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Hoist the Colours (song)

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This article is about the pirate song Hoist the Colours. You may be looking for the soundtrack cue or the term.
AWEHangingpiratessinging
Pirates at Fort Charles singing Hoist the Colours.
J FanAdded by J Fan
"The song has already been sung. The Brethren Court is called."
Tia Dalma to Jack Sparrow[src]

Hoist the Colours, sometimes written as Hoist the Colors, was a sea shanty known by all pirates across the Seven Seas. The song was related to the action of hoisting of a pirate's flag, though it was mainly used as a call to arms for the members of the Brethren Court.

History

Usage

"A dangerous song to be singing...for any who are ignorant of its meaning."
Tai Huang to Elizabeth Swann[src]

The song Hoist the Colours told the tale of the binding of Calypso by the Pirate King and the First Brethren Court. It was also used as the method of summoning the Court to stand together in the pirates' most dire need. It was sent forth by Hector Barbossa, who intended to unite the Pirate Lords and release Calypso from her form of flesh.[1]

Fourth Brethren Court

"The song has been sung. The time is upon us. We must convene the Brethren Court."
Hector Barbossa to Sao Feng[src]

The song was sung by assembled men and women sentenced for execution by the East India Trading Company at Fort Charles in Port Royal, after a cabin boy, facing the gallows, began singing the song while holding a piece of eight. The entire assembly soon took up the cue. The song was connected to the nine pieces of eight. Once the crowd had sung, the nine coins begin resonating. Sao Feng heard the resonance in a coin given to him by Hector Barbossa in Singapore, and the entire members of the Fourth Brethren Court united at Shipwreck Cove because of it.[2]

Lyrics

Yo, Ho haul together, hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die
Yo, Ho haul together, hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die
The King and his men stole the queen from her bed
and bound her in her bones
The seas be ours and by the powers
Where we will...we'll roam
Yo, Ho haul together, hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never say we die
Some men have died and some are alive
And others sail on the sea
With the keys to the cage
And the devil to pay
We lay to Fiddler's Green!
Yo, Ho haul together, hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die
The bell has been raised from its watery grave
Do you hear its sepulchral tone?
A Call to all, pay heed to the squall
And turn your sail towards home!
Yo, Ho haul together, hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die

Other lyrics

There are different versions of this song, some including the different writings of "colors" and "colours". Others by changing a lyric or two in each, in which several examples stand out.

This small piece was used at the beginning of At World's End:

Yo ho, all hands, hoist the colors high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die

This small piece was sung at the beginning of a featurette for At World's End[3]:

Yo ho, all hands, raise the colors high
Heave ho, thieves and beggers, never say we die

This small piece was used in the original lyrics[4]:

Yo ho, haul together, raise the colors high
Heave ho, thieves and beggers, never say we die

Behind the scenes

"The one that was really interesting is the Snopes legend. You know the Web site Snopes has that section about 'fake true American legends.' One of them is the idea that the four and twenty blackbirds baked into a pie was Blackbeard's recruiting song. When Blackbeard came into port, these people would go around and sing this song when he was looking for a crew. It was just such a fun idea and it's a shame it's not true, so we decided to make it true and the song 'Hoist the Colors,' sung at the beginning and Keira sings it and it's referenced in a couple of ways, every one of the verses tells the story of Davy Jones and Calypso. It starts with 'the king and his men stole the queen from her bed'... We sat down and wrote that out and it's based on a fake legend from the Snopes Web site."
Ted Elliott[src]
AWEHoisttheColorslyrics
Original Hoist the Colors lyrics
J FanAdded by J Fan
  • The lyrics were written by Pirates screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, with the assistance of director Gore Verbinski. Sung in the beginning of At World's End, the song was referenced in a couple of ways, every one of the verses told the story of Davy Jones and Calypso; starting with "the king and his men stole the queen from her bed," the song also relayed the First Brethren Court.[5]
  • The main title of the song is controversial, in which either "colors" or "colours" were used. In the At World's End soundtrack and various other material, "colours" is used. While in the original song lyrics and the subtitles to the film itself, had the term written as "colors".
  • The song was inspired by the Snopes legend, claiming that the children's nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence" was used by confederates of the notorious pirate Blackbeard as a coded reference to recruit crew members.[6] Although the information from Snopes itself is false,[7] Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio liked the idea enough to create Hoist the Colors, basing it on the fake legend.[5]

Appearances

Sources

Notes and references

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