Most major holidays have songs related to them, whether it be children’s classics like “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” for Easter or modern classics like “Monster Mash” or “Thriller” fer Halloween. Nevermind th’ endless annoyin’ Christmas carols that we have to endure startin’ in early November. But this day, this day be a shore leave, too.
International Talk Like a Pirate Day be gainin’ momentum, mostly due to social media’s massive cravin’ fer people look like absolute idiots. On ’tis day, we get to sound like an idiot, too. ‘Tis okay, ’tis all in jolly a ruckas ye blastin’ scalliwag.
At NYS Music we be more interested in th’ music that celebrates band ‘o pirates, them lost souls wanderin’ th’ sea fer a wee lovely booty. Not much has changed, we still wander around fer lovely booty, but not we don’t wear Arrr patches over our eye or have a trusty parrot on our shoulder. However, we have long beards again ‘n if ye be off to most music festivals, th’ wench be surely similar to a scurvy pirate’s ship after a few days at sea.
It wouldn’t be a scurvy pirate’s song list without th’ classic “Yo Ho (It’s a Pirate’s Life fer Me)”. While it was written in 1967 fer th’ band ‘o pirates ‘o th’ Caribbean, not th’ Johnny Depp version, it has become th’ most well-known ‘o th’ list, mostly because ‘o ’tis usage in multiple Disney movies. From th’ Mighty Ducks to th’ Black Pearl, even th’ Jonas Brothers did a cleaned up version ‘o th’ song. Instead ‘o sin’in’ “Drink up me hearties” they softened it by sin’in’ “Stand up me hearties”, not like we needed another reason to hate th’ Jonas Brothers, but ’tis be a jolly one to add to th’ list. Heartly enjoy, ‘n sin’ along. Even if ye be at set the sails, who cares, it be a shore leave after all.
Roger McGuinn be best known as th’ backbone ‘o th’ Byrds, servin’ as their lead guitarist ‘n vocalist fer th’ bands entire existence (1964-1973). After th’ Byrds, McGuinn did a few solo albums includin’ Cardiff Rose that contains th’ second song on me list ‘o scurvy pirate classics. ye can’t imagine a scurvy pirate ship without th’ Jolly Roger sailin’ sinisterly above. Therefore ye can’t have a list ‘o songs without th’ good ol’ “Jolly Roger” appearin’ at least once.
A pirate’s life isn’t always an easy one. Th’ journey to Davy Jones’s locker isn’t ever extra far away. Tom Waits captured th’ solemnness ‘o th’ sailin’ away into th’ wind, in th’ 1974 ballad “Shiver Me Timbers”. Wit’ references to th’ crows’ nest ‘n Cap’n Ahab, Waits alludes to th’ metaphoric sea, while suggestin’ a different type ‘o scurvy pirate’s life. One ‘o leavin’ everythin’ to be off practicin’ his craft of writin’, perhaps even th’ lonely existence ‘o a musician on th’ road. A choice that many ‘o us struggle wit’ daily, do we leave everythin’ behind to follow our dreams, or stay at home ‘n constantly wonder, “what if?”
One ‘o th’ most recognizable names in scurvy pirate lore be Captain Kidd, tried ‘n executed fer piracy in 1701. A one time pirate hunter, Kidd turned coat ‘n became a pirate himself. Th’ tales ‘o Captain Kidd may be greatly overstated accordin’ to historians, but th’ allurement ‘o his hidden treasure propelled him to infamy. Th’ Newfy-band, A Great Big Sea, be known fer ’tis sea shanty-esque sound ‘n storytellin’ lyrics, often ‘o th’ sea. It makes sense considerin’ Newfoundland’s location ‘n Scotish, Irish ‘n Cornish heritage. ’tis be much more upliftin’ than th’ last tune, guaranteed to put a smile on ye face, however ye may want to sail off to ye Skull & Scuppers fer a Guinness afterward.
Pirates have been depicted in movies and theater for the past few centuries, from Shakespeare to Disney the role is often glamorized. However, Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” takes it to a whole new level and was an immediate smash hit in New York and London. If singing and dancing pirates weren’t enough to curl your whiskers, the famous opera was made into a ballet in the early 90s. The “Pirate King” is a jolly number that sings of a life dedicated to the life of plundering and pillaging.
In these tryin’ economic times wit’ unemployment bein’ high ‘n underemployment bein’ even higher, Tim Curry sin’s ‘o another option in th’ Muppet’s Treasure Island. Imagine bein’ a “Professional scurvy pirate” ‘n makin’ ye livin’ seekin’ out adventure wit’ buckos. Buccaneers aren’t just a football team in Florida, ’tis tune speaks how band ‘o pirates hated in Spain were sometimes rejoiced in England. Th’ Muppet’s franchise scored quite th’ lovely booty wit’ th’ movie as well, brin’in’ in over $34 million in th’ mid-90s.
Th’ Beatles’ George Harrison took th’ scurvy pirate tradition to a new level hijackin’ a stage ‘n confusin’ th’ band ‘n Eric Idle, th’ host ‘o Rutland shore leave Television show, in 1975. sin’in’ “The Pirate Song” a short spiritly ditty, wit’ a catchin’ chorus ‘o “wit’ a Yo-ho-ho, ‘n a ya-ha-ha”. Idle was part ‘o th’ joke, havin’ co-written th’ song wit’ Harrison, but played it straight fer th’ audience.
I ain’t likely makin’ a compilation ‘o music videos without includin’ at least one metal song. Quinton Stephenson ‘n Zakas collaborated on “Terror ‘o th’ Sea.” wit’ lyrics like, “We pledge allegiance one ‘n all, wit’ Ali Raja in th’ mornin’ sky. We rape ‘n we murder, we take what we gunna, we live by th’ sword ‘n by th’ sword we’ll die” it was a must have on th’ list. Th’ video highlights some epic scurvy pirate battles from well-known movies timed perfectly wit’ th’ music.
As I followed th’ treasure map carefully on ’tis adventure, I found th’ song that tells th’ story ‘o “Billy Bones” who met his fate ‘n be lyin’ in Davy Jones’ treasure chest on th’ beach. Nothin’ left but his bones, Billy be bein’ mocked out by his frienemy, a shipmate, that be makin’ light ‘o th’ trip to Davy Jones’ LockerSkip Henderson also composed a song used in band ‘o pirates ‘o th’ Carribean in Davy Jones’ treasure chest scurvy dog’s Chest, “a pair Hornpipes (Tortuga)”. Henderson’s compilation ‘o scurvy pirate songs, Billy Bones ‘n Other Ditties, can be found on th’ ship deck, or iTunes, ‘n be perhaps ye best choice fer a scurvy pirate themed parrrty, at 17 songs, ye can even put it on repeat ‘n be jolly fer a few hours.
That’s it fer me list ye scurvy dogs, i be needin’ to set sail ‘n find some grub ‘n spiced rum. ’tis be me day after all ‘n I don’t want to be wastin’ any more ‘o me precious the hour findin’ songs fer th’ likes ‘o ye. heartly enjoy th’ songs ‘n leave in th’ comments ye favorite scurvy pirate songs.