The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic

The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic

by Steve Turner
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The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic by Steve Turner

“They kept it up to the very end. Only the engulfing ocean had power to drown them into silence. The band was playing ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee.’ I could hear it distinctly. The end was very close.” —CHARLOTTE COLLYER, TITANIC SURVIVOR

The movies, the documentaries, the museum exhibits. They often tell the same story about the “unsinkable” Titanic, her wealthy passengers, the families torn apart, and the unthinkable end. But never before has “that glorious band”—the group of eight musicians who played on as the Titanic slipped deeper and deeper into the Atlantic Ocean—been explored in such depth. Steve Turner’s extensive research reveals a fascinating story including dishonest agents, a clairvoyant, social climbers, and a fraudulent violin maker. Read what brought the band members together and how their music served as the haunting soundtrack for one of modern history’s most tragic maritime disasters.


The Band that Played On by Steve Turner is, surprisingly, the first book since the great ship went down to examine the lives of the eight musicians who were employed by the Titanic. What these men did?standing calmly on deck playing throughout the disaster?achieved global recognition. But their individual stories, until now, have been largely unknown. What Turner has uncovered is a narrow but unique slice of history?one more chapter of compelling Titanic lore.

Turner, a music journalist, pursued living relatives of the band members and squeezed all that he could out of “inherited photographs, documents, and anecdotes” enabling him to sketch brief but poignant portraits of eight young (or at least youngish) men, all born in an optimistic era and all members of the rising middle class. To their parents, their girlfriends, and surely to themselves as well, the future must have seemed bright right up until the early morning hours of April 15, 1912…

There is much that we do not know about the final hours of these men. Why did they make the decision to play on the deck that night? What was in their hearts and minds? …

Even the Titanic survivors who witnessed their final performance quibbled over some details. Did the band march or did they kneel? Was their last number “Autumn” or was it “Nearer, My God, to Thee”? Did they stop playing during the final moments and pack their instruments away or were they still playing as the ship went down? All agreed, however, that all eight band members behaved with remarkable calm and courage. Within hours of the ship’s sinking, their story was circulating and they had already become heroes…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595552198
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 03/22/2011
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 493,009
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 1280L (what's this?)

About the Author

Steve Turnerbegan his journalistic career as Features Editor of the British rock monthly Beat Instrumental . He has written many music biographies, including Conversations with Eric Clapton , Rattle and Hum (U2), and A Hard Day's Write (the Beatles).

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The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Chhaya More than 1 year ago
'The Band That Played On' by Steve Turner is the story of the eight musicians who stayed back aboard the Titanic playing till the very end on her ill fated maiden voyage. The concept that makes this book stand out is the story behind how the band members came together "and how their music served as the haunting sound track for one of modern history's most tragic maritime disasters". I read this book at one go and I must say that the research work done in writing it was phenomenal. Not only are the musicians dealt with in depth, about their past and achievements but also the theories about the sinking of the Titanic are discussed and various angles explored. In addition to the writing, there are numerous photos and sketches to hold one's attention. This is a great book for all ages and inspires us with the hope that we can all be heroes.
Kay2001 More than 1 year ago
I have read a lot about the Titanic but this is the first book that I've read devoted to the musicians. W. Hartley, C. Krins, R. Bricoux, W.T. Brailey, J. Woodward, J.F. Clarke, J.L. Hume, P.C. Taylor I learned some things that shocked me. Families actually had to pay to get their family member back. If they were lucky enough to be found and identified! Families had to pay for embalming and transportation of the body home. Since the Titanic did not finish it's voyage, full pay was not sent, deductions were made for the remaining days. This is sickening. We learn about each member if the band, their background, the way they wound up onboard and where their families are today. Did they play voluntarily or was it under the order of their band leader or the captain? That is a question that will never be answered. Did they really play Nearer My God to thee as so many reported? My question.....does it really matter? Tor me, regardless of the what's and whys, these men gave their lives while trying to help others. Their playing of music no matter what kind or what songs, helped people to feel calmer in the midst of chaos. They, like the captain,went down with the ship. Only three of their bodies were recovered. They are heros. I especially liked the photos. They tell their own story about the people and places in them. The book was well researched and includes lots of interesting trivia. Recommended for any one who has an interest in the Titanic.
Elizabeth_GardenWindow More than 1 year ago
The Band that Played On The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic By Steve Turner Published by Thomas Nelson Like so many other people, I have always been fascinated by the tragic and doomed first voyage of the magnificent Titanic. So much has been written about the survivors, the conditions on board the ship and the amazing rediscovery of the wreck at the bottom of the Atlantic. Then came James Cameron's epic film, with the evocative scene of the band, heroically playing to try to keep the passengers and crew calm , before the ship finally sank with such dreadful loss of life. But are any of these names familiar ? Wallace Hartley Roger Bricoux William "Theo" Brailey John Wesley Woodward Percy Cornelius Taylor Fred Clarke Georges Krins Jock Hume These were the band members who provided music on board the ship throughout the voyage. They came from a variety of backgrounds and educations; two were French, but all were united in their love of music and a certain longing for travel, excitement and adventure. For the first time, the story of these men, their lives, families, work and music has been told. This truly fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable book tells us about these men, and how their loved ones reacted to the news of their deaths, and what happened to them afterwards. BookSneeze® provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
Wakela_Runen More than 1 year ago
Everyone knows the story of the Titanic sinking. The tale has been told in several movies and countless books. However, there is one aspect of the story that has not been told, that of the musicians who chose to play as the ship sank. The book starts out recounting the tale of that fateful night that the ship sank. There were a few details in there that I hadn't known about. I guess that was because most of what I knew was from the movies. For instance, did you know that the reason for the media black out was not because they were afraid for public panic. It was because The New York Times had struck a deal with Mr. Marconi in order to get an inside scoop. This media black out even prevented President Taft from finding out if his military aide, Major Archibald Butt, had even survived. However, the most interesting part was learning about the humble beginnings of these men. Before reading this book, I had no clue that it was actually two different bands that had ended up playing together on that fateful day. The ship had commissioned two bands. One band had five musicians and the other band had three. So there were a total of eight musicians. There were interconnections between the eight musicians, but before that night, they had never all come together to play as a group. I found out that one of them actually lived not too far from my great grandfather in Burnley, England. I doubt that they would have known each other since they were from different backgrounds. But it was just interesting to read about a life and time from when some of my family were. This book was extremely riveting. Those men's lives were ripped away from them when they were just starting to really live them.
meowth2011 More than 1 year ago
The story of the ship Titanic has fascinated a lot of people throughout the years. This is, however, the first time that a book has actually attempted to focus the attention on the band that played on and chose to die with the great ship rather than save their lives. Their lives and what they stood for in that ship has truly been an inspiration for many years and for many people. Steve Turner has done a wonderful job of giving today's generation a chance to know more about this band and the values that their sacrifice upholds. There are times I felt like the story was meandering too much off course. But all those information that seemed excessive at first proved to be useful in better understanding the personality of each of the members of the band who hoped to inspire calm and courage in the passenger's lives even at the expense of their own. It also showed how these men's death has affected their families as well as the whole world's view of many things, including its own core values. A fascinating, informative read, that could use a little nitpicky editing, but has truly told the gist of the inspiring tale of these men who died fulfilling every musician's dream of inspiring the world with their music.
ParisAlexandra More than 1 year ago
"The Band That Played On" is a non-fiction book about the eight musicians who nobly continued playing as the Titanic sank in 1912. This book takes you deeper than just the fact that eight musicians gave up their lives with dignity-you learn more about who they were before the Titanic, and perhaps who they had hoped to become. The research that was done for this book is, to me, incredible. I loved hearing about how the Titanic's band members were chosen-the story before the story. Although this book was a little slow going for my taste, I did enjoy all of the history that covered every page. The photographs were amazing and scattered everywhere throughout the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a love for history. Steve Turner did a great job painting a clearer and more accurate picture of what exactly those eight courageous men did on April 15, 1912. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
BlogfulofBooks More than 1 year ago
Steve Turner, author of many other music related books like The Man Called Cash and Amazing Grace, explores the little information known about the eight musicians in his book The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic. Accompanying each man's story are the interwoven details of the Titanic, forming a lovely biographical and historical tale that is sure to touch the hearts of readers. Author Steve Turner does a wonderful job of chronologically organizing events in the lives of the musicians - Wallace Hartley, John Wesley Woodward, Percy Cornelius Taylor, Georges Krins, Roger Bricoux, Fred Clark, William Brailey and John Law Hume - while adding necessary and interesting details about the time in which they lived. I especially enjoyed the black and white photos, included in each chapter, of newspaper headlines, musicians's head shots, and buildings that added to the reality of the story. Turner also gives readers interesting information about the aftermath of the sinking, like how the families were affected and what steps were taken to officially honor the musicians. I especially enjoyed the last chapter, "'I Should Cling to My Old Violin,'" which takes a look at the mystery behind Wallace Hartley's violin, which was said to be recovered along with his body but never mentioned again in the public scene or in any family records . . . until a few years ago. It seems a perfect ending to a book that unveils so much of the mystery of the musicians's lives. The mystery of the Titanic lives on. Because this is a historical non-fiction book, it is easy at times to feel bogged down in the immense details, but the overall story is well worth it. Of course I'm not likely to remember the date that so-and-so had his first real musician's gig, but I will remember the overwhelming assurance that even the lowly, the ordinary, and the unknown can impact an entire ship and even an entire world. And that is why I love this book so much. If ever there were a book that spoke so much of the ability of ordinary people to do something extraordinary, The Band That Played On is it. May the eight musicians who played on the Titanic never be forgotten.
WingedOne More than 1 year ago
Many people know about the historic event of the Titanic sinking into the ocean. Many have seen the movie with Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Much has been written about the captain and the various notable passengers. But what about the band? Steve Turner sheds light on an often missed group when people talk or think about the Titanic disaster. The Band that Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic is exactly that - an extraordinary story. Although they had already retired for the evening, when most of the First Class passengers had taken to their lifeboats, the musicians simply moved to the deck and continued to play, calming the passengers as the ship sank. There are various accounts as to what the last song they last played was.some say "L'Automme" and some said "Nearer My God To Thee." Whichever the song, their actions were extraordinary. They could have made attempts at survival, aiming for the lifeboats but instead they stayed and played, offering what comfort they could with their music. But who were these men? What was their legacy? Steve Turner's book sheds light on their incredible story. This book, while biographical in nature, tells a very touching story; inspires the reader to look beyond themselves and to consider the needs of others. Definitely good to read when you need your spirits lifted. It's a feel-good read and a book that I will definitely turn back to down the road. This book is highly recommended for book clubs or personal reflection. Would also make a great gift. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
arayj More than 1 year ago
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Thousands of pages have been written about the tragedy from almost every angle possible. However, Steve Turner has taken a different angle in his book, The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down on the Titanic. He uncovers in great detail the lives of these eight men who, as one survivor revealed, played Nearer, My God, To Thee as they went down with the ship. Turner begins with the fateful evening April 14, 1912, and sets the scene of these extraordinary band members. The remainder of the book is focused upon the biographical background of each of the musicians. Not only their history but for the book's purpose, how they came to be a part of the band aboard the Titanic. I found the biographical detail to be a little much for my attention span. The research is very thorough but not as captivating as I anticipated. In the end, it is an intriguing read for someone interested in a biographical history. I give this book a 2.5 out of 5. ________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
ntp77 More than 1 year ago
I find it fitting that today is April 14, 2011 and exactly 99 years ago today the Titanic was hit by and iceberg. This is also the day that I submit my review for the book The Band Played On by Steve Turner and published by Thomas Nelson (who gave me a free copy of the book in exchange for a honest review). I remember seeing the movie the Titanic when it came out in the later part of the 1990's I remember think about the part when the band stayed on the ship and played the hymn Nearer my God to Thee. It is a beautiful hymn and one that I enjoy very much. But I thought all of that was just Hollywood making a movie dramatic and good. I never thought that they truly happened that that there was such a great story behind each of those band members. This book is well written and very well reached. I enjoyed reading this book. I did however feel it a little slow getting into but that last part of the book it very well done. If you are a history buff like me then you should really pick up this book. You will enjoy it very much.
Steven_Ruff More than 1 year ago
I enjoy reading book that are inspired by true stories. One such story that has had much written about it is the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912 as a result of striking an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. There have been many different approaches taken in telling this story. A new and refreshing approach to this maritime disaster comes from author Steve Turner in his new book, The Band That Played On, The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic. In his work, Turner investigates and chronicles the stories of the eight men that had played aboard the Titanic and the personal journeys that had brought each of them to that ill-fated voyage. Turner has done a superb job of telling the story of these eight men without going into detail about the tragedy itself, only sharing what is necessary to tie the story together. He explores each of the band member's early lives, education, musical passion, and reasons for boarding the Titanic (ranging from the adventure, to the financial support of family, to the challenge of new experiences in their chose field. Prior to boarding the Titanic, these men had experienced limited popularity. Three of them had never been aboard ship, while the other five had moved quite a bit from ship to ship under contract. At the heart of the book is the account of a number of the band members who made their way to the deck after the Titanic struck the iceberg. The band played on while the ship sank, hoping in some way to calm the passengers in spite of the chaos around them. They remained at their post until the very end with their final musical piece being the hymn "Nearer, My God to Thee". Much of the information in this book is newly discovered and will be a great find for history and Titanic enthusiasts. "The Band That Played On" is well written, inspirational, and does great justice to the music profession. It serves as a story of bravery, passion, and compassion. I highly recommend it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well researched but the information was delivered in the most boring fashion. Took forever to read because I never could get excited to pick it up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would only recommend this one if you are a real history buff. its just facts and dates
efm More than 1 year ago
enjoyable story, found out things that I had not read in other Titanic books.
d_grizzle More than 1 year ago
I say surprisingly only because, while I am passionate about anything Titanic related, I wasn't sure if a book about early 20th century musicians would be particularly interesting. I read it anyway, because I'll read anything having anything to do with the Titanic. I was very pleasantly surprised. Turner manages to make a series of human interest stories, well, interesting. He reveals the humanity and the personal lives of these men that died doing their duty. Who they loved, who loved them, why they did what they did. I got sucked in. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We all know the story, but this book gives us information that we did not know before. Well worth it if you enjoy the learning about Titanic history.
TeacherBarb More than 1 year ago
The author obviously did much research to find details about the musicians on the Titanic. I found the book interesting, but at times it reads a bit like a research paper rather than a gripping story of the musicians' lives. Some chapters are great reading, while others contain so many names that I was having trouble remembering who was who when the names appeared again. If you are interested in the Titanic tragedy, then you would enjoy this book which approaches the story from a new slant.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! An in-depth story not only about the band members, also about many people who played a part before the Titanic was built; and those who were on the largest ship of its time sailing to America. Steve Turner brought to life each character in the book. I felt I was living the story from beginning to end. Excellent book!
bugbug50 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book, but found several things that I would have liked to have seen done differently ~ for instance: the chapters were a little oddly delineated. Things that should have been put together, weren't, and things that shouldn't have been maybe put in a chapter, were put in chapter after chapter. The author also repeated some things over and over again, but seemed to leave other key things out, or assumed that the reader may have known certain things (an instance doesn't come immediately to mind, but it happened several times throughout the book) I did like that there were many photos in the book, some from the time, and some from the author's travels to the places as he was writing. It would have been nice if the NOOK could have allowed me to enlarge these a little. Over all, it was a good read, from a new perspective on the Titanic sinking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bkwormIA More than 1 year ago
This book has some interesting tidbits here and there but most of it read like a textbook. It was dry and I gave it up about half way through it. Normally really enjoy Titantic trivia but this didn't hold my interest.