On April 10, 1963 the USS Thresher, an American nuclear-powered attack submarine sank while doing dive tests in the Atlantic Ocean 200 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. Following a power failure, the submarine imploded at crush depth resulting in the deaths of all 129 men on board.
Jim Richardson, Jr. was not the only one to head into the recording studio to memorialize the tragedy. Phil Ochs recorded an entirely different song called The Thresher for his 1964 Elektra LP All The News That's Fit To Sing. And Abner Jay, an idiosyncratic folk / blues singer from Fitzgerald, Georgia who described himself as "the last southern black minstrel" also recorded yet another song with the same title.