Titanic song copyrighted just ten days after the disaster!
The sinking of the “unsinkable” Titanic on April 14-15, 1912, in which 1,513 people died, was (and still is) widely chronicled in song as well as, other media. Indeed the earliest known commercial song about Titanic was copyrighted just ten days after the disaster. Numerous pieces of sheet music and gramophone records were subsequently produced.
Some songs draw attention to the confining of the lower class passengers below decks, thus assuring their certain death. Many versions also mention, perhaps sardonically, the myth of the band’s playing of the well-known hymn “Nearer My God To Thee.”
More songs were made about the sinking of the Titanic than any other single disaster, but it was in the rural south that composers and singers – both black and white – kept the memory and immediacy of the event fresh through numerous performances for years afterward. Many continued the theme of man ‘s hubris and God ‘s will allowing them to use it as a framework for greater meaning.
Find more about the Titanic in our collection.