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
FormatCD single, 7", 12"
RecordedCardan Studios, Sao Paulo
8 October – 28 October 1989
GenreAlternative rock
LabelMute 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]

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

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]

Cover Versions[edit]

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.

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]

Track listing[edit]

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



  • Bill McGee — string arrangement
  • Designlayout — artwork
  • Polly Borland — photography
  • Victor Van Vugt — engineer
  • The Bad seeds — producer


Format Country Label Catalogue No. Year
CD single UK Mute CD MUTE 108 12 March 1990
7" single UK Mute MUTE 108 12 March 1990
12" single UK Mute 12 MUTE 108 12 March 1990
12" single (promotional) UK Mute P12 MUTE 108 12 March 1990
CD single Germany Mute International INT 826.930 March 1990

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b ""The Ship Song" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  2. ^ "UK Top 100 (1983-1991)". Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |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.