Wooden Ships

Crosby, Stills & Nash

About Wooden Ships

"Wooden Ships" is a song written and composed by David Crosby, Paul Kantner, and Stephen Stills, of which versions were eventually recorded both by Crosby, Stills & Nash and by Jefferson Airplane; Kantner was a founding member of the latter group. It was written and composed in 1968 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on a boat named the Mayan, owned by Crosby, who composed the music, while Kantner and Stills wrote most of the lyrics.


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If you smile at me, I will understand
'Cause that is something 
Everybody everywhere does in the same language

I can see by your coat, my friend
You're from the other side
There's just one thing I got to know
Can you tell me please, who won?

Say, can I have some of your purple berries?
Yes, I've been eating them for six or seven weeks now
Haven't got sick once
Probably keep us both alive

Wooden ships on the water, very free and easy
Easy, you know the way it's supposed to be
Silver people on the shoreline, let us be
Talkin' 'bout very free and easy

Horror grips us as we watch you die
All we can do is echo your anguished cries
Stare as all human feelings die
We are leaving, you don't need us

Go, take your sister then, by the hand
Lead her away from this foreign land
Far away, where we might laugh again
We are leaving, you don't need us

And it's a fair wind blowin' warm
Out of the south over my shoulder
Guess I'll set a course and go

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Crosby, Stills & Nash

Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) was a folk rock supergroup made up of American singer-songwriters David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and English singer-songwriter Graham Nash. When joined by Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young as a fourth member, they were called Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY). They are noted for their intricate vocal harmonies and lasting influence on American music and culture, as well as their political activism and often tumultuous interpersonal relationships. CSN formed in 1968 shortly after Crosby, Stills and Nash performed together informally in July of that year, discovering they harmonized well. Crosby had been asked to leave the Byrds in late 1967, Stills' band Buffalo Springfield had broken up in early 1968, and Nash left his band t… more »

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Written by: David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Paul Kantner

Lyrics © Wixen Music Publishing, BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

10 facts about this song

"Wooden Ships" is a folk rock song by Crosby, Stills & Nash, co-written by David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Jefferson Airplane member Paul Kantner. Interestingly, in the US, the song couldn't be credited to all authors because of contractual agreements.
Released Date
The song was released in 1969 on the group’s eponymous debut album, "Crosby, Stills & Nash."
Popular Versions
Two versions of the song were recorded and released in 1969, one by Crosby, Stills & Nash, and another by Jefferson Airplane.
The song is a protest to the Vietnam War although in a very abstract way. It depicts aftermath of a nuclear war.
Rather than a traditional verse-chorus structure, the song's lyrics are arranged in a form resembling a series of letters or dispatches.
Notable Performance
"Wooden Ships" was one of the songs that Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young performed at their notable appearance at the Woodstock Festival in 1969.
Grammy Nominee
The song was nominated for a Grammy award under the category "Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices" in 1970.
Chart Performance
The version by Crosby, Stills & Nash reached number 5 on the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S. Jefferson Airplane's version was not as successful, reaching only number 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Live Performances
The song has been performed live many times over the years, both by the original artists and by other musicians.
Cultural Impact
Despite its controversial theme of a post-apocalyptic world, "Wooden Ships" has become a beloved classic rock staple that has been covered by numerous artists and continues to resonate with audiences.

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    "Wooden Ships Lyrics." Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 9 Dec. 2023. <https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/14615207/Crosby%2C+Stills+%26+Nash/Wooden+Ships>.

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