On the 6th of May, 1937, airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and exploded during its landing procedure at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey. The airship was completely destroyed in the explosion, killing 36. Destination is based on a 1937 newsreel covering the disaster. At the 3:17 mark, you can hear the dramatic recording of radio journalist Herbert Morrison reporting as he witnesses the crash. It is a heartbreaking narration by a man shaken by what he sees.
The end of an era
The explosion of LZ 129 Hindenburg had a devastating effect on public confidence in lighter-than-air travel. As a direct result of the incident, LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin was decommissioned and retired; and although LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin II was completed and operated until 1939, the golden age of airships had passed. Destination, named after the final track on Airship, commemorates the end of an airship and the end of an era.
I discovered a Universal City Studios newsreel in the public domain, covering the Hindenburg disaster of 1937. For the Airship album trailer, I used video from the first half of the newsreel, showing the airship in flight, as the newscaster sets the scene for the accident. In the second half, the Hindenburg’s final moments are described in dramatic language, with footage to match. It is a moving film, telling the story of the world’s most famous airship disaster.
Accompanying the imagery is an excerpt from the album title track, a seven-minute instrumental piece describing an airship appearing on the horizon, sweeping overhead, and sailing into the distance. The music is slow and dignified, making for a somewhat dramatic trailer. But, I think it is appropriate. To me, airships are the most breathtaking things ever to grace the skies; the album is my attempt at conveying the awe they inspire. I hope I have succeeded.
This is one of my favourite airship and hangar photographs. It shows LZ 129 Hindenburg moored at Hangar No. 1, NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey, United States. The Hindenburg was headed for this hangar when it crashed and burned whilst landing (6 May 1937).