Stacks of 45’s – Sink The Bismarck/The Same Old Tale The Crow Told Me

The Germans had the biggest ship, they had the biggest guns
The Bismarck was the fastest ship that ever sailed the sea
On her deck were guns as big as steers and shells as big as trees

When I was young before I had cassettes, the only good way of making a playlist of songs was to stack 45s on the turntable. I would arrange for them to play my favorite songs in my favorite order. These posts are about records I had in my stacks.

This is one of Mother’s records that I really liked and put in my play stacks of 45s. “Sink The Bismarck/The Same Old Tale The Crow Told Me” was written by Johnny Horton and Tillman Franks[1] and released by country artist Johnny Horton on Columbia Records in 1960. The spelling of “Bismarck” was incorrect on Mother’s single, “Bismark”.

I had always thought this was the correct way to spell it! They made the correction on later releases. It is a great telling of the story about the World War II German Battleship, the Bismarck, that Britain was hunting down with every ship they had. The song was inspired by the 1960 British war movie “Sink the Bismarck!” The single was number 6 on the Billboard Country chart and number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The recording was produced by Don Law[2]. Johnny Horton (April 30, 1925 – November 5, 1960)) was a country music, honky tonk, and rockabilly singer and musician, during the 1950s, best known for his saga songs that became international hits beginning with the 1959 single “The Battle of New Orleans”, which was awarded the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording.

Some of the covers of “Sink The Bismarck” have been Don Lang’s[4] version, also in 1960 (in the UK), Homer & Jethro’s novelty cover, with altered lyrics and produced by Chet Atkins on RCA, and the Blues Brothers version, cut from the movie but very good.

The B-side was a good tune also, written by Bill Carlisle[3], “The Same Old Tale The Crow Told Me” got enough playing time from me that I remembered it when I played it on Youtube for this post.



Lyrics

In May of nineteen forty-one, the war had just begun
The Germans had the biggest ship, they had the biggest guns
The Bismarck was the fastest ship that ever sailed the sea
On her deck were guns as big as steers and shells as big as trees

Out of the cold and foggy night came the British ship, the Hood
And every British seaman, he knew and understood
They had to sink the Bismarck, the terror of the sea
Stop those guns as big as steers and those shells as big as trees

We’ll find the German battleship that’s makin’ such a fuss
We gotta sink the Bismarck cause the world depends on us
Hit the decks a-runnin’ boys and spin those guns around
When we find the Bismarck we gotta cut her down

The Hood found the Bismarck on that fatal day
The Bismarck started firin’ fifteen miles away
“We gotta sink the Bismarck” was the battle sound
But when the smoke had cleared away, the mighty Hood went down

For six long days and weary nights they tried to find her trail
Churchill told the people “put every ship a-sail
‘Cause somewhere on that ocean I know she’s gotta be
We gotta sink the Bismarck to the bottom of the sea”

We’ll find that German battleship that’s makin’ such a fuss
We gotta sink the Bismarck ’cause the world depends on us
Hit the decks a-runnin’ boys and spin those guns around
When we find the Bismarck we gotta cut her down

The fog was gone the seventh day and they saw the mornin’ sun
Ten hours away from homeland the Bismarck made its run
The admiral of the British fleet said “turn those bows around
We found that German battleship and we’re gonna cut her down”

The British guns were aimed and the shells were comin’ fast
The first shell hit the Bismarck, they knew she couldn’t last
That mighty German battleship is just a memory
“Sink the Bismarck” was the battle cry that shook the seven seas

We found that German battleship been makin’ such a fuss
We had to sink the Bismarck ’cause the world depends on us
We hit the deck a-runnin’ and we spun those guns around
Yeah, we found the mighty Bismarck and prepared to cut her down

We found that German battleship been makin’ such a fuss
We had to sink the Bismarck ’cause the world depends on us
We hit the deck a-runnin’ and we spun those guns around
We found the mighty Bismarck and then we cut her down


Footnotes
  1. Tillman Ben Franks, Sr. (September 29, 1920 – October 26, 2006), was an American bassist and songwriter and the manager for a number of country music artists including Johnny Horton, David Houston, Webb Pierce, Claude King, and the Carlisles.
  2. Donald Firth Law (February 24, 1902 – December 20, 1982) was an English–American record producer and music-business executive. He produced Robert Johnson’s only recordings, and as head of Columbia Records’ country music division later worked with many leading country musicians including Bob Wills, Carl Smith, Flatt and Scruggs, Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price, Johnny Horton, Marty Robbins, and Johnny Cash.
  3. William Toliver Carlisle (December 19, 1908 – March 17, 2003), better known as Bill Carlisle and Jumpin’ Bill Carlisle, was an American country music singer, songwriter, comedian, and guitarist popular in the late 1940s and 1950s who influenced the genre for more than 50 years. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  4. Don Lang (January 19, 1925 – August 3, 1992) was an English trombonist and singer who led Don Lang and his Frantic Five. Lang played trombone on the song “Revolution 1” on The Beatles’ ‘White Album’.

Sources

Wikipedia
Discogs
Lyrics

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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