In almost EVERY Hollywood depiction of Pirates the pirates almost always sing some sort of song/sea shanty.

But do we have any actual records of what songs the pirates of golden age of piracy (1650 to 1730) would actually have sung?

And what about casual songs the kind you might sing around a campfire or in a bar do we have any notes on those?

I haven't been able to find an answer on Google

  • @MCW my google-fu isn´t very strong and haven´t really been able to find much info on what they actually sang during that period.
    – Gridlock
    Mar 13, 2022 at 20:34
  • I don't think they made records back then. :-) Mar 14, 2022 at 14:06
  • @DJClayworth consider that many historical records are made with pen and paper, or even with a printing press. We don't need a sound recording to know what was being sung in those days.
    – phoog
    May 16, 2022 at 11:21
  • @phoog Putting a smiley face at the end of a post means it's a joke. May 16, 2022 at 12:54
  • @DJClayworth I understand that. It seems that I misunderstood the precise nature of this particular joke.
    – phoog
    May 16, 2022 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


The Wikipedia article has plenty of links to real-life sea shanties.

If I remember right, the issue with Hollywood songs is that they’re sung too fast to be actual work-speed, but sea shanties in general are well-known to be a real subset of work-songs.

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