Is there a better time to update one of our popular blogs other than a Worl Music Day 2022? We have already introduced you to our top list of sailing movies and sailing books. Perfect time to show you the updated list of our top 20 favourite sailing songs. Since there has been sailing, there have also been songs about the sea and sailing. A sailing song doesn’t necessarily need to be about sailing per se, but can be about that unique feeling of freedom that sailing provides us. So our list is quite colourful. Every sailor will surely find something right up his alley. So without further ado, here are some of the best sailing songs for every sailor. Enjoy the sailing music!
Rod Stewart – Sailing
“…We are sailing, we are sailing
‘Cross the sea
We are sailing
To be near you
To be free…”
Let’s start with classics. Originally recorded by the Sutherland Brothers, Rod Stewart recorded his version of this classic sailing song in 1975. The theme of the song, homesickness, unsuprisingly makes this song a part of every sailor’s playlist. Considered one of the best sailing songs ever, ‘Sailing’ has that famous Rod Stewart charm and irreplacable feeling that puts it right on the top of our playlist.
Christopher Cross – Sailing
Takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
Soon I will be free…”
We believe you will agree with us that one of the most beautiful sailing songs is Christopher Cross‘s song simply titled ‘Sailing’. This song is another classic released back in the 1980. From the moment he wrote it, Christopher knew he had something special and he wasn’t wrong. “Sailing” by Christopher Cross is still one of the most searched sailing songs and the one that inspires many to the present day. It combines soothing, calming but catchy melody and recognizable Christopher Cross’s voice which, combined, makes one of the best sailor songs.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Ship Song
“Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around…”
This sailing song was the first single from the Nick Cave & The Bad Seed‘s album The Good Sun. The song reached #84 on the UK Singles Chart. Likewise ‘The Ship Song’ was selected as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time. This spectacular ballad is number three on our list.
Also one of the greatest songs about ships in general.
Commodores – Sail On
“…Whoa, sail on, honey
Good times never felt so good…”
‘Sail On’ is a Commodores song written by Lionel Richie from their 1979 album Midnight Magic. This one is somewhat a sadder song about a man who, tired of trying to make his marriage work, decides to end it as painlessly as possible. Released as the first of three singles from the album, it was produced by both Commodores and James Anthony Carmichael. The song reached the top ten on both the US and UK music charts that same year. Richie later recorded the song with Tim McGraw for 2012’s Tuskegee.
Pearl Jam – Oceans
“…You don’t have to stray
The oceans away
Waves roll in my thoughts
Hold tight the ring
The sea will rise
Please stand by the shore
Oh, oh, oh, I will be
I will be there once more…”
This love song was written by Eddie Vedder to his wife Beth to whom he was married from 1994 to 2000. Even though this song, included in their album “Ten” is fairly different than all the others, it was still recognised as a great addition and found its many fans across the world. We are positive you are going to love it as well.
Van Morrison – Into the Mystic
“…Hark now, hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly
Into the mystic…”
Morrison‘s evergreen ‘Into The Mystic’ is the sailing song that every sailor loves. This classic rock tune released in 1970 is still one of the most famous sailing songs. We personally can’t decide which version we like better so here is live version of ‘Into The Mystic’. So enjoy one of the best sailing songs ever!
Little River Band – Cool Change
“…If there’s one thing in my life that’s missing
It’s the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear water
It’s kind of a special feeling
When out on the sea alone…”
‘Cool Change’ is a hit song by Australian rock group Little River Band written by lead singer Glenn Shorrock. And how much Australia likes sailing songs states the fact that this song also ended up on the Top 30 Australia songs of all time. In short, ‘Cool Change’ is another classing among sailing songs and it had to be on our list.
Loggins and Messina – Vahevala
“…Vahevala, homeless sailor
Vahevala, homeward sail away
Every single, single way
Gotta be back on board by break of…”
This song is written by Dan Loggins who wasn’t actually part of this American duo but Ken Loggins’s brother. It sings about Vahevala, an imaginary island off the coast of Jamaica thus evoking a sailor’s paradise. Its happy and cheerful tune will surely take you immediatley to this paradise.
Deep Purple – Sail Away
“…If you’re driftin’ on an empty ocean
With no wind to fill your sail
The future, your horizon
It’s like searchin’ for the Holy Grail…”
For every fan of hard rock music here’s classic Deep Purple tune from their legendary album Burn. ‘Sail Away’ has everything great hard rock song has. Great guitar riff, strong bass and great vocals by iconic David Coverdale. Certainly one of our favurite saling songs from the list.
Old Dominion – I was on a Boat That Day
“…The river was rolling
I was getting my float on
She was telling me so long
I was on a boat that day…”
Right after Deep Purple here is a tune completely different. This song was tucked away in the Old Dominion song factory for several years before they realised that this was actually a very fun title. It comes as a no surprise that this country song was a hit during these difficult Covid years. Even though it sings about breakup, the main point is to try to get passed a tough time. “So what better way to do that than to get on a boat and get away from it all?” as the guitarist Trevor Rosen pointed out. We couldn’t agree more, so why don’t we all just take a cue from Old Dominion and find a boat?
Elvis Costello – Shipbuilding
“…It’s all we’re skilled in
We will be shipbuilding.
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls….”
‘Shipbuilding’ is one of the songs about ships by Elvis Costello. Costello wrote this song during Falklands War and discusses the contradiction of the war bringing back prosperity to the traditional shipbuilding areas. Because of that this is one of the most emotional and deep sailing songs out there.
Enya – Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)
“…We can sail, we can sail
(Sail away, sail away, sail away)
We can reach, we can beach
Far beyond the Yellow Sea…”
It seems like this is the only song on our list that talks about river sailing. Enya‘s ‘Orinoco Flow’ was #1 on the UK Top Charts for three weeks straight and recieved two Grammy awards. One for the best music video and the other for the best new age performance. It was also Enya’s first hit and was used in several TV shows and movies. Therefore, this is one of the most successful sailing songs on our list.
Styx – Come Sail Away
“…I’m sailing away
Set an open course for the virgin sea
‘Cause I’ve got to be free
Free to face the life that’s ahead of me…”
Another simple and beautiful song. Certainly one of those sailing songs that points out the peace that sailing brings. Thus ‘Come Sail Away’ had to be on our list. What more can a sailor want than a song that resembles sailing in every possible way. Truly a great song you will most ceirtanly enjoy.
Bobby Darin – Beyond the Sea
“…We’ll meet beyond the shore
We’ll kiss just as before
Happy we’ll be beyond the sea
And never again I’ll go sailing…”
Here we give you another classic not to be omitted. After it was originally written in 1943 as “La Mer” by a Frenchman named Charles Trenet, an American named Jack Lawrence wrote new English lyrics to it and re-named it “Beyond the Sea”. The same title bears the movie about Bobby Daren‘s life starred by Kevin Spacey who performed most of the music for the movie. This list wouldn’t be complete without it, you will surely agree.
Runrig – the Ship
“…And the ship comes ‘round
And she’s waiting at the harbour
Be prepared to get on board, be prepared
I never knew that the light of ages
Breaks the way before us
Sail away, sail away…”
This iconic Scottish Celtic rock band was formed on the Isle of Skye in 1973. They sung many of their songs in Scottish Gaelic. This particular song was inlcuded in their eleventh album “The Stamping Ground” which was also the title of a musical based around their hit songs, this one being no exception.
Florence and the Machine – Ship to Wreck
“…And, ah, my love remind me, what was it that I did?
Did I drink too much? Am I losing touch?
Did I build a ship to wreck?…”
What kind of a list would it be without Florence + The Machine. This sailing song will make you want to dance and have a good time. It’s fast and smart with great hook on the chorus. As a result, that makes one great sailing song which you will want to listen to on repeat.
Grateful Dead – Lost Sailor
“…Somedays the gales are howling, sometimes the sea is still as glass.
Oh, raise the main sail, oh, lash the mast.
You’re a lost sailor, been away too long at sea.
Now the shorelines beckon, there is a price for being free…”
Another great sailing song for people who enjoy heavier tunes. Hard rock song ‘Lost Sailor’ by Grateful Dead is another classic sailors will love. Perfect for lazy afternoons while sea gently swings your boat.
Fairport Convention – A Sailor’s Life
“…Oh father, build for me a bonny boat,
That on the wide ocean I may float…”
Probably the longest sailing song on our list. ‘A Sailor’s Life’ followed the trends in 60’s music. It is slow building song with emphasis on the atmosphere. As a result what we have here is great psychodelic sailing song which will make you escape from reality for a little while.
David Gray – Sail Away
“Sail away with me honey
I put my heart in your hands…”
One of the more modern songs on our list is ‘Sail Away’ by David Gray. Released in 2013 this sailing song will give you the breeze of today’s music. It’s a great sailing song which combines great vocals with the smoothness of an acoustic guitar.
Katie Melua – If You Were a Sailboat
“…If you were a sailboat I would sail you to the shore
If you were a river I would swim you...”
Last but not least, here’s Katie Melua and her great sailing song ‘If You Were a Sailboat’. This sailing song is dearing love song which Katie interprets so greatly. Her gentle voice feels like it’s made just for this song. Because of that you will fall in love with this track.
I know it’s hard to choose your favourite one. Therefore, this list is not sorted in a way to rank the sailing songs from best to worst. It’s a sailing songs playlist with the aim to present to you the sailing songs we like the best. So the list is not definite and if you have any suggestions about what should we listen to or include in our list, let us know in the comments. We’ve already included the first two song suggestions, so you never know, maybe yours is next.