songs about sailing
Entertainment & Playlists

15 Best Songs About Sailing

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Written By Will Fenton
Entertainment & Playlists

15 Best Songs About Sailing

Sailing is a popular recreational activity that has inspired many musicians to write songs about the experience.

This article will explore fifteen of the best songs about sailing.

These songs cover a variety of styles, from folk to rock, and represent a range of perspectives, from joyous celebration to solemn reflection.

The music featured in this article is sure to provide the listener with an insight into the joys and challenges of sailing.

The songs have been carefully selected for their lyrical content and musical quality.

Each song offers an evocative and unique perspective on the experience of sailing.

This article will provide an analysis of the different songs, as well as a brief overview of the various musical styles on display.

1. “Castaway” by Zac Brown Band

The song “Castaway” by Zac Brown Band tells the story of a man searching for an escape from his mundane life by setting sail on the open seas.

The song paints the picture of a man who is tired of his daily routine and finds solace in the freedom of the open ocean.

The lyrics express his hope that the sea will provide a sense of peace and contentment that he cannot find in his everyday life.

The lyrics are complemented by a strong, uplifting instrumental, providing an overall sense of hope and optimism.

2. “Sailing” by Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart‘s track, “Sailing”, is an iconic representation of the adventure and excitement of being on the high seas.

It is an upbeat, melodic single from his 1975 album, Atlantic Crossing.

The lyrics are filled with imagery of the ocean, boats, and the sea.

Stewart’s distinctive vocal style is perfectly suited to the track, which is a classic example of 70s soft rock.

The song is a reflection of the joy and freedom of sailing and a celebration of the power of the sea.

Its enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless quality and appeal.

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3. “Come Sail Away” by Styx

Styx‘s hit song, “Come Sail Away”, is an epic rock ballad that celebrates the freedom and joy of sailing.

The lyrics are an ode to the idea of escaping a mundane life by going out to sea.

Musically, the song starts out soft with a piano solo and builds up to a powerful chorus with guitar and drums.

It is an inspiring and uplifting track that has remained popular since its release in 1977.

4. “Lost Sailor” by Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead‘s poignant ballad, “Lost Sailor”, speaks to the anguish of a sailor lost at sea and the longing for home.

Composed of acoustic guitar, keyboards, and dual vocal harmonies, the melancholic tune evokes a deep sense of longing and despair.

The lyrics paint a vivid image of a sailor’s loneliness in the vastness of the open sea, and the desire to be reunited with loved ones back on shore.

The song is an emotive reminder of the fragility of life and the hope of reunion with those we love.

5. “Single-Handed Sailor” by Dire Straits

Dire Straits’ classic hit, “Single-Handed Sailor”, tells the story of a sailor who bravely navigates the open seas alone.

The song paints a vivid and heroic portrait of a solitary sailor, sailing through rough seas, braving storms and facing the unknown.

The lyrics are filled with imagery of the sea and the song conveys a sense of mystery and adventure.

Musically, the song is driven by Mark Knopfler’s signature guitar, creating a soundscape of the open sea.

“Single-Handed Sailor” is a classic song about sailing that celebrates the beauty and courage of a lone sailor.

6. “Soul of a Sailor” by Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney’s song “Soul of a Sailor” paints an evocative and inspirational portrait of a sailor’s journey at sea.

The lyrics create a vivid image of a sailor’s courage to brave the open waters and face the potential dangers.

The song conveys a sense of determination and resilience, as the sailor is willing to take risks in order to reach his destination.

The song’s instrumentals evoke a feeling of adventure and exploration, setting the stage for the sailor’s journey.

The song has an uplifting melody, encouraging the sailor to continue his voyage despite any obstacles.

Overall, “Soul of a Sailor” is a powerful tribute to the spirit of seafaring.

7. “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty

Tom Petty’s song “Wildflowers” is an ode to the beauty and resilience of nature.

It is a narrative about a sailor who embarks on a journey, where they are captivated by the wildflowers they see on their voyage.

The imagery evoked through the lyrics captures the feeling of being surrounded by the vibrant colours of the wildflowers and the peacefulness of an ocean voyage.

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The music, with its light and airy melodies, also conveys a sense of freedom and independence.

The song is a celebration of the wonders of sailing and a reminder of the beauty of nature.

8. “Wooden Ships” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s song “Wooden Ships” is a timeless classic that speaks to the importance of interdependence and the power of collaboration.

The track features a unique blend of folk and rock elements, featuring instrumentation such as guitars, drums, and synthesizers.

Lyrically, the song speaks of a group of people sailing together in a wooden ship, and of the importance of unity in the face of adversity.

The song is a powerful reminder of the importance of solidarity and collaboration in a time of need.

9. “Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison

Released in 1970, Van Morrison’s “Into The Mystic” is an iconic folk-rock song that speaks of the spiritual journey and the unknown.

It has become widely known for its poetic lyrics and unique combination of musical styles.

The song is marked by its heavy emphasis on drums, guitars, organ, and harmonica, which create a captivating and mysterious atmosphere.

Morrison’s hauntingly beautiful vocals carry a strong message of hope and a desire to explore the unknown.

The song captures the essence of sailing and the desire to explore, making it an ideal song to listen to while sailing.

10. “When the Ship Comes In” by Bob Dylan

Written and released in 1964, Bob Dylan’s “When the Ship Comes In” is a folk-rock song that contains powerful lyrics that speak of social justice and the power of collective action.

It tells the story of a group of people who have faced years of oppression, but are now awaiting the return of a ship that will give them liberation.

Through metaphor, Dylan expresses the idea that the oppressed can gain their freedom if they unite and work together.

The song is often interpreted as a symbol of hope and encouragement for those fighting for civil rights and social justice.

11. “Captain Kennedy” by Neil Young

Neil Young’s “Captain Kennedy” is a soaring folk-rock anthem about a captain who embarks on a journey to an unknown destiny.

The song is comprised of a simple chord progression that builds to a dramatic climax as the lyrics tell the story of a captain’s journey at sea.

Musically, the song is sparse yet powerful, featuring only an acoustic guitar, a subtle rhythm section, and Young’s iconic vocal delivery.

The song is a perfect example of how a simple musical arrangement can be used to create a powerful and moving song about a captain’s journey.

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12. “Play Crack The Sky” by Brand New

Brand New’s “Play Crack the Sky” is a powerful rock anthem that builds to a dramatic climax as the lyrics paint a vivid picture of a journey filled with hope, doubt, and uncertainty.

The song’s central themes focus on setting out for a new journey, taking risks, and ultimately embracing the unknown.

Its instrumentation is composed primarily of electric guitars and percussion, and its lead vocal is strong and emotive.

These elements combine to create a powerful and evocative atmosphere that captures the essence of a sailing voyage.

13. “Son of a Son of a Sailor” by Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett’s “Son of a Son of a Sailor” is an upbeat track that celebrates life on the open seas, recounting the story of a sailor who travels the world in search of adventure.

The song’s lyrics express a sense of wanderlust, with the narrator extolling the virtues of the life of a sailor and the joys that come with it.

The musical arrangement is driven by a bright, cheerful piano melody over a steady rhythm and steady backing vocals.

The combination of the lyrics and the instrumentation creates an atmosphere of optimism and lightheartedness, making it an ideal soundtrack for sailing.

14. “A Sailboat in the Moonlight” by Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday’s “A Sailboat in the Moonlight” is a melancholic track that paints a romantic picture of sailing, with its soft, lyrical melody and gentle guitar accompaniment.

The song is a reflection of the beauty of sailing and is characterized by its gentle, contemplative nature.

The lyrics depict a romantic image of being on a sailboat, with imagery of stars, the wind, and the sea.

The simplicity of the guitar accompaniment gives the song an ethereal quality that adds to its overall atmosphere of nostalgia.

The song is a timeless classic that encapsulates the essence of sailing in its dreamy, wistful melody.

15. “Sailor’s Lament” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

The transition from Billie Holiday’s “A Sailboat in the Moonlight” to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Sailor’s Lament” is a move from a romanticized view of sailing to a more realistic assessment.

“Sailor’s Lament” is a bluesy rock song featuring John Fogerty’s plaintive vocals.

The lyrics of the song revolve around a sailor’s life and the difficulties of such a life on the sea.

The song paints a vivid picture of the struggles of life at sea, as the sailor must constantly battle the elements and his own loneliness.

The song is a reflection of the sailor’s feelings, and his longing to be free.

Best Songs About Sailing – Final Thoughts

Sailing has been an integral part of the human experience for centuries.

From the earliest seafarers to modern-day sailors, the experience of travelling the seas has been captured in song.

The fifteen best songs about sailing capture a wide range of emotions and experiences, from the romance of the open seas to the loneliness of a long voyage.

These songs remind us of the beauty and wonder of the open ocean and the courage of those who dare to venture out into the unknown.

Whether you are a sailor or just someone who loves to listen to music, these fifteen songs are sure to evoke the spirit of adventure and the joy of sailing.

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Will Fenton

Introduced to good music at a young age through my father. The first record I remember being played was "Buffalo Soldier" by Bob Marley, I must've been six years old. By the time I was seven, I was taking drum lessons once a week. The challenge but the euphoric feeling of learning a new song was addicting, and I suppose as they say the rest was history. Favorite album of all time? Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones Best gig you've ever been to? Neil Young at Desert Trip in 2016 Media mentions: Evening Standard Daily Mail

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