into a record company's storage, where they remained until uncovered by archivist Ray Crick, who recognised their potential and saved them for posterity.

Mr Crick said: "To find such live, vital performances that hadn't previously seen the light of day, and from one of the truly great stars of the time, is an amazing stroke of fortune."

Dame Gracie performed for the allied troops many times, but because she married Italian film director Monty Banks, she had to leave the UK for America.

Although she had to gave up her British citizenship because of her marriage to man from a country at war with Britain, she regained it shortly before her death when she was made a Dame of the British Empire.

Dame Gracie was recently portrayed in film by Jane Horrocks for a BBC Four drama.

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