Nick Cave Monday #34: “The Ship Song”


“The Ship Song” can induce emotions of love, lust and affection. It’s a sexy and soft ballad. If you listen to the song and no one is around to kiss or fondle, there is no shame in showing your affection to a soft pillow.

Many children were conceived while listening to “The Ship Song” when it came out. Studies show there was a population surge in early 1991 and we can see the effects of that now as many 22 year old men and women crowd Nick Cave shows. The song was released in 1990 and is on “The Good Son” album.

It was the first single of the record released also on 7″ vinyl: “The Ship Song” b/w “The Train Song.”

Here’s the original video:

That was Mick Harvey, Blixa Bargeld and Kid Congo Powers lined up as the background singers, organized, soft and polite.

Nick mentioned in an interview that the video was really hard to shoot because he was just released from rehab and his body felt beaten up. He also had fallen in love and moved to Brazil to be with Viviane Carnerio, the mother of his son Luke.

Here’s “The Ship Song” live in 1992:

How many couples have used this song for their wedding song?

Brace yourself, here is Nick performing it solo on the piano:

How sexy was that?

Here’s the guys doing a practice session of the song:

“The Ship Song” is a part of the 2013 shows:

The song is just too good, watch more videos of Nick and the guys performing it:

In 1994:




Black Sessions 1998:

1990 at Pinkpop:

For those of you who have properly watched all of the above videos, here is the extra credit. The Sydney Opera House paid tribute to “The Ship Song.”

Nick’s reaction to the honor of the Sydney Opera House project is in the interview below around the 4 minute mark:

Here is a documentary of how the project came together in all of it’s utter beauty:

Be careful with “The Ship Song.” Do not play it around a woman or man you are not interested in falling in love with….there are other songs for sport fucking.

Do not play it on a first date unless you already know you want to have children with the other person.

And, don’t listen to it on your headphones while taking public transit if you have just been through a break up because your uncontrollable sobs may interfere with getting off at the right stop.

“Come sail your ships around me/
And burn your bridges down/
We make a little history, baby/
Every time you come around.”

Thanks for reading and come back next week for another edition of Nick Cave Monday.

Tony DuShane is the author of Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk. His writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, Penthouse, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Believer. And, if you’re a Nick Cave fan, check out Nick Cave Monday. More from this author →