Sunday, October 26, 2008

Legend of the U.S.S. Titanic (music)

image( 1969)
Jaime Brockett
Brockett's Web Page
Music and Lyrics

There are one-hit wonders.  And there are even no-hit wonders.  One of my favorite of the latter is Jaime Brockett's delightfully goofy "Legend of the U.S.S. Titanic."

Brockett was a folksinger from the Boston area who in 1969 recorded an album on the small Oracle label.  It probably would have been lost among all the other albums released at that time if it weren't for his take on the Titanic.

Brockett took an old Ledbelly song and expanded it to a 13-minutes talking blues masterpiece.  Well, not really talking -- Brockett speaks frenetically as he recites a unique take on the disaster.  He manages to work in heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, and 497 1/2 feet of rope.  Hemp rope.

Yes, it's marijuana, and the song tells how Captain Smith gets stoned on the 497 1/2 feet of rope and ends up hitting the iceberg.

The song was immense fun and became a hit on college and progressive rock radio stations.  It's impossible to listen to it and not smile a little bit.

The album did well enough for Brockett to get a contract with Capitol records.  Alas, it did poorly, and his career, like the ship in the song, sank down to small venues and coffeehouses.

But anyone of the right age most certainly remembers Jack Johnson, the Titanic, and 497 1/2 feet of rope.

16 comments:

jamieshannon53 said...

jamie: boy I thought i would never see this song again through the years Ive tried explaining this song about 497 1/2 feet of rope to people and nobody has heard of it back in the late 60's early 70's i use to love it had your album back then some how lost it and have never been able to find it guess through this techno age all things are possible would love to see a re-generation of this song on radio great song. would love to get it and even hear it. please release a you tube video. bet it gets alot of hits. sincerly and old fan jamie shannon

Anonymous said...

Gawd! I have been looking for this for so long I thought I'd die first. LOL. Thanks so very much for making it available. ~c4evap

Anonymous said...

YOU TOTALLY ROCK DUDE!

P.C.Chapman said...

Man.. WCMF in Rochester,NY and ,Titanic! I was working in a ski shop in the service department and when this came on ALL work stopped. Thank You.

Anonymous said...

Mighty glad to have found this site, I love this song and have enjoyed it since it came out...
A group of us old hippies that are going on a boat trip next month and I'm choosing it for the theme song....
Great tune for sure and a most memorable one from that era.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. Heard this song on youtube today and it brought back the memories. KAAY out of Little Rock was THE station to listen to at night. Any one else used to listen to Beaker Street?

Anonymous said...

Listened to Beaker Street all the time. I was living in Boone, Iowa and they referred to Boone as the bubblegum capital of the world.

barefoot gardener said...

I'm too young to have heard this the first time around, but my dad had the record, and we listened to this often when I was young. We even have a standing joke in the family that it's not the 497 1/2 feet of rope that's the trouble, it's the 2 1/2 feet that are missing! lol! Thanks so much for reminding me of this gem...

GaryandKathy Bishop said...

I heard this song while driving with friends across central Florida in 1970. We picked up KAAY and listened to the entire song.....then went out and bought the album. It is still in my basement. Wow!! What a memory!!!

Harv Haddix

Anonymous said...

I have been searching for this off and on for years, and I finally bought it on CD for 99 bucks this is from an unforgettable time.

Anonymous said...

This song was a huge hit in the late 60's/'70's, on "underground" radio. Jack Johnson the boxer is denied passage on the Titanic, even though he has a ticket (listen to the song, you'll laugh until you cant anymore). So he places a curse on the ship, the rest is history as we know it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, every person under the age of 25, east of the Rockies, from Canada to central Mexico. 1,000,000 broadcast Watts of rock n' roll power!!.

Anonymous said...

To this day as a code for getting high, my pops and I say we're hanging out by the rail, diggin the icebergs!

eddie willers said...

Saw a post at Hollywood Reporter where someone said Thomas Jefferson grew marijuana and another poster corrected him and said he grew hemp.

I posted "Shhhhhhhit baby, I ain't making rope no more."

Got me thinking and a search brought me here. Good fun.

Anonymous said...

KAAY Little Rock was on Saturday/Sunday nights-Beaker Street-Firesign Theatre-and this song was a fav on Real Rock Radio KSHE 95, St. Louis, MO in early 70's. "You gotta let it out Captain!". I think of the 8-10 of us who camped every weekend one summer there wasn't anyone who didn't know all the lyrics.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Found this! I've been talking about this since I was a kid! And no one knew anything about it! I'm going to play it for everyone!