The Waterboys are a British-Irish band that formed in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1983. Led by singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mike Scott, the band has undergone numerous lineup changes over the years but has always maintained a distinctive sound that blends elements of rock, folk, and Celtic music.
The Waterboys’ early albums, including “The Waterboys” (1983) and “A Pagan Place” (1984), featured a more traditional folk rock sound with acoustic guitars, mandolins, and fiddles. However, the band’s breakthrough came with the release of “This Is the Sea” in 1985, which featured a more expansive and experimental sound, incorporating elements of soul, gospel, and even spoken word poetry.
The Waterboys’ most famous song, “The Whole of the Moon,” was a hit in the UK and the US in 1985 and remains a beloved classic to this day. The song’s soaring chorus and uplifting lyrics are representative of the band’s signature sound, which often incorporates spiritual and mystical themes.
Over the years, The Waterboys have continued to evolve and experiment with different genres and styles, releasing albums that range from stripped-down acoustic folk to full-blown rock and roll. Mike Scott’s poetic lyrics and passionate performances have remained a constant throughout the band’s career, and his collaborations with other musicians and artists have helped to keep The Waterboys fresh and relevant in the ever-changing landscape of popular music.
1. Fisherman’s Blue
“Fisherman’s Blues” by The Waterboys is a classic folk rock track that was released in 1988. The song features a melodic acoustic guitar, a driving beat, and memorable lyrics that paint a picture of life on the coast. The track is characterized by lead singer Mike Scott’s passionate and soulful vocals, which are backed by a choir of backing vocalists. The song’s evocative lyrics speak to themes of love, loss, and the search for meaning in life. “Fisherman’s Blues” remains one of The Waterboys’ most beloved songs and has become a classic of the folk rock genre.
2. The Whole of The Moon
“The Whole of the Moon” is a soaring and uplifting song by The Waterboys that has become a beloved classic of the 1980s. The song’s anthemic chorus, soaring piano and guitar riffs, and uplifting lyrics capture a sense of awe and wonder at the world’s possibilities. The song’s lyrics, which speak of a person who has seen “the whole of the moon” and experienced life to the fullest, have resonated with listeners around the world and have become a powerful anthem of hope and inspiration. “The Whole of the Moon” is a timeless classic that continues to captivate and inspire listeners today.
3. This is the Sea
“This is the Sea” by The Waterboys is an epic and anthemic track that was released in 1985. The song features a driving beat, soaring guitar riffs, and a powerful chorus that showcases lead singer Mike Scott’s distinctive vocals. The lyrics are poetic and philosophical, with references to the natural world, spiritual quests, and the power of love. The song’s message of hope, courage, and the power of the human spirit has resonated with audiences around the world, and it remains one of The Waterboys’ most popular and enduring songs. “This is the Sea” is a true classic of the alternative rock genre.
4. And a Bang on the Ear
“And a Bang on the Ear” is a lively and infectious folk rock song by The Waterboys that celebrates the joy and unpredictability of love. The song’s upbeat tempo, driving accordion riffs, and lively fiddle melodies create a sense of whimsy and energy that perfectly complement the song’s lyrics, which tell the story of a man reminiscing about his past loves and the adventures they shared. With its catchy hooks and playful lyrics, “And a Bang on the Ear” is a classic example of The Waterboys’ ability to combine traditional folk music with contemporary rock sensibilities, creating a sound that is both timeless and fresh.
5. A Man is in Love
“A Man is in Love” by The Waterboys is a beautiful and heartfelt track that was released in 1990. The song features a melodic acoustic guitar, a gentle piano melody, and Mike Scott’s emotive vocals. The lyrics speak to themes of love, longing, and vulnerability, with Scott expressing his feelings of adoration for a special someone. The track’s delicate and understated instrumentation allows the emotional resonance of the lyrics and Scott’s vocal performance to shine through. “A Man is in Love” is a testament to The Waterboys’ ability to create deeply personal and touching music that speaks to the human experience.
6. Strange Boat
“Strange Boat” is a hauntingly beautiful song by The Waterboys that reflects on the mysteries of life and the search for meaning in a world that can seem confusing and unpredictable. The song’s gentle acoustic guitar and piano melodies, combined with Mike Scott’s evocative vocals, create a sense of melancholy and introspection that is both powerful and poignant. The song’s lyrics speak to the human condition and the search for a deeper understanding of the world and our place in it, making “Strange Boat” a timeless classic that continues to resonate with listeners today.
7. The Soul Singer
“The Soul Singer” by The Waterboys is a soulful and uplifting track that was released in 2019. The song features a catchy and upbeat rhythm, with a horn section and funky guitar riffs. Lead singer Mike Scott’s passionate and powerful vocals are complemented by a gospel choir, which adds to the track’s joyful and celebratory feel. The lyrics speak to themes of hope, redemption, and the transformative power of music, with Scott paying tribute to legendary soul singers like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. “The Soul Singer” is a vibrant and soulful addition to The Waterboys’ catalog of inspiring and uplifting music.
8. We Will Not Be Lovers
“We Will Not Be Lovers” is a soulful and introspective song by The Waterboys that explores the complexities of love and the pain of letting go. The song’s haunting piano and guitar melodies, combined with Mike Scott’s raw and emotional vocals, create a sense of vulnerability and intimacy that is both powerful and moving. The song’s lyrics speak to the universal experience of heartbreak and the struggle to move on from a relationship that has ended. With its emotional depth and soulful sound, “We Will Not Be Lovers” is a classic example of The Waterboys’ ability to create music that is both poetic and deeply resonant.
9. Don’t Bang the Drum
“Don’t Bang the Drum” by The Waterboys is a dynamic and rousing track that was released in 1985. The song features a driving beat, an infectious guitar riff, and a chorus that invites the listener to sing along. The lyrics are poetic and provocative, with references to mythology, spirituality, and social commentary. The track showcases The Waterboys’ ability to create music that is both powerful and thought-provoking, with a sound that blends elements of rock, folk, and punk music. “Don’t Bang the Drum” remains a classic of the alternative rock genre and a testament to The Waterboys’ influence and creativity.
10. World Party
“World Party” by The Waterboys is an upbeat and joyful track that was released in 1989. The song features a catchy and energetic rhythm, with a horn section, piano melody, and memorable chorus. The lyrics are optimistic and celebratory, with references to the diversity and unity of the human family. The track’s infectious energy and positive message have made it a favorite among fans, and it remains a popular and enduring song in The Waterboys’ catalog. “World Party” is a testament to the power of music to bring people together and uplift the human spirit.