Titanic, The

"The Titanic" (also known as "It Was Sad When That Great Ship Went Down" and "Titanic (Husbands and Wives)") is a folk song and children's song most known for being sung at summer camp.

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"The Titanic" is about the sinking of the RMS Titanic which sank on April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg.The first folk songs about the Titanic disaster appeared within weeks after the disaster. Recordings of various songs about the disaster date to as early as 1913. In most variants, although not the earliest, the chorus starts with a line "it was sad, so sad, it was sad", and in many versions, the line "to the bottom of the..." appended after the repeat of "went down." Other than the chorus, different versions may contain verses in different order. There are several regional variations on the song. According to Newman I. White's 1928 book American Negro Folk-Songs, "The Titanic" has been traced back to 1915 or 1916 in Hackleburg, Alabama. Other versions from around 1920 are documented in the Frank C. Brown Collection at Duke University in North Carolina. Early recordings include Ernest Stoneman's "The Titanic" (Okeh 40288) in September 1924 and William and Versey Smith's "When That Great Ship Went Down" in August 1927. According to Jeff Place, in his notes for the Anthology of American Folk Music: "African-American musicians, in particular, found it noteworthy and ironic that company policies had kept Blacks from the doomed ship; the sinking was also attributed by some to divine retribution."

****REVISED July 19, 2019 - SR****

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