Tired of searing Cipollini solos? Need a break from Joplin's wailing?
Try the biggest selling recording of all time—Songs Of The Humpback Whale.

Dr Roger Payne was a leading expert in whales and he discovered that whales communicate by singing. Originally released in 1970 by CRM Records (SWR-118), the album came with a 36-page book describing whale life. Capitol released their version in Jan 71. The National Geographic issue of January, 1979, contained a flexi-disc with excerpts which sold over 10.5 millions copies.

Songs Of The Humpback Whale
Capitol ST-620
1/71 BB [UK: N/R]
Back Cover

Original CRM Cover

National Geographic Issue with Flexi-Disc

Side One
Solo Whale*   9:26
Slowed-Down Solo Whale†   1:02
Tower Whales   3:17
Distant Whale   3:52
Side Two
Three Whale Trip   16:25
Recordists: Dr Roger S Payne, Frank Watlington†
§Cover Art-uncredited
Produced by: Dr Roger S Payne


Humans have sung about whales—from old sea stories about hunting them to songs about protecting them. Here are a few:

A Whale Of A Tale Kirk Douglas w The Mellomen (20,000 Leagues...) 11/54
Great White Whale The Rainbow Press (Sunday Funnies) 8/69
Whaling Stories Procol Harum (Home) 8/70
Farewell To Tarwathie Judy Collins (Whales & Nightingales) 11/70
Nantucket Sleighride Mountain (Nantucket Sleighride) 1/71
Ode To Big Blue Gordon Lightfoot (Don Quixote) 2/72
The Euphonious Whale Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks (Last Train To Hicksville) 6/73
Whale Meat Again Jim Capaldi (Whale Meat Again) 8/74
To The Last Whale Crosby & Nash (Wind On The Water) 9/75
Save The Whales! Country Joe McDonald (Paradise With An Ocean View) 11/75
Don't Kill The Whale Yes (Tormato) 9/78
Last Great American Whale Lou Reed (New York) 1/89
Whale Song Pearl Jam (Arctic Tale soundtrack) 7/07
Comedians, too
Jonah And The Whale Lord Buckley (His Royal Hipness) 1960
The Conception Corporation The Singing Whales (Complete Conception, rec 1972) 2000
Whaling Rock Songs (skit) National Lampoon (Goodbye Pop) ?/75
There was another big selling nature album
from The Language And Music Of The Wolves

The actual language and music of the Wolf recorded in his remaining
territories. And the true explanation of the Wolf and Man, narrated
by Robert Redford, actor and nature lover.
(Another project of Natural History Magazine)
in 1971

If you'd like to hear live whales singing, check out the link below. From Maui since 2000, free live whale songs for the world!

As usual, the Steve Hoffman Music Forum has a thread about whale songs .


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