God Moves On The Water

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.

It was sad when that great ship went down.

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.

Here is a selection of 25 songs – God Moves On The Water – Songs about the sinking of the Titanic. From Alexander Street – Music Online

Find more about the Titanic in our collection.

Let Us Compare Mythologies

Although today in Canada is yesterday for us, September 21 is Leonard Cohen’s birthday – a special one – his 80th.

Cohen is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. His work has explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships and his 13th studio album will be released tomorrow.

In 1957 Folkways Records released the “Six Montreal Poets” album with A.J.M. Smith, Irving Layton, Louis Dudek, F.R. Scott, A.M. Klein, and Leonard Cohen – all reading their own poetry on the record.  Leonard Cohen reads the following poems (recorded in 1957):

  • For Wilf and his house (1955)
  • Beside the shepherd (1956)
  • Poem (1955)
  • Lovers (1955)
  • The sparrows (1955)
  • Warning (1956)
  • Les Vieus (1954)
  • Elegy (1955)

All poems are from “Let Us Compare Mythologies

Listen to Six Montreal Poets.