I'm Shipping Up to Boston

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"Shipping Up to Boston"
Single by Dropkick Murphys
from the album The Warrior's Code
Released 2006
Genre Celtic punk
Length 2:33
Label Hellcat
Songwriter(s) Woody Guthrie (lyrics)
Dropkick Murphys (A. Barr, K. Casey,M. Kelly, J. Lynch & M. Orrell) (music)
Producer(s) David Bianco
Dropkick Murphys singles chronology
"The Warrior's Code"
"Shipping Up to Boston"
"The State of Massachusetts"

"I'm Shipping Up to Boston" is a song with lyrics written by the folk singer Woody Guthrie, music written by A. Barr, K. Casey, M. Kelly, J. Lynch and M. Orrell and performed by the Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys. It appeared on their certified gold selling 2005 album, The Warrior's Code. An earlier recording of it can be found on the Hellcat Records compilation Give 'Em the Boot: Vol. 4. The song gained world-wide attention along with boosting the band's popularity for its use in the 2006 Academy Award-winning Best Picture, The Departed and the soundtrack for the film.

The lyrics from the song were taken from a fragment of paper that Ken Casey found whilst looking through Woody Guthrie's archives.[1] The Dropkick Murphys put music to the lyrics as they also did with the song "Gonna Be A Blackout Tonight" from the 2003 album Blackout.

The single is the band's most successful to date and was certified double platinum. It reached #1 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart and sold over 1,044,000 digital copies without ever entering the Hot 100 chart.[2]

The video features the Dropkick Murphys performing the song on the waterfront in East Boston. The band is also seen "hanging out" with hooligans while being chased by Boston police officers. The song's simple lyrics describe a sailor who had lost a leg climbing the topsail, and is shipping up to Boston to "find my wooden leg."


Chart (2007) Peak
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 (Billboard) 1
Chart (2012) Peak
Ireland (IRMA) 54

In entertainment[edit]

  • The instrumental parts of the song are used for the theme song for MTV's Nitro Circus.
  • The New England Patriots frequently use the song during home games. The Dropkick Murphys performed the song live during the NFL kickoff game in 2015 that was hosted in Foxborough.
  • The instrumental version was used as the theme song for the Captain's Curse monster truck driven by Alex Blackwell.
  • In rugby union the song is used as the entrance music for both Ireland and London Irish in their home games.
  • The song was the entrance theme for former UFC light heavyweight champion and UFC Hall of Fame fighter Forrest Griffin.
  • It is used heavily in the film The Departed.
  • It also appears in The Simpsons episode "The Debarted", which was based on The Departed. An a cappella version is featured on the episode The Town, where the Simpsons travel to Boston.
  • Portions of the song have been used in the opening sequence and pilot episode of the show The Black Donnellys.
  • It has appeared in an episode of King of the Hill entitled "Dia-BILL-ic Shock".
  • The instrumental part of the song was used in episode six of Luck[3]
  • A portion of the song is used for the final encore of New Kids on the Block: Live tour.
  • The song is used as the title theme for the documentary TV series Lobster Wars on the Discovery Channel.
  • The song is used in the soundtrack of a 2007 episode of Top Gear.
  • The song is featured in the video game NHL 11 and as downloadable content for the music video games Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band.
  • The song is also used in the video game NHL Slapshot. The song is used on the menus, when goals are scored, and during faceoffs during the game.[4]
  • Also, in the NHL, the song is used by the Philadelphia Flyers whenever they are about to start overtime at Wells Fargo Center, followed by a brief playing of "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns n' Roses.
  • A soundalike version written by James S. Levine is used as the theme for the TV series Rizzoli & Isles.[5]
  • It was the entrance music for pitcher Jonathan Papelbon during his time with the Boston Red Sox.
  • The song is featured in TV spots for Brave, a film set in medieval Scotland.
  • Northern Irish Darts Player Brendan Dolan uses this song for his walk-on.
  • The melody of the song was also heard in a similar way in song "Capuchino" from 2013 Bollywood romantic comedy I, Me Aur Main.
  • Used in a promotional advertisement for the Australian Football League (AFL).
  • In the UK edition of Shameless, in the last episode of the sixth series at Mandy's funeral.
  • Irish women's wrestler Rhia O'Reilly uses the song as her entrance music.
  • Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy uses the song as his at-bat music.
  • The song was covered by Finnish melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, and appeared on their 2012 compilation album Holiday at Lake Bodom.
  • The song is commonly played as pre-game music at college basketball, football, and hockey games at Boston College.
  • The song was used to "pump up the crowd" before Boston Red Sox playoff games during the 2013 season. It was performed on the field by the Dropkick Murphys before game 6 of the 2013 American League Championship Series and game 6 of the 2013 World Series. (The band also performed the national anthem on both occasions.) In other sports teams around Boston it is used as a de facto anthem for the city.
  • The song is used as walk-up music for Oakland Athletics first baseman Nate Freiman.
  • The song is used as walk-up music for Seattle Mariners outfielder Shawn O'Malley.
  • The song is played at Notre Dame Stadium before and during Fighting Irish football games. It is also played before Notre Dame Men's and Women's basketball games inside the Joyce Center.
  • Part of the song was featured in Disney on Ice: Rockin' Ever After during the Brave segment.
  • The music was featured in commercials starting in 2014 for Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Cold Snap beers.
  • The song was used as the walk up music for Billy 'The Kid' McDonnen played by Robert De Niro in the 2014 movie 'Grudge Match'
  • The song was featured on The Boston Pops Orchestra's 2009 album The Red Sox Album.
  • The song is used by the London Irish Rugby Team as their entrance music at the Madjeski Stadium in Reading
  • The song played throughout the arena at the UFC 189 event after Irish fighter Conor McGregor defeated Chad Mendes by way of TKO in the second round. There were over 10,000 Irish fans in attendance.
  • The song is used for home games to introduce the St. John's IceCaps.
  • The song is part of the percussion feature of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band's 2016 show.
  • The song was played during the Minnesota Gophers football game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis versus the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on October 22, 2016.
  • The song is played when Shane Proctor, PBR bull rider, is preparing to ride.
  • The song is used as the entrance theme to professional wrestler Kyle O'Reilly at PWG shows.
  • The song is frequently played during episodes of the Channel 4 sitcom Derry Girls.

Political appearances[edit]


A small Facebook meme grew up after Wisconsin State Representative and Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly Jeff Fitzgerald reportedly used the song during the 2012 Wisconsin Republican Convention in Green Bay. This usage prompted the band to release the following statement on Facebook:[6]

We just got word that Wisconsin State Rep and Speaker of the State Assembly Jeff Fitzgerald used "Shipping Up to Boston" as his walk-on song yesterday at the Wisconsin GOP Convention in Green Bay.

The stupidity and irony of this is laughable. A Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate – and crony of anti-Union Governor Scott Walker – using a Dropkick Murphys song as an intro is like a white supremacist coming out to gangsta rap!

Fitzgerald: if you and your staff can't even figure out your music you might wanna give up on the politics!!!!!

We stand beside our Union and Labor brothers and sisters and their families in Wisconsin and all over the U.S!


In 2015, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker used the song during political events.[7] In response, the official Dropkick Murphy's Twitter account posted a tweet declaring that the band "literally hate[d]" Governor Walker and asking him to "stop using [their] music in any way".[8]


  1. ^ Juul, -Matt (March 13, 2015). "'I'm Shipping Up to Boston': 10 Years of A Working-Class, Boston Anthem". boston.com. Retrieved July 11, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Week Ending March 21, 2010: Pastor Sapp's Chart Miracle – Chart Watch". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  3. ^ Bereznak Alyssa (March 5, 2012). "Luck Season One, Episode Six Recap: 'I Didn't Figure You for a Jazz Fan'". Vanity Fair. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ NHL Slapshot
  5. ^ "ACE Title Search". ASCAP. Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  6. ^ Murphies, Dropkick. "Dropkick Murphies on Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Barsanti, Sam. "Dropkick Murphys "literally hate" Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, want him to stop using their music". AV Club. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Dropkick Murphys Twitter". Twitter. 24 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 

External links[edit]