Songs of the Humpback Whale

CRM Records, 1970

Songs of the Humpback Whale     Photo: Courtesy of BGO

The granddaddy of them all. If you grew up in the 1970s, your parents had a copy of this (and were probably rolling joints on the sleeve before you came along). Roger Payne, the oceanographer credited with discovering vocalization among the massive marine mammals, used military-issue hydrophones—missile-shaped piezoelectric devices sensitive to the pressure effects of sound traveling through water instead of air—to document the alien blips, blurps, screeches, and flutters echoing through the nameless deep. Payne’s recordings were later credited with raising awareness about species endangerment, culminating in commercial-whaling bans in the 1980s.

DID YOU KNOW: Payne’s whale recordings were included on Sounds from Earth, the gold-plated LP placed aboard Voyager 1.

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