That Lowlands gets me every time. Even in a YouTube video. If this is playing on a calm night, and you’re sailing with the moonlight at your back, well...if you’re not covered in goosebumps, there’s something wrong with you. Seek help immediately.


This shanty, British in origin, actually dates from around the 1860s, and is about a sailor’s lady friend visiting him in his dreams.


It’s as famous as tricorn hats and swashed buckles, and also one of the oldest sea shanties on record, dating back to at least the 1830s. Used mostly on larger ships, it was the only work song permitted by the Royal Navy.



Isn’t it the best? It’s exactly the kind of thing you imagine pirates singing, drunk off rum and swinging at the ropes. They never did, of course, since this song dates back to the early 19th century, but it’s an awesome tune regardless. I mean, how often do you get to hear a song about a giant ram terrorising the countryside, killing all in its path?



Cheerly Man is actually an American shanty, one of the most popular of the 19th century. The lyrics you hear in the game are the “radio edit”; 20th century author Joanna Colcord once wrote that the more common lyrics from the period “are too racy to reproduce without considerable editing.”



Starting life as a Scottish fisherman’s song, it soon made its way over the Atlantic and became popular in both the US and Canada. You’ll notice each verse involves a creature of the sea; sailors would keep adding to the song as long as they could keep thinking of new fish with catchy words.