Created By: DrNoPuma on April 10, 2018 Last Edited By: DrNoPuma on April 16, 2018
Troped

Pirate Song

Scurvy sea dogs singing of swashbuckling.

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Pirates can be a jolly bunch, when they're not plundering and pillaging. It's fairly common in fiction to have pirates sing songs while they sail, or often with lyrics about how they enjoy being swashbucklers.

These songs usually take the form of a sea shanty, a type of song that was originally sung by laborers on large merchant ships.

Songs sung by vikings can count too, as long as the songs are about pillaging. After all, both pirates and vikings are seafaring marauders.

Often overlaps with "I Am" Song and Villain Song. See Ghost Song for more amoral beings singing about what they do best (considering the prevalence of Ghost Pirates in fiction, there may be overlap between this trope and Ghost Song as well, somewhere...)

Not to be confused with pirated music.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Film - Animated 
  • Peter Pan has Captain Hook's crew sing "A Pirate's Life for Me", about how they love living as freebooters and criminals.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Long John Silver's Villain Song from Muppet Treasure Island, "Professional Pirate", where he explains a pirate's life to Jim Hawkins.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Yo Ho "(A Pirate's Life For Me)", is the leitmotif of the series.
    • In Dead Man's Chest, the titular song is sung by one of Jack's crew near the start of the film.
    • In At World's End, in the opening, "Hoist the Colors" is sung by several pirates being executed.

    Literature 
  • Redwall: In Triss, Captain Plugg Firetail's crew sings three songs, "That's The Freebootin' Way", "'Tis Nice To Be A Villain" and "Plunder, By Thunder", about how they enjoy being marauders.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Doctor Who, the pirate themed episode "The Curse of the Black Spot" features a pirate themed remix of "I Am the Doctor" called "All For One".
  • In the LazyTown episode "Rottenbeard", the pirate Rottenbeard — who is actually Robbie Rotten in disguise — takes the children on a fake treasure hunt and sings "You Are A Pirate" with them. The song talks about adventure, the freedom of a pirate and the treasure hunt.

    Music 
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow. How soft your fields so green. Can whisper tales of gore. Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords. Always sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore. So now you'd better stop and rebuild all your ruins. For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.
  • Naufragant, named for a book about piratical adventure, previously named themselves Skull and Bones, and had an entire concept album themed after Treasure Island. Youtube user A Pirate's Life has a whole bunch of pirate songs.
  • Tom Smith has two Talk Like A Pirate Day songs. The first being the official holiday anthem, and the second (Hey, it's Can(n)on) having fun with the fact that it happens to be Hermione Granger's birthday.

    Theatre 

    Video Games 

     Western Animation 
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has a more grim example than most with "LICORICE", sung by Stickybeard and his crew as they tell the story of a pirate named Black John who was cursed after stealing a whole forest of licorice trees, and how Stickybeard and his cabin boy Heinrich unwittingly invoked the wrath of the cursed pirates.
  • Justin Time had the episode "It's a Viking Thing" where vikings sing about what they like to do.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh had a Pirate themed episode with the Pooh Pirates opening with the song "Pirates is What We'll Be".
  • PAW Patrol had a pirate song once in "Sea Patrol: Pirate Pups to the Rescue".
  • Phineas and Ferb: Both versions of "Ballad of Badbeard" count, the first one only having the lyrics "Arg, arg, arg, arg, this is the Ballad of Badbeard", and the second being sung by the kids as they're searching for Badbeard's treasure and playing the role of a pirate crew.
  • The South Park episode "Fatbeard" has Cartman trying to regiment a gang of modern day Somalian pirates into cliche treasure hunting rogues through a Montage Song shanty. It works.
  • Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea has "The Pirate Dance" which is sung every time the Pirates appear in a scene, being in general a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.
  • VeggieTales: The original Pirates Who Don't Do Anything introduce themselves by singing about all the acts of piracy and seamanship they've never done.


Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • April 10, 2018
    TropesForever
    Long John Silver's Villain Song from Muppet Treasure Island, "Professional Pirate", where he explains a pirate's life to Jim Hawkins.
  • April 11, 2018
    Snowy66
  • April 11, 2018
    alnair20aug93
    • Yo Ho "(A Pirate's Life For Me)", is the liefmotif of the Pirates Of The Caribbean verse.
    • To broaden this, since Vikings were technically pirates, "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin
      We come from the land of the ice and snow,
      From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.
      How soft your fields so green. Can whisper tales of gore.
      Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.
      Always sweep with threshing oar,
      Our only goal will be the western shore.
      So now you'd better stop and rebuild all your ruins.
      For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.

    Also has nothing to do with "pirated songs".
  • April 11, 2018
    MathsAngelicVersion
    ^ *leitmotif

    Adding context to the Lazytown example:

    • In the LazyTown episode "Rottenbeard", the pirate Rottenbeard — who is actually Robbie Rotten in disguise — takes the children on a fake treasure hunt and sings "You Are A Pirate" with them. The song talks about adventure, the freedom of a pirate and the treasure hunt.
  • April 11, 2018
    DrNoPuma
    Thanks, guys!

    I'm not sure about the Led Zeppelin example. I know vikings are technically pirates, but my fear is that their stereotypes are too different to be counted in the same trope.
  • April 11, 2018
    Snowy66
    • Pirates Of The Caribbean features several pirate themed songs sung by characters In Universe.
      • In Dead Man's Chest, the titular song is sung by one of Jack's crew near the start of the film.
      • In At World's End, in the opening, "Hoist the Colors" is sung by several pirates being executed.
  • April 11, 2018
    Boston
    "The Last Pirate of Saskatchewan" by the Arrogant Worms describes how a down-and-out farmer is lured into piracy in the modern era. (It's a hella fun song.)
  • April 11, 2018
    StarSword
    Video Games:
  • April 11, 2018
    StarSword
    Music:
  • April 11, 2018
    BreadBull
    Well, if you are including Vikings, Justin Time had the episode "It's a Viking Thing" where vikings sing about what they like to do.

    PAW Patrol also did that once in "Sea Patrol: Pirate Pups to the Rescue".
  • April 11, 2018
    Basara-kun
    ^^You beat me with Alestorm. To be added there:
  • April 11, 2018
    WarJay77
    • Phineas And Ferb: Both versions of "Ballad of Badbeard" count, the first one only having the lyrics "Arg, arg, arg, arg, this is the Ballad of Badbeard", and the second being sung by the kids as they're searching for Badbeard's treasure and playing the role of a pirate crew.
  • April 11, 2018
    Snowy66
    • In Doctor Who, the pirate themed episode "The Curse of the Black Spot" features a pirate themed remix of "I Am the Doctor" called "All For One".
  • April 11, 2018
    naturalironist
    Also a subtrope of I Am Song
  • April 11, 2018
    MetaFour
  • April 11, 2018
    Basara-kun
    Western Animation:
  • April 13, 2018
    shadowbeast
    Music/Naufragant, named for a book about piratical adventure, previously named themselves Skull and Bones, and had an entire concept album themed after Treasure Island. Youtube user A Pirate's Life has a whole bunch of pirate songs.
  • April 14, 2018
    DrNoPuma
    I'm gonna go ahead and add all the viking examples. If people don't like the trope being broadened, we can always change it later.
  • April 14, 2018
    Gamermaster
    Tom Smith has two Talk Like A Pirate Day songs. The first being the official holiday anthem, and the second (Hey, it's Can(n)on) having fun with the fact that it happens to be Hermione Granger's birthday.
  • April 14, 2018
    DrNoPuma
    Is there anything that would prevent this draft from being launchable? Aside from new examples, of course you can still suggest more.
  • April 16, 2018
    DrNoPuma
    Launching soon if there are no objections.
  • April 16, 2018
    Psi001
    The South Park episode "Fatbeard" has Cartman trying to regiment a gang of modern day Somalian pirates into cliche treasure hunting rogues through a Montage Song shanty. It works.
  • April 16, 2018
    alnair20aug93
    ^^ In the words of an Irish ambient musician, Sail away, dude.
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