Shiver my Timbers
Hans Zimmer Lyrics


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Pirates: Shiver my timbers, shiver my soul
Yo ho heave ho
There are men whose hearts are as black as coal
Yo ho heave ho
Inkspots: And they sailed their ship cross the ocean blue
A blood-thirsty captain and a cut-throat crew
Alligator: It's as dark a tale as was ever told
Of the lust for treasure and the love of gold
Pirates: Shiver my timbers, shiver my sides
Yo ho heave ho
There are hungers as strong as the wind and tides
Yo ho heave ho
Possums: And those buccaneers drowned their sins in rum
Monkey: The devil himself would have to call them scum
Crabs: Every man aboard would have killed his mate
For a bag of guineas or a piece of eight
Alligator: A piece of eight
Octopus: A piece of eight
Mosquitos: Five, six, seven, eight
Stone Faces: Hulla wacka ulla wacka something not right
Many wicked icky things gonna happen tonight
Hulla wacka ulla wacka sailor man beware
Crabs: When there's money in de ground dere's murder in de air
Totems: Murder in de air
Stone Faces: One more time now
Pirates: Shiver my timbers, shiver my bones
Yo ho heave ho
There are secrets that sleep with old Davy Jones
Yo ho heave ho
Snakes: When the mainsail's set and the anchor's weighed
There's no turning back from any course that's laid
Skulls: And when greed and villainy sail the sea
You can bet your boots there'll be treachery




Pirates: Shiver my timbers, shiver my sails
Dead mean tell no tales

Overall Meaning

The lyrics of Hans Zimmer's song Shiver my Timbers tell the story of a group of pirates who set sail on the ocean, led by a blood-thirsty captain and his cut-throat crew whose hearts are as black as coal. The tale is dark and revolves around the greed for treasure and love of gold, which consumed these buccaneers. They would drown their sins in rum, and even the devil himself would call them scum. Each man aboard would kill his mate for a bag of guineas or piece of eight (a silver coin worth eight reals). The pirates are portrayed as hungry for riches, ruthless, and disloyal. However, the pirate's tale comes with a warning that secrets sleep with old Davy Jones and when greed and villainy sail the sea, you can bet your boots there'll be treachery.


The lyrics of the song capture the fear and tension that one might experience on the high-seas, where dangers are lurking at every corner. The shivering timbers, souls, and bones suggest the danger and instability of the pirate ship as it navigates through the ocean. Interestingly, the song captures different animal sounds, from inkspots to possums, crabs, and mosquitos, giving the imagery of an adventure through a rich and diverse ecosystem.


Line by Line Meaning

Shiver my timbers, shiver my soul
Expressing surprise or shock about something, typically related to danger or fear.


Yo ho heave ho
A nautical chant used by pirates to keep time while performing manual labor.


There are men whose hearts are as black as coal
Referring to the cruel and heartless nature of some individuals.


Inkspots: And they sailed their ship cross the ocean blue
Describing how the black-hearted men sailed across the sea.


A blood-thirsty captain and a cut-throat crew
Illustrating the violent and ruthless nature of the men aboard the ship.


It's as dark a tale as was ever told
Emphasizing the grim and sinister nature of the story being told.


Of the lust for treasure and the love of gold
Stating the motivations behind the actions of the men aboard the ship.


Shiver my timbers, shiver my sides
Expressing the artist's continued shock and fear.


There are hungers as strong as the wind and tides
Referring to the powerful desires that drive some individuals, often leading to questionable or dangerous behavior.


And those buccaneers drowned their sins in rum
Indicating that the pirates drank to forget their misdeeds and guilt.


The devil himself would have to call them scum
Highlighting the extreme wickedness of the pirates.


Every man aboard would have killed his mate
Stating how far the pirates were willing to go to get their hands on treasure.


For a bag of guineas or a piece of eight
Referring to the currency used by pirates and the lengths they would go to acquire it.


A piece of eight
Repeating the phrase used earlier, further emphasizing the importance of this currency to the pirates.


Five, six, seven, eight
Continuing the count used in the earlier portion of the song, further setting the rhythm and tempo of the piece.


Hulla wacka ulla wacka something not right
Adding a sense of foreboding to the song, hinting that things will soon take a turn for the worse.


Many wicked icky things gonna happen tonight
Further indicating that something sinister is about to occur.


Hulla wacka ulla wacka sailor man beware
Issuing a warning to sailors and other potential victims of pirate attacks.


When there's money in de ground dere's murder in de air
Implying that greed often leads to violence and bloodshed.


Murder in de air
Repeating the warning given earlier, further emphasizing its importance.


Shiver my timbers, shiver my bones
Repeating the initial line of the song, underscoring the continued shock and fear experienced by the artist.


There are secrets that sleep with old Davy Jones
Referring to the idea that death and tragedy at sea result in spirits and secrets being claimed by the ocean and its mythical figurehead.


When the mainsail's set and the anchor's weighed
Describing a ship as it prepares to set sail.


There's no turning back from any course that's laid
Suggesting that once a decision is made and a course is set, there can be no turning back or changing direction.


And when greed and villainy sail the sea
Referring to the corruption and wickedness that can occur on the ocean.


You can bet your boots there'll be treachery
Assuming that betrayal and deceit are likely to occur in such an environment.


Shiver my timbers, shiver my sails
Continuing to express the singer's fear and trepidation.


Dead mean tell no tales
A common phrase associated with piracy and suggesting that the dead are unable to reveal the secrets of the living.




Contributed by Nathan S. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Most interesting comments from YouTube:

thesalanian

Seriously, some of these lyrics are legit total fire.




Shiver My Timbers, Shiver My Soul
Yo Ho Heave Ho
There are men who's hearts as black as coal
Yo Ho Heave Ho.


Really powerful opening, the mood is impeccable. I just love how the first statement isn't about treasure, or the sea. It's about the evil of man and his willingness to eat himself.


It's a dark a tale as was ever told
Of a lust for treasure and a love of gold...


I love this line, because it's basically saying that this is just one of a million stories just like it. But this one is the best.


Shiver My Timbers, Shiver my sides
Yo ho heave ho
There are hungers as strong as the winds and tides
Yo ho heave ho


I freaking love this line, again, I just love the fact that it's just telling you matter-of-fact that men can be evil, and not just evil, but powerful.


And those buccaneers drowned their sins in rum,
The devil himself would have to call'em scum!
Every man aboard would have killed his mate,
for a bag of ginnies or a piece-of-eight.


Just gorgeous imagery, the sight of these miserable salty pirates quietly murmuring, brutal bloody souls begrudgingly working with each other each with the intention of betraying everyone around him.


Sailormen beware,
when there's money in the ground,
there's murder in the air.


Again, I just love the simplicity of this line, heralding what's about to come.


When the main sail's in and the anchors weighed
there's no turning back from any course that's laid,
and when greed and villainy sail the sea,
you can bet your boots there'll be treachery.


And at last, we have a final warning about the inevitable destiny of those who live by the sword. There's no turning back.


Shiver my timbers, shiver my sails,
dead men tell no tails.


and then we switch to Flint's pov, like he himself is relishing in his own deeds, such a scoundrel.



Mikl Pickle

Shiver my timbers, shiver my soul
Yo oh heave ho
There are men whose hearts as as black as coal
Yo oh heave ho
And they sailed their ship cross the ocean blue
A blood-thirsty captain and a cut-throat crew
It's as dark a tale as was ever told
Of the lust for treasure and the love of gold
Shiver my timbers, shiver my sides
Yo oh heave ho
There are hungers as strong as the wind and tides
Yo oh heave ho
And those buccaneers drowned their sins in rum
The devil himself would have to call them scum
Every man aboard would have killed his mate
For a bag of guineas or a piece of eight
A piece of eight
A piece of eight
Five, six, seven, eight
Hulla wacka ulla wacka something not right
Many wicked icky things gonna happen tonight
Hulla wacka ulla wacka sailor man beware
When de money in the ground dere's murder in de air
Murder in de air
One more time now
Shiver my timbers, shiver my bones
Yo oh heave ho
There are secrets that sleep with old Davy Jones
Yo oh heave ho
When the mainsail's set and the anchor's weighed
There's no turning back from any course that's laid
And when greed and villainy sail the sea
You can bet your boots there'll be treachery
Shiver my timbers, shiver my sails
Dead men tell no tales



Mike Dubo

Especially with how some of their villains get bumped off:
Evil Queen gets crushed by a boulder.
Maleficent gets stabbed in the heart.
Ratigan falls from Big Ben's tower.
Gaston falls from Beast's castle.
Frollo falls (getting a little repetative here) into molten material (at least its spiced up).
Scar gets EATEN ALIVE.
Clayton gets hung by vines.
Barbosa gets shot.
Shan Yu gets blown up by fireworks.
Favilier gets dragged to the Other Side.
And, saving the most gruesome for last, the Horned King literally GETTING TORN PIECE BY PIECE BY THE A CURSED CAULDRON.

Yeah, Disney should have had no complaints with Burton's work.



All comments from YouTube:

MolemanNineThousand

Easily the most unironically badass musical number in Muppet history.

Cindy Brooks

MolemanNineThousand to

Rene Branstetter

To quote Harley Quinn
YA DAMN STRAIGHT!!!

capmeme

Yup

Krystal Titus

100%

Ricky Moran Jr

MolemanNineThousand i agree, i especially love the rhymes throughout the song

13 More Replies...

Airlock

"Okay Hans, it's a movie about pirates that are puppets. We don't need anything crazy."

Hans Zimmer:

WolfOfJustice

Of course it's Han Zimmer, who else would come with such a legendary tune.

Elizabeth Alvarado

He wrote the score for the "Pirates of the Caribbean", don't expect anything less.

Wintersaga

Zimmer wrote the instrumental score for the film, but his only writing credit on any of the songs is "Boom Shakalaka!". All of the songs, including this one, were written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.

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