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As Time Goes By In The Foothills

5/10/17

Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

Foothills resident Dr. Sheldon Winkler is the author of The Music of World War II: War Songs and Their Stories, now newly released by Merriam Press in March 2017. This second edition is an update and expansion of Dr. Winkler’s first edition released in 2013. The new version contains expanded stories, additional songs, recently discovered pictures, and fascinating new facts about some of the most memorable and iconic songs from WWII. 

Dr. Winkler is Professor Emeritus at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He previously served as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Prosthodontics and Dean of Research, Advanced Education, and Continuing Education at the School of Dentistry. He is a well-known educator, author, editor, researcher, and national and international speaker on prosthodontics, implant dentistry, dental materials, and geriatric dentistry, as well as the music of WWII. He founded the journal Implant Dentistry and is currently Senior Editor of the Journal of Oral Implantology. Winkler also contributes articles to World War II History magazine as part of his ongoing interest in the events from the mid-twentieth-century.

Winkler’s love of music has been a life-long passion. When he was a young boy during World War II, his mother taught him to play the piano. During his elementary years, in public school, the students in the music classes learned lyrics to World War II related songs. This would begin a life-long desire to know more about the events that inspired the music of that time. Winkler went on to form a band in high school that played the Catskill Mountain hotels in New York and the Orange Mountain hotels in New Jersey. Occasionally, he appeared on the radio as a soloist. If this was not remarkable enough, he accomplished all of this while completing his college degree and finishing dental school at New York University College of Dentistry and his advanced training in prosthodontics at the School of Dental Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo. In addition to his dental responsibilities and musical talent, Winkler has collected information through the years about the “story behind” patriotic songs and explored their impact on American culture and attitudes during the World War II years.

The years between 1939-45 produced some of the most memorable and enduring popular music of the Twentieth Century. Patriotism was at an all-time high; the war effort became an integral part of the entertainment industry, creating an emotional dream world of heroes, love, remembrance, reflection and introspection. The Music of World War II tells the stories behind the origins of many of the musical compositions, some of which have survived to become standards, and are popular to this day. The book reviews the origins behind such songs as A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Der Fuehrer’s Face, As Time Goes By, God Bless America, I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen, Johnny Zero, The Ballad of Rodger Young, My Sister and I, Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition, Rosie the Riveter, and many more. Stories of selected World War II movies are also included in the Music of World War II classics, including classics such as Casablanca, The Last Time I Saw Paris, and The White Cliffs of Dover. The updated edition of the book discusses in detail the relatively unknown relationship of the wartime New York Office of British Security Coordination (BSC) in Rockefeller Center and popular wartime songs.

Dr. Winkler states that World War II was one of the most productive periods of American popular music. The tunes written during that era were indispensable for boosting morale at home and raising the spirits of the troops stationed overseas. He believes that “there may never be another period of time where service men and women, their families, friends, and neighbors, will be so eager to express their patriotism through popular music. The war is long over, but the songs live on.

Today, Dr. Winkler is Adjunct Professor at Midwestern University School of Dental Medicine in Glendale, Arizona and the University of Technology School of Oral Health Sciences, Kingston, Jamaica. He is also the President and the Executive Director of the American Academy of Implant Prosthodontics. The Academy has a number of affiliates and component organizations throughout the world. In 2006, Winkler moved to Arizona and relocated the Academy to Scottsdale.

The Music of World War II: War Songs and Their Stories is available from www.Amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and the publisher, Merriam Press, at www.merriam-press.com. For additional information about the book or to contact Dr. Winkler to speak for your group or organization in reference to The Music of World War II: War Songs and Their Stories, he can be reached at swinkdent@cox.net or his business phone at (480) 588-8062.

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.