Friday, August 17, 2012

Bob Dylan and the Titanic--or is it the Carpenters?

The Titanic--it's everywhere!

Today, I stumbled up on a news story that says Bob Dylan is going to include a 14-minute song about the Titanic in his next album, Tempest.  In fact, it's the title track!  The song will be some sort of narrative--kind of "creative nonfiction," as it will also include references to Leonardo DiCaprio.

The album comes out September 11.  I can't wait to hear the song.

Apparently, Dylan had been listening to the old folk song that I remember singing at camp:

Oh, they built the ship Titanic, to sail the ocean blue,
And they thought they had a ship that the water would never leak through.
But the Lord's almighty hand knew the ship would never stand
It was sad when that great ship went down.

Oh it was sad
Oh it was sad
It was sad when that great ship went down to the bottom of the-
Husbands and wives, little bitty children lost their lives
It was sad when the great ship went down.


Sorry for the earworm, everyone.

I got sidetracked when reading it because the first article I read said he had been listening to "older folk songs, including The Carpenter’s 'Titanic.' "

Wait, what?  Did the Carpenters sing about the Titanic?  Would Bob Dylan like such a song?

I went wildly Googling about, not finding anything and getting infected with all manner of Carpenters earworms.  

Finally, I drilled back to the original interview at Rolling Stone.  It said this:

Numerous folk and gospel songs gave accounts of the event, including the Carter Family's "The Titanic," which Dylan drew from. 

Carters, not Carpenters.

 Here's the correct story, on the Rolling Stone's website.  And here is the Carter Family singing the Titanic song.

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