It was on this date 73 years ago that the German battleship Bismarck, which three days earlier had sunk the British battlecruiser HMS Hood in the Battle of the Denmark Strait, was itself sunk in the Atlantic.
Only three of the Hood’s crew of 1,418 survived, as did a little more than a hundred of the Bismarck’s 2,200-man crew.
The late American country singer Johnny Horton recorded a song called “Sink the Bismarck” in connection with the release of a movie about the sinking in 1960. Here is a rather bizarre performance on Dick Clark’s Saturday night TV show.
It recalls a time when it was possible to make a hit song based on a historical event. Horton also had popular songs about the Battle of New Orleans of 1814 and the Alaska Gold Rush of the late 19th century.
It’s an era that pretty much ended with The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. I miss it.