songs-about-the-ocean

Nothing beats being by the sea: the sand between your toes, the salt in the air, and the shrieking of seagulls. Blissful. However, we’re not the only ones who claim so-innumerable artists have been inspired by the vast body of saltwater. Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a voyage across the sea, you’ll find countless songs about the ocean.

Furthermore, it is usually helpful to recall where you came from. For humans, unless you believe in God creating us all from dust and a spare rib, that location is the ocean. While the human race continues to celebrate the sea by throwing mountains of plastic into it daily, we thought we’d highlight how the seven seas are still affecting our cultural heritage to this today.

We have some tracks for you whether you are on a boat trip or cruise and want some appropriate songs about the ocean, or if you just want to pretend you are out at sea while at the office or lab.


Our List Of Best Songs About The Ocean

The ocean is a big place, and it inspires big emotions. Here are our picks for the 18 best songs about the ocean of all time.

1. Octopus’s Garden – The Beatles

Credit: The Beatles

We must begin with one of the classic songs about the ocean, written by Ringo Starr, who rose to international recognition as the drummer for the Beatles. After storming out of the White Album sessions, Ringo wrote this song.

He traveled on vacation to Sardinia, where he met a fisherman who informed him about the octopus at the bottom of the sea.

He described how they wander around the bottom gathering stones and sparkly stuff to make a garden. This piqued Ringo’s interest since, at the time, he, too, desired to go under the water, away from it all.


2. Beyond The Sea – Bobby Darin

Credit: NRRArchives

Beyond the sea is an English-language adaptation of Charles Trenet’s French song “La Mer,” popularized by Bobby Darin in 1959. The French original was a tribute to the sea, but Jack Lawrence, who wrote the English lyrics, transformed it into a love ballad.

Despite Trenet’s lyrics differing and were unconnected to Lawrence’s, the clear shared context was the sea. The French songs depicted the life of a sailor’s lover who was often separated since her beloved was always sailing the seas.

On the other hand, Lawrence’s lyrics portray a couple separated by the sea and their desire to be reunited one day. Here are two of the song’s main lines, which describe the lovers’ despair as they yearn to meet again.

Somewhere beyond the sea, she’s there watching for me

I know beyond a doubt my heart will lead me there soon


3. Oceans – Pearl Jam

Credit: Pearl Jam

Oceans is a song by Pearl Jam, an American rock band. Eddie Vedder wrote the lyrics for this song. Oceans” was released as the fourth single from the band’s debut album, Ten, in 1992. (1991). The song’s remix can be found on the “Even Flow” single and the 2009 Ten editions.

The Ocean is one of the deepest love songs; it’s relaxing and profound. Vedder’s passion for surfing inspired the song Oceans. Supposedly, he is encouraging his beloved to cherish what they have. Even if they are separated for any reason, they can still dream about the next time they will be together because he will return.

He urges her not to wander, and although they are OCEANS apart, she is in all of his thoughts. He promises to return to her and begs her to be by his side! Holding the ring firmly is a metaphor for the ring on her finger, almost as if it were a life-saving ring.


4. How Deep Is The Ocean – Irving Berlin

Credit: Classic Mood Experience

Irving Berlin wrote the classic song “How Deep Is the Ocean?” in 1932. The song originated from an older Berlin classic, “To My Mammy,” which Al Jolson sang in his film Mammy (1930). In the earlier song, the lyrics include the questions “How deep is the ocean? / How high is the sky?” and the genesis of “How Deep Is the Ocean?”.

The song was composed during a low period in Berlin’s career and personal life. It is one of the few of his songs that was the first broadcast. Rather than on stage or in cinema.

The song is essentially a sequence of questions asked one after the other, except for the second line, “I’ll tell you no untruth.” Together with “Say It Isn’t So,” this song was a tremendous smash in 1932, propelling Berlin back to the top.


5. Lost Sailor – Grateful Dead

Credit: pyrotech8285

On August 31st, 1979, the band played the song for the first time in Glens Falls Civic Center in Glens Falls, New York. “Lost Sailor” debuted earlier that month, on August 4th, at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, and was played four times before August 31st.

Lost Sailor addresses the lone wolf explorers among us, who are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing ( though we rarely know what it is). Those who have been chained to a world where they do not belong seek new possibilities. The explorers, wanderers, psychonauts, and escapists are among them. But first, we have to get away from ourselves.


6. Seaside – The Kooks

Credit: Mieza A.

Inside In / Inside Out is the debut studio album by The Kooks, a British indie rock band. It came out in January of 2006. Seaside is the first track of that album.

It seems like the guy is in love with a girl and is curious about her feelings about him. He hasn’t seen her in a long time, and it sounds like he is missing her and confused.

Perhaps he fell in love at the seaside. He’s still madly in love with her. He wishes he could travel back in time and have that moment with her at the seaside. He invites her to accompany him. Perhaps they’re sick of the “sleight of hand.”


7. Captain Kennedy – Neil Young

Credit: neilyoungchannel

Captain Kennedy is featured on Neil Young’s studio album Hawks & Doves. Hawks & Doves is Canadian folk-rock singer Neil Young’s eighth studio album, released in October 1980.

Neil Young’s frequently referenced maritime themes, and he owned the 101-foot Baltic Trader W.N. Ragland for about 30 years and spent a lot of sailing with her.

His grandpa Captain Louis Kenedy’s time as a mariner inspired this song. It tells the story of a mariner who owns and operates a ship on the islands. Captain Kenedy captained ten sailing vessels while delivering goods between the Caribbean and the Canadian Maritimes.


8. Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

Credit: The Beatles

The English rock band the Beatles released “Yellow Submarine” on their 1966 album Revolver. It was also released as a double A-side single with “Eleanor Rigby.” Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote it as a children’s song.

According to McCartney, the concept for a colored submarine came from a 1963 vacation in Greece, where he had eaten an iced spoon sweet known locally as a submarine, which was yellow or red depending on the flavor.

When Lennon, Harrison, and their wives first tried the psychedelic drug LSD in early 1965, they also considered building an underwater boat. [14][15] They returned to Harrison’s Surrey house, Kinfauns, after the unsettling experience of visiting a London nightclub, where Lennon imagined the bungalow design as a submarine with him as the captain.


9. Surfin’ U.S.A. – The Beach Boys

Credit: beatlettese

Surfin’ U.S.A. is a song written by Chuck Berry and Brian Wilson for the American rock band the Beach Boys. It’s a reworked version of Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen,” with new lyrics written by Wilson and an uncredited Mike Love.

During the 1960s, surfing began to diversify from its Hawaiian beginnings. It was spreading from the West to the East Coast of the United States. The Beach Boys were inspired by the surfers and the good time everyone was having around them, although they never really surfed. So they created a song about how relaxing it is to sail among the waves.

“Surfin’ U.S.A.” transports the listener to a different world of 1960s California. The song mentions numerous prominent surf spots in the United States of America. We can interpret the music in a variety of ways.


10. Ocean Eyes – Billie Eilish

Credit: Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish’s debut track, Ocean Eyes, was released at 13. She uploaded the song to SoundCloud, quickly becoming popular, garnering over a million plays. The song has been officially remixed four times and is on the extended play four times.

Ocean eyes do not have to be blue; they are the sort of eyes that draw you in and make you fall in love with them because of their beauty and depth. However, the song touches on the notion that these eyes conceal a dark side, as Billie mentions in the opening line. They are all deadly, just like the ocean, which may be peaceful or cruel.


11. Sea and Sand – The Who

Credit: GrantJacobReinhardt

The Who’s song Sea and Sand is a classic. The band released it on the third side of the 1973 rock opera album Quadrophenia as the second track.

Sea and Sand, the first song to take place as Quadrophenia’s story shifts to Brighton, depicts opera protagonist Jimmy’s love of the beach as an escape from the grim reality of home and life and his recollections of earlier mod gatherings in Brighton.

Sea and Sand also focus on the context of reflection throughout the story. The protagonist is abandoned on the seashore after leaving his house. He dwells on his inadequacies in love and his inability to fit in at home or with the other Mod tickets and faces. The song also expresses Pete Townshend’s (Guitarist and secondary lead vocalist of the band) growing estrangement from his band and the music world in general.


12. The Ocean – Led Zeppelin

Credit: sasorirules

The Ocean is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin that appears on their 1973 album Houses of the Holy.

The ocean is a metaphor for the “sea of heads” that lead vocalist Robert Plant faces throughout his concerts. In this scenario, the writer compares a crowd’s numerous heads to a sea to create the illusion of immensity.

Plant recalls this ecstatic sight of the crowd to whom he performs. He used to sing for seas and mountains of people, but now he sings for his daughter. It simply means that the emotion he is pouring into his song is now for his daughter.


13. Wildflowers – Tom Petty

Credit: Tom Petty

Wildflowers, the title and opening song from Tom Petty’s second solo studio album, is a famous song that expresses the serene atmosphere that one could experience when sailing. While some of the songs about the ocean on this list are entirely about the water, Wildflowers is one that anyone would recommend you to listen to while cruising if you have the opportunity.

The lyrics deal with going forward and letting go, finding peace inside yourself, and doing what makes you feel free, including sailing away. ‘Wildflowers’ is about a new beginning and an ending. It matches well with the healthy escapism that sailing may provide.


14. Play Crack The Sky – Brand New

Credit: Newfound Recordings

I’d want to preface this with a disclaimer since most people reading this have never heard of Brand New or the song “Play Crack The Sky.” This is a heartbreaking, well-written song about dying portrayed through the lens of a shipwreck. It’s from Brand New’s 2003 album Deja Entendu, which has helped me get through tough times and holds an important place in my heart.

“Play Crack The Sky” is about the might of the ocean. Also, the weight of sadness and what both may do to a person if they are caught in a storm. Jesse Lacey’s songwriting is emotional and beautiful. The lyrics are especially moving for those who have a personal connection to boats and the sea.


15. Sail On Sailor – The Beach Boys

Credit: APauls

This song is the Beach Boys at their finest. Of course, everyone knew they were always good, but greatness was the only category they belonged in.

The song relates the narrative of Brian’s troubles and how he overcame them despite setbacks and challenges that we all experience from time to time. The lyrics are fantastic. It talks about life’s ups and downs,  good and bad. So take it for what it’s worth, and then go on.


16. Into The Mystic – Van Morrison

Credit: Tim O’ Flea

“Into the Mystic” is a song composed by Van Morrison and released on his 1970 album Moondance.

Beyond the clear message of this song, there is an opportunity for interpretation. The music expresses an understanding that life is finite and an acceptance of its inevitable end. When you’ve seen the world and loved someone, there’s no reason to be afraid of the future since you’ve lived your life to the fullest.


17. Ship Ahoy – The O’Jays

Credit: Soulman163

Ship Ahoy is a rhythm and blues album released on November 10, 1973, by Philadelphia soul group The O’Jays on Philadelphia International Records.

While the song “Ship Ahoy” deserves serious attention, so does the album cover on which it appears. James Barkley, the artist, created two sets of pictures for the album’s cover. The first photograph depicts a group of enslaved Africans crammed into a ship.

The passengers onboard – “men, women, and infant slaves” – and their trip to the “country of liberty,” where “life’s design is already created,” is described in the lyrics. But, as the O’Jays sing about the exhausting voyage across the Atlantic, the only constant in the enslaved people’s existence is the sun that beats down on them.


18. To The Sea – Jack Johnson

Credit: jackjohnsonmusic

To the Sea is singer-songwriter Jack Johnson’s fifth studio album, released in Japan on May 26, 2010.

The album ‘To The Sea’ is dedicated to Jack’s father, Jeff Johnson, who passed away before the record was completed. As a result, many of the tracks on this album appear to be about parenthood and fitting in. As he penned the songs, Jack thought about his father’s passing.

It’s about a father leading his son to a place where he can dive deeper and try to understand himself.

Conclusion

The best songs about the ocean are the ones that make you feel like you’re right there, standing on the shore, feeling the spray of salt water on your skin. They’re the songs that make you want to close your eyes and let the waves crash over you. They’re calming and soothing, and they make you feel at peace with the world.

We hope you enjoyed our list of the 18 best songs about the ocean of all time. The ocean has always been a source of inspiration for artists, and these songs are a testament to that.

So, what are you waiting for? Go to the nearest waterside location, put on this music, and let the pounding waves transport you.

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Arifur Rahman
Hello, my name is Arifur Rahman. I am a guitarist & music composer. I write about music & guitar at Calibbr.

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