The Ship Song

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"The Ship Song"
The Ship Song.jpg
7" single cover
Single by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
from the album The Good Son
A-side "The Ship Song"
B-side "The Train Song"
Released12 March 1990
Format CD single, 7", 12"
RecordedCardan Studios, Sao Paulo
8 October 28 October 1989
Genre Alternative rock
Label Mute Records
Songwriter(s) Nick Cave
Producer(s) The Bad Seeds
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds singles chronology
"The Ship Song"
"The Weeping Song"

"The Ship Song" is a song written by Nick Cave (lyrics and music), [1] originally performed by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on their 1990 The Good Son album. It was released by Mute Records as the first single from the album on 12 March 1990, as a CD single, 7" vinyl and a 12" vinyl release. The song reached #84 on the UK Singles Charts. [2] [3]

Nick Cave Australian musician

Nicholas Edward Cave is an Australian musician, singer-songwriter, author, screenwriter, composer and occasional actor, best known for fronting the rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Cave's music is generally characterised by his baritone voice, emotional intensity, a wide variety of influences and lyrical obsessions with death, religion, love and violence.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Australian alternative rock band

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are an Australian rock band formed in Melbourne in 1983 by vocalist Nick Cave, multi-instrumentalist Mick Harvey and guitarist Blixa Bargeld. The band has featured international personnel throughout its career and presently consists of Cave, violinist and multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis, bassist Martyn P. Casey, guitarist George Vjestica, keyboardist/percussionist Toby Dammit and drummers Thomas Wydler (Switzerland) and Jim Sclavunos. With their "brutal blues and gothic nightmares" songs, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have been considered "one of the most original and celebrated bands of the post-punk and alternative rock eras in the '80s and onward", They have released sixteen studio albums and completed numerous international tours.

<i>The Good Son</i> (album) 1990 studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

The Good Son is the sixth album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, released in 1990.


The video for the song was directed by John Hillcoat. [4]

John Hillcoat film director

John Hillcoat is an Australian-Canadian film director, screenwriter, and music video director.

In May 2001 "The Ship Song" was selected by Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time. [5]

The Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) is a not-for-profit copyright collective representing Australian and New Zealander composers, lyricists, and music publishers. The association's head offices are located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, with branch offices in Auckland, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. APRA is a member of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC).

APRA's Top 30 Australian songs was a list created by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) in 2001, to celebrate its 75th anniversary. A panel of 100 music personalities were asked to list the "ten best and most significant Australian songs of the past 75 years". The top ten songs, in numerical order, were announced on 28 May 2001 at the APRA Awards. The next twenty were not ordered and had been released nearly four weeks earlier, on 2 May, in a media statement by APRA representative Debbie Kruger.

Cover Versions

There have been numerous cover versions of the song performed by artists, including Camille O'Sullivan, Leatherface, Frankie Stubbs (performed acoustically), Gene, Swirl, Boo Hewerdine, Concrete Blonde, Denis Walter, Immaculate Fools, A Subtle Plague, Polar and Heather Nova, Lissie, with live only versions by Crowded House, Ed Kuepper, Pearl Jam, Amanda Palmer, and Martha Wainwright.

Camille O'Sullivan is an Irish musician, vocalist, and actress.

Leatherface (band) British band

Leatherface were a British punk rock band from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, fronted by Frankie Stubbs. Trouser Press called them "England's finest, most exciting punk band of the 90s" and The Guardian has called them "the greatest British punk band of the modern era."

Gene Basic physical and functional unit of heredity

In biology, a gene is a sequence of nucleotides in DNA or RNA that codes for a molecule that has a function. During gene expression, the DNA is first copied into RNA. The RNA can be directly functional or be the intermediate template for a protein that performs a function. The transmission of genes to an organism's offspring is the basis of the inheritance of phenotypic trait. These genes make up different DNA sequences called genotypes. Genotypes along with environmental and developmental factors determine what the phenotypes will be. Most biological traits are under the influence of polygenes as well as gene–environment interactions. Some genetic traits are instantly visible, such as eye color or number of limbs, and some are not, such as blood type, risk for specific diseases, or the thousands of basic biochemical processes that constitute life.

The Sydney Opera House, with agency The Monkeys, achieved the collaboration of Neil Finn, Kev Carmody, Sarah Blasko, John Bell, Martha Wainwright, Katie Noonan, Paul Kelly, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, The Temper Trap, and Daniel Johns, with Opera Australia, the Australian Ballet, Bangarra Dance Theatre, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, to perform and record a reinterpretation of "The Ship Song" over some months in 2010-2011. Titled "The Ship Song Project", the recording was to promote the Sydney Opera House. [6]

Sydney Opera House multi-venue performing arts centre in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre at Sydney Harbour in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is one of the 20th century's most famous and distinctive buildings.

The Monkeys is a creative agency based in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 2006 by Justin Drape, Scott Nowell and Mark Green, they now employ over 130 full-time staff. The Monkeys create ideas that live within advertising, entertainment and technology. Clients include The University of Sydney, Telstra, IKEA, UBank and Parmalat.

Neil Finn New Zealand musician

Neil Mullane Finn is a New Zealand singer-songwriter and musician who is currently a member of Fleetwood Mac. With his brother Tim Finn, he was the co-frontman for Split Enz, a project that he joined after it was initially founded by Tim and others, and then became the frontman for Crowded House. He has also recorded several successful solo albums and assembled diverse musicians for the 7 Worlds Collide project; contributor Ed O'Brien, also guitarist for Radiohead, has hailed Finn as popular music's "most prolific writer of great songs".

Track listing

The track listing for the single is: [7]

  1. "The Ship Song" (Nick Cave [1] ) - 5:14
  2. "The Train Song" (Nick Cave) [8] - 3:27


Blixa Bargeld German musician

Blixa Bargeld is a German musician active in a wide range of artistic fields. He is best known for his studio work and live performances with the groups Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and ANBB. His stage name comes from Blixa, a German brand of blue felt pen, and Bargeld, which is German for "cash". Bargeld also refers to German Dada artist Johannes Theodor Baargeld.

Kid Congo Powers American musician

Brian Tristan better known by his stage name Kid Congo Powers, is an American rock guitarist and singer, best known as a member of The Gun Club, the Cramps and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. He has also played with the Divine Horsemen, the Angels of Light and Die Haut.

Mick Harvey Australian musician

Michael John Harvey is an Australian musician, singer-songwriter, composer, arranger and record producer. A multi-instrumentalist, he is best known for his long-term collaborations with Nick Cave, with whom he formed the Boys Next Door, the Birthday Party and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.



FormatCountryLabelCatalogue No.Year
CD singleUK Mute CD MUTE 10812 March 1990
7" singleUKMuteMUTE 10812 March 1990
12" singleUKMute12 MUTE 10812 March 1990
12" single (promotional)UKMuteP12 MUTE 10812 March 1990
CD singleGermanyMute InternationalINT 826.930March 1990

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  1. 1 2 ""The Ship Song" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  2. "UK Top 100 (1983-1991)". or empty |url= (help)
  3. Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits 1980-1989. Cherry Red Books. ISBN   0-9517206-9-4. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05.
  4. "John Hillcoat". IMDb . Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  5. Kruger, Debbie (2 May 2010). "The songs that resonate through the years" (PDF). Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  6. "All Star Cast for the Sydney Opera House's "The Ship Song Project"". Play, the Sydney Opera House Media Portal. 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  7. "Nick Cave Discography on "From The Archives"". From The Archives. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  8. ""The Train Song" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 16 March 2010.