Born on a Pirate Ship

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Born on a Pirate Ship
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 19, 1996
RecordedApril–July 1995
StudioThe Gas Station, Toronto
Reaction Studios, Toronto
Manta Eastern, Toronto
Right Tracks Studio, Saskatoon
ProducerBarenaked Ladies, Michael Phillip Wojewoda
Barenaked Ladies chronology
Maybe You Should Drive
Born on a Pirate Ship
Rock Spectacle
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic [1]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[3]

Born on a Pirate Ship 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.

Born on a Pirate Ship was recorded as a four-piece quartet, following the departure of keyboardist Andy Creeggan.[4] Kevin Hearn is not credited on the album, but joined the group for the 1995 tour preceding 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]

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. 12, the album managed No. 111 in the US. Born on a Pirate Ship was awarded gold status in the U.S. in 2000.

The title and front cover photo refers to a vulgar joke that was popular around the time the band members were children. One kid would instruct another to pull back the corners of their mouth with their fingers (but not stick their tongue out) and say, "I was born on a pirate ship." The result would sound like them saying, "I was born on a pile o' shit." Sometimes "with a bunch of apples" would be added at the end, which would come out as "with a bunch of assholes."[5]

Track listing[edit]

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

No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Stomach vs. Heart" Steven Page2:29
2."Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank" Steven Page3:23
3."I Know" Ed Robertson3:02
4."This Is Where It Ends" Steven Page2:53
5."When I Fall" Ed Robertson4:04
6."I Live with It Every Day"
Steven Page4:30
7."The Old Apartment" Steven Page3:29
8."Call Me Calmly"Steven PageSteven Page2:52
9."Break Your Heart" (Originally recorded for Maybe You Should Drive)Steven PageSteven Page4:57
10."Spider in My Room"Jim CreegganJim Creeggan4:03
11."Same Thing" (Originally recorded for Maybe You Should Drive)Ed RobertsonEd Robertson4:01
12."Just a Toy" Steven Page3:42
13."In the Drink"Jim CreegganJim Creeggan5:12
14."Shoe Box" Steven Page2:57


Barenaked Ladies

  • Jim Creeggan – vocals, double bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, dobro, fiddle, piano, electric double bass, percussion, yells
  • Steven Page – vocals, sound effects, electric guitar, percussion, yells
  • Ed Robertson – vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, pedal steel guitar, bass guitar, cowbell, sound effects, yells
  • Tyler Stewart – drums, piano, vibraphone, percussion, shaker, Fisher-Price xylophone, tambourine, background vocals, phat drumz guy, yells

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[citation needed]
"Shoe Box"
  • Released: 1995
  • Format: CD



Year Chart Position
1996 Canada Albums 12[6]
1996 Heatseekers 4[citation needed]
1996 Billboard 200 111[citation needed]


Year Chart Position
"The Old Apartment" Billboard Hot 100 88[citation needed]


  1. ^ Stewart Mason. "Born on a Pirate Ship". Allmusic. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  3. ^ Wolk, Douglas (2004). "Barenaked Ladies". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 44-45. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  4. ^ a b Punter, Jennie (June 1996). "Barenaked Ladies: Spontaneity And Surprise". Impact. Archived from the original on June 11, 2004. Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  5. ^ "Music / Barenaked Ladies". TV Tropes. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  6. ^ "HITS OF THE WORLD". Billboard. April 13, 1996. Retrieved December 25, 2018.