You are here
Home >

“Hold me up in mighty waters, Keep my eyes on things above…” – from “Autumn” – The Titanic’s Last Waltz?

Music on the Titanic

Music Aboard the TitanicWho was the Bandleader on the doomed TitanicWallace Hartley.

What was the last song played before unsinkable Titanic plunged to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean? Well, on that point there seems to be some disagreement.

According to Walter Lord’s famous 1955 account of the disaster in his book, “A Night To Remember,” most of the Titanic survivors reported the band’s final piece of music to be, “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” The hymn was even played at Titanic Band Leader Wallace Hartley’s funeral, in memoriam. Hartley was not among the survivors.

But another credible account, that of Harold Bride, the Titanic’s junior wireless operator, says it was a different song, “Autumn,” that played at the end.

In an interview with the New York Times after arriving safely in New York aboard the rescue ship Carpathia, Bride states, “…The ship was gradually turning on her nose – just like a duck does that goes down for a dive. I had only one thing on my mind – to get away from the suction. The band was still playing. I guess all of the band went down. They were playing “Autumn” then…”

What else would the band have been playing on the White Star Line that tragic night of April 14th, 1912? Songs of the period, no doubt. Songs like Irving Berlin’s “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag,” “Let Me Call You Sweetheart…”

These songs and others were released together on an interesting album entitled, “Music Aboard The Titanic.”

Then of course there’s the 1997 Academy Award winner for Best Dramatic Score, James Horner’s Titanic Soundtrack from the James Cameron blockbuster film, the first soundtrack to reach the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts in two decades.

It was Celine Dion’s powerful rendition of, “My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From ‘Titanic’)” that propelled the soundtrack and the movie as well.

Released as a sequel to the James Horner Soundtrack, Back to Titanic features a collection of the original soundtrack music and background tunes not found on the first disc, including the aforementioned “Nearer, My God, to Thee.”