Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The Endurance banjo

Maybe you heard about the discovery of the wreck of the Endurance, Ernest Shackleton’s explorer ship that sank in the Antarctic Ocean back in 1915. The crew survived, but only after an incredible ordeal on the ice. It turns out that a big factor in this survival was because Shackleton order his meteorologist, a guy named Leonard Hussey, to salvage his banjo as part of the personal possessions the crew was allowed to take from the ship.

It was a 12-pound Windsor zither banjo. Shackleton knew that the crew was in for some rough times, so he told Hussey to grab his banjo because of its (in his words) “vital mental medicine, and we shall need it.”

And although Hussey apparently only knew six songs, the music helped the crew make it through all those months on the ice.

The last post discussed when John Frusciante dabbled in the occult.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38300 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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