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Pirate Song

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Scurvy sea dogs singing of swashbuckling.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
DrNoPuma on Apr 10th 2018 at 6:38:21 PM
Last Edited By:
DrNoPuma on Apr 16th 2018 at 6:54:16 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

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.


Feedback: 23 replies

Apr 10th 2018 at 7:46:02 PM

Long John Silver's Villain Song from Muppet Treasure Island, "Professional Pirate", where he explains a pirate's life to Jim Hawkins.

Apr 11th 2018 at 5:03:56 AM

Apr 11th 2018 at 12:41:25 AM

  • 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".

Apr 11th 2018 at 1:50:53 AM

^ *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.

Apr 11th 2018 at 4:55:35 AM

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.

Apr 11th 2018 at 5:09:13 AM

  • 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.

Apr 11th 2018 at 6:58:43 AM

"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.)

Apr 11th 2018 at 7:09:59 AM

Video Games:

Apr 11th 2018 at 7:19:55 AM

Music:

Apr 11th 2018 at 8:33:36 AM

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".

Apr 11th 2018 at 9:00:03 AM

^^You beat me with Alestorm. To be added there:

Apr 11th 2018 at 11:04:57 AM

  • 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.

Apr 11th 2018 at 5:41:42 PM

  • 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".

Apr 11th 2018 at 6:54:47 PM

Apr 11th 2018 at 7:07:39 PM

Western Animation:

Apr 13th 2018 at 5:37:41 AM

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.

Apr 14th 2018 at 12:47:42 PM

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.

Apr 14th 2018 at 1:11:43 PM

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.

Apr 14th 2018 at 6:15:09 PM

Is there anything that would prevent this draft from being launchable? Aside from new examples, of course you can still suggest more.

Apr 16th 2018 at 4:56:49 AM

Launching soon if there are no objections.

Apr 16th 2018 at 5:49:25 AM

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.

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