Sunday, September 20, 2015

Will the World End with Music?

Civil War Sunday resumes next Sunday.

One thing appears certain.  If the world had ended after June 1, 1980, the last song anyone tuned in to CNN would have heard would have been contained on this video.

The band is the United States Armed Forces band, and they were gathered by Cable News Network, founded by Ted Turner, so that CNN could record this for the end of the world.  Now international, 24 hour CNN is listened to by over 250 million people each day.

But, at one time, there was no such thing as a 24 hour news station.

Back when I was growing up, this is how TV stations signed off each night, because stations were not on 24 hours a day.

Here's one for those who don't know the words to the first (and most commonly sung) stanza of the United States National Anthem- a video, complete with lyrics for the song, "The Star Spangled Banner".  

Yes, according to what I've read  the stations (at least back in the 1960's) were required by law to play our National Anthem at the end of the broadcast day.  I don't know if that s true, because some remember playing of the "Air Force Hymn" instead.

But Ted Turner decided that, rather than use the National Anthem (or the Air Force Hymn), he would use the hymn "Nearer My God to Thee" - the hymn that was supposedly the last song played by the ship orchestra of the Titanic as it went down.

Except, there is conflicting evidence concerning if the last song was indeed "Nearer My God to Thee." To me, it doesn't matter.  What is true is that the musicians stayed with the ship and played music to try to calm the passengers - and they were all heroes, every last one, for staying with the ship until the end.

Finally, to give equal time to my readers across the ocean, I wanted to leave you with a UK TV signoff (channel 4) from 1992.  (You may only want to listen to the first 50 seconds or so.)

Would you be watching TV if the world was ending?  I have a recurrent nightmare of having to evacuate my house because of an impending nuclear war.  In some of these dreams, there is a TV playing in the background.

But I never care what song is playing.


  1. Hmmmm...if the world was ending would I be watching TV? :) Considering I don't really watch T.V. now (except for this one soap opera of which I can't seem to kick the habit) I probably wouldn't be watching T.V.
    And it is so incredible that the musicians played till literally the bitter end. I'm hoping that playing music was also keeping them calm, too. True heroes.

  2. When I was growing up in Australia at the time of the first television broadcast, the station closed with the song: God Save the Queen. That continued for decades in England and its colonies. It's not the most inspiring song in the world, but it imparts continuity every time it's played.

  3. This is such a fun and clever posts. This is so cute so if the world was to end right now the last song I will here would be, now I've had the time of my life.

  4. I think nowadays everyone would be on their phones. Recording. Or tweeting it.


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