Born on a Pirate Ship

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Born on a Pirate Ship
Barenaked Ladies - Born on a Pirate Ship.jpg
Studio album by Barenaked Ladies
Released March 19, 1996
Recorded April–July 1995
Studio The Gas Station, Toronto
Reaction Studios, Toronto
Manta Eastern, Toronto
Right Tracks Studio, Saskatoon
Genre Alternative rock
Length 51:39
Label Reprise
Producer Barenaked Ladies, Michael Phillip Wojewoda
Barenaked Ladies chronology
Maybe You Should Drive
(1994)Maybe You Should Drive1994
Born on a Pirate Ship
Rock Spectacle
(1996)Rock Spectacle1996
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars [1]
Sputnik Music 4/5 stars [2]

Born on a Pirate Ship (sometimes abbreviated BOAPS[3]) is the third full-length studio album by Barenaked Ladies (BNL), featuring the songs "Shoe Box", "The Old Apartment", "When I Fall" and "Break Your Heart." "The Old Apartment" would become BNL's first US hit in 1997 and began the process of winning many new American fans.

This was the first album recorded following the departure of keyboardist Andy Creeggan, who had considered leaving before the recording of their previous album, Maybe You Should Drive.[4] BOAPS was recorded as a four-piece. Kevin Hearn is not credited on the album, but joined the group for the 1995 tour that preceded the album's release in time to be thanked in the liner notes for "injecting new spirit."

Steven Page and Ed Robertson returned to writing together, as they did upon the band's formation, but had abandoned following the release of Gordon,[4] Tracks recorded for this album but left off the finished record are: "Trust Me" (earlier recorded for Maybe You Should Drive but left off the album—included on the Shoe Box EP) and "Back" (included on the "Brian Wilson 2000" single). As with each of their early albums, the band recorded one song, "Back", completely naked.

The front cover features a boy in a newspaper hat pulling at his cheeks, in reference to the childhood prank alluded to by the album's title (saying "I was born on a pirate ship" while pulling on his cheeks outwards sounds like "I was born on a pile of shit"). Contrary to popular belief, this is not a childhood picture of BNL bassist Jim Creeggan, but rather a child actor hired for the photos.

The album is also an enhanced CD. The data track contains audio samples from the band's previous two CDs, a short montage of press photos, several of the band's music videos, a short trivia quiz, and a pair of "behind the scenes" videos from the band. Similar content was included and expanded upon on the Shoe Box E.P.; however, the format of the enhanced CD used in the creation of that CD renders the data track inaccessible on modern operating systems.

Although a moderate hit in Canada reaching No. 18, the album only managed No. 111 in the US. Born On A Pirate Ship was awarded gold status in the U.S. in 2000, after the band became more popular there.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Steven Page and Ed Robertson, except where noted.

No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Stomach vs. Heart" Steven Page 2:29
2. "Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank" Steven Page 3:23
3. "I Know †" Ed Robertson 3:02
4. "This Is Where It Ends" Steven Page 2:53
5. "When I Fall" Ed Robertson 4:04
6. "I Live with It Every Day" (Steven Page, Stephen Duffy) Steven Page 4:30
7. "The Old Apartment" Steven Page 3:29
8. "Call Me Calmly" (Steven Page) Steven Page 2:52
9. "Break Your Heart" (Steven Page) Steven Page 4:57
10. "Spider in My Room" (Jim Creeggan) Jim Creeggan 4:03
11. "Same Thing" (Ed Robertson) Ed Robertson 4:01
12. "Just a Toy" Steven Page 3:42
13. "In the Drink" (Jim Creeggan) Jim Creeggan 5:12
14. "Shoe Box" Steven Page 2:57
15. "If I Had $1000000 ‡" Steven Page, Ed Robertson 4:35

† includes a sample of televangelist Robert Tilton saying "and you have faith! You just need to use it, saith the Lord."
‡ edit version, appears on UK edition only


Barenaked Ladies

Additional personnel


  • Producers: Barenaked Ladies, Michael Phillip Wojewoda
  • Engineer: Michael Phillip Wojewoda
  • Assistant engineers: Jeff Elliott, Tom Heron, Dale Morningstar
  • Mixing: Michael Phillip Wojewoda
  • Piano preparation: Robin Billinton, Steven Page


Single information
"The Old Apartment"
  • Released: 1997
  • Formats: CD, 7"
  • Highest US chart position: 88
"Shoe Box"
  • Released: 1995
  • Format: CD



Year Chart Position
1996 Heatseekers 4
1996 The Billboard 200 111


Year Chart Position
"The Old Apartment" The Billboard Hot 100 88


  1. ^ Stewart Mason. "Born on a Pirate Ship". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  2. ^ "Barenaked Ladies - Born on a Pirate Ship (album review)". Sputnikmusic. 2005-12-02. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  3. ^ Used by fans, and by the band, as exemplified on the BNL Blog Archived July 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b Punter, Jennie (June 1996). "Barenaked Ladies: Spontaneity And Surprise". Impact. Retrieved 2010-03-01.