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Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)

"Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)"
Released 1967
Genre Theme song
Length 1:03
Label Walt Disney
Writer Xavier Atencio (lyrics)
Composer George Bruns

"Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" is the Xavier Atencio. Its origins are loosely derived from Robert Louis Stevenson's sea-shanty "Dead Man's Chest" found in his 1881 novel Treasure Island.


  • 1967 — Song composed for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction by Bruns and Atencio.
  • 1982 — Orange County punk band The Vandals use the song's melody briefly in their song "Pirate's Life", which is about riding the attraction under the influence of LSD
  • 1986 — Singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett uses the melody as the opening to his single "Take It Back" which was written for the US America's Cup yachting team.
  • 1994 — An instrumental version appears on guitarist Buckethead's album Giant Robot.
  • 1994 — In NHL 95, when the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim are at home, a stadium organ version of the song is played during the opening faceoff of each period. This is a reference to Disney owning the team at the time.
  • 1995 — A version with alternate lyrics was featured in the Beach Party At Walt Disney World video of the Mickey's Fun Songs series.
  • 2002 — The song is featured briefly in the Disney film Treasure Planet. The robot B.E.N. (Martin Short) sings a few bars while aboard the RLS Legacy.
  • 2003 — The song is featured in the Disney film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. A few bars are sung by young Elizabeth Swann (Lucinda Dryzek). An older Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) later teaches it to Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) while they are marooned on an island. As according to her plan, Jack Sparrow falls drunk and she is able to destroy the rum. Later, when Captain Jack Sparrow finally becomes captain once again of the Black Pearl, he sings it, astonished that he remembered it.
  • 2006 — A version is sung by the Jonas Brothers in DisneyMania 4; the refrain "Drink up me hearties" is replaced with "Stand up me hearties".
  • 2007 — A few bars of the song are sung again near the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. A few bars are also sung after the credits by the son of Elizabeth. The instrumentals and dialogue from the attraction are heard as well in the fade to black after the descent off World's End.
  • 2007–???? — NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a pirate ship in the north endzone of Raymond James Stadium. During football games they play the song over the loudspeakers and jumbotron (courtesy of Disney), at which time patrons on the ship throw beads and other prizes into the crowd.
  • 2010 — Disney's World of Color show briefly plays the song prior to the main Pirates of the Caribbean segment.
  • 2011 — Brian Wilson covered it in a medley on his album In the Key of Disney, which was released on October 25, 2011.
  • 2013 — Smosh covered it in the Assassin's Creed 4 rock anthem video.

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