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A fleet of ships, known as The First Fleet, leaves Portsmouth, Great Britain with a cargo of over 1,000 convicts who will found a penal colony that will become the first European settlement in Australia. They will reach Australia at Botany Bay in mid-January 1788, inspiring the oft-recorded folk song Botany Bay.
The passenger ship Lady Elgin, bound for Chicago out of Milwaukee, sinks after a collision with the schooner Augusta in Lake Michigan off Highwood, Illinois, USA. The incident results in the loss of about 300 lives in what will come to be known as "one of the greatest marine horrors on record." The song Lost On The Lady Elgin by Henry C. Work, will be inspired by this disaster. (1860)
Early in the morning, the liner RMS Titanic, believed to be unsinkable, sinks in The Atlantic Ocean, with the loss of over 1,500 lives. The 1932 song Titanic Blues by blues musicians Hi Henry Brown and Charley Jordan will be inspired by the disaster. Other topical songs on the same theme are The Titanic by Ernest V. Stoneman and The Last Scene Of The Titanic by Frank Hutchison. The 1989 song Rest In Pieces (April 15 1912) by San Francisco band Metal Church is also about the sinking of The Titanic.
During a successful UK tour, most of the members of the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, a jazz ensemble from the USA, are sailing on the SS Rowan from Glasgow, Scotland, to Derry, Ireland. Eight members of the band are killed when the ship is struck by two others in a collision. One of the survivors is the young virtuoso saxophone and clarinet player Sidney Bechet from New Orleans.
A special benefit concert is held at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Scotland, for the surviving members of London-based jazz group Southern Syncopated Orchestra. Tragedy had struck the band when the ship that they were sailing in from Glasgow to Derry was involved in a collision which killed eight members of the group. One of the survivors was Sidney Bechet, who went on to become a jazz star in his own right.
The New York Times reports that during a recent Transatlantic crossing by the S.S. Berengaria from Southampton to New York City, USA, the ship's orchestra threw overboard all of the sheet music belonging to American bandleader Paul Specht and the Carolina Club Orchestra. The ship's orchestra was furious that Specht's band had been chosen, rather than them, to play for The Prince Of Wales each night in the ballroom of The Berengaria every night during the trip.
Ben Selvin And His Orchestra record Suite 16 and In A Little Love Boat, in new York City, USA. The tracks will be released under various names including The Palm Beach Players and The Maryland Dance Orchestra on various labels including Vocalion, Duophone and Beltona.
The musical Show Boat by Jerome Kern opens at The Ziegfeld Theatre, Broadway, New York City, USA, where it will run for 572 performances. On this night, the song Ol' Man River is heard for the first time.
Ambrose And His Orchestra record All Of Me, To Be Worthy Of You, He Played His Ukulele As The Ship Went Down Parts 1 And 2, You Try Somebody Else and Just Friends, at The Small Queen's Hall, London, UK, for HMV Records.
Danish musician and humourist Victor Borge arrives in the USA aboard the United States Army transport American Legion, which was the last neutral ship to leave Petsamo, Finland, after the Nazi occupation of Denmark.
The USS Reuben James is torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat near Iceland, Europe, with the loss of almost 100 crew members. The incident will inspire Woody Guthrie to write the song The Sinking of the Reuben James which will be released in 1942, and will be covered by The Weavers, Johnny Horton, The Kingston Trio, Country Joe McDonald and many others.
A revival of the Jerome Kern-composed musical Show Boat opens at The Ziegfeld Theatre, New York City, USA, where it will run for 418 performances.
Nigerian drummer Michael Babatunde Olatunji arrives in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, aboard a cargo ship. He has come from Africa to study at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He will go on to become one of the most celebrated percussionists and composers in jazz.
Harbor Lights by The Ray Anthony Orchestra on Capitol Records enters the Billboard Chart in the USA, where it will peak at No15 during a run of fifteen weeks on the chart.
Harbor Lights by Sammy Kaye is the current No1 song in the Billboard Chart in the USA.
Cowboy Copas records Tennesse Flat Guitar, Those Gone And Left Me Blues, I'm Glad I'm On The Inside Looking Out and Four Books In The Bible, at King Recording Studio, 1540 Brewster Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
Shrimp Boats by Jo Stafford enters the Billboard magazine popular singles chart, where it will peak at No2 during a seventeen-week run.
MGM's movie remake of the Kern-Hammerstein musical play Show Boat, starring Howard Keel, Ava Gardner and Kathryn Grayson, is released to cinemas in Denmark, Europe.
MGM's movie remake of the Kern-Hammerstein musical play Show Boat, starring Howard Keel, Ava Gardner and Kathryn Grayson, is released to cinemas in Portugal, Europe.
Anne Shelton begins appearing in a new radio series, Pleasure Boat, on the BBC Light Programme, recorded in London, UK.
Jimmy Giuffre And His Music Men record It's You, Ship Ahoy! [Shipoopi] and Wells Fargo Wagon for Atlantic Records in New York City, USA.
Elvis Presley spends $9,205 on a new 21-foot Coronado water-skiing boat.
Blues singer Pink Anderson records The Titanic, Boweevil, Betty And Dupree, I'll Fly Away and other tracks in Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA, for Bluesville Records.
Michael [Row The Boat Ashore] by The Highwaymen enters the UK pop singles chart where it will peak at No1 during a stay of fourteen weeks.
During filming of his latest movie, Summer Holiday, in Greece, Europe, Cliff Richard and various cast members charter a boat to visit the island of Hydra.
The Beatles support Johnny Kidd And The Pirates on another Riverboat Shuffle aboard the MV Royal Iris, sailing down The Mersey, Liverpool, UK.
The Beatles play a lunchtime session at The Cavern Club, Liverpool, UK, followed by another Riverboat Shuffle, sailing down The Mersey.
The Gospel Emeralds record Lamb Of God, When The Ship Comes In and other tracks for Sharp Records in the USA.
Rockabilly star Johnny Burnette falls from his boat and drowns in Clear Lake, California, USA. Burnette's unlit fishing boat is hit by cabin cruiser in the dark, pitching Burnette into the lake.
The Who, billed as The High Numbers, play on The Riverboat Shuffle, an afternoon event aboard a boat sailing down The Thames from Westminster Pier, London, UK.
Ferry Cross The Mersey by Gerry and the Pacemakers enters the Billboard Top 40 Singles chart in the USA, where it will peak at No6 during a nine-week run.
The Beatles fly from Rome, Italy, to Nice, France, during a European tour. Some of the day is spent relaxing on the yacht of tour promoter Felix Marouani.
Yellow Submarine by The Beatles reaches No1 in the pop singles chart in Germany, Europe.
The Mike Stuart Span play at The Boat Club, Nottingham, England, UK, Europe.
The Pretty Things and The Crystal Ship play at The Middle Earth Club, London, England, UK, Europe.
Every Mother's Son perform Rainflowers and Come On Down To My Boat on US tv show The Cypress Gardens Special, hosted by Johnny Carson.
Ringo Starr of The Beatles with his wife Maureen and the actor Peter Sellers, sails for New York City, USA, aboard the S.S.Queen Elizabeth II.
Cliff Richard releases a new single, The Big Ship, in the UK on Columbia Records.
Philip Elwood of the San Francisco Examiner attends a show by Bruce Springsteen's band Steel Mill at The Matrix, San Francisco, California, USA. His review will describe them as "the first big thing that's happened to Asbury Park since the good ship Morro Castle burned to the waterline off that Jersey beach in '34."
The Beach Boys, The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Starship play at a benefit for the boat people of Kampuchea, in California, USA.
John Lennon sails out of Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on a pleasure trip, bound for Bermuda, Caribbean, aboard a 43-foot sloop called the Megan Jaye.
The Honeydrippers - a band formed by Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin - play at The Boat Club, Nottingham, UK.
Savatage play at The Boathouse, Norfolk, Virginia, USA. After the show, having misunderstood singer Jon Olivia's comments and lyrics about the political situation in Iran, a security guard punches him in the face.
A Celebration Of 21 Years Of Virgin Records is held at The Virgin Manor, Shipton-On-Cherwell, Gloucestershire, England, UK, Europe. Richard Branson is there in person, and artists performing include Bruce, Baker And Moore, Soul II Soul and Cracker. Jonathan King is also in attendance. Journalist Johnny Black's diary entry about the event is attached here.
Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell announces her engagement to millionaire yacht tycoon Fabrizio Politi.
When the liner Queen Mary 2 sets sail from New York City to Southampton, UK, singer-songwriter James Taylor is aboard. During the six-day journey Taylor and his band play two concerts in the ship's Royal Court Theatre, as part of a deal with the Cunard Line to transport the group across the Atlantic in return for the performances.
Taylor Swift plays at a private party organized by the NRJ aboard a yatch on the River Seine in Paris, France, Europe.
Happyness play at The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool, England, UK, during the Liverpool Sound City Festival.
On its second day, Sting's $15m musical The Last Ship takes only $100,000 at the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway, New York City, USA. It requires to take twice that amount each day to remain viable.
Yacht play at Night And Day, Manchester, England, UK.