The Late Movies: Songs About Whales

Erica Palan

In 1820, an 80-ton sperm whale attacked the Essex, a whaling ship from Nantucket, when it was 2,000 miles away from the western coast of South America. Some 30 years later, Herman Melville was inspired by this event when he wrote Moby-Dick. Here, six songs about the majestic creatures who had such an important role on this date.

Baby Beluga

Raffi wrote this famous children's anthem after being inspired by Kavna, a beluga whale that Raffi saw at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Will You Be There

This song by the late Michael Jackson was the theme for popular '90s movie Free Willy in which a boy befriended a whale.

The Mariners Revenge Song

The Decemberists play this song — which is written from the point of view of one of two survivors stranded in the belly of a whale — at almost every concert, because it is such a fan favorite.

Starving in the Belly of a Whale

Tom Waits sang this sad tune.

Grow Fins

"I'm gonna take up with a mermaid and leave you land-lubbin' women alone," sang Captain Beefheart.

Farewell to Tarwathie

Judy Collins sang this whaling song which featured the sounds of humpback whales in the background.