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Album: Johnny Horton Makes HistoryReleased: 1960Charted:
This song is sometimes misspelled as "Sink the Bismark" or other variants; the correct spelling is "Bismarck" after the Prussian-German statesman Otto von Bismarck.
When you think of country music songs about German battleships, you'll probably think of this example first. "Sink the Bismarck" was written and performed by country and rockabilly star Johnny Horton. It was specifically inspired by and intended as a novelty song around the 1960 film Sink the Bismarck!, of the same name, plus one exclamation point. While it was used in trailers for the film, it was never actually in the film.
The film is better-known in Germany, being a British war film. It was based on C. S. Forester's novel The Last Nine Days of the Bismarck. However, you'll better recognize Forester as the author of another military navel story, The African Queen, which was also made into the film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.
This was Horton's second-highest charting hit; you'll remember him much more readily from his 1959 #1 hit "Battle of New Orleans
." And his style is quite recognizable, what with the military drums setting up a marching beat and all.
Like many of Horton's more famous songs, "Sink the Bismarck" is a history song based on actual events, which nevertheless gets parodied. "Battle of New Orleans" fostered such Dr. Demento staples as Honer and Jethro's "The Battle of Kookamonga" - so of course they parodied this as well with "We Didn't Sink the Bismarck."