I sailed an ocean, unsettled ocean
Through restful waters and deep commotion
Often frightened, unenlightened
Sail on, sail on sailor

I wrest the waters, fight Neptune's waters
Sail through the sorrows of life's marauders
Unrepenting, often empty
Sail on, sail on sailor

Caught like a sewer rat alone but I sail
Bought like a crust of bread, but oh do I wail

Seldom stumble, never crumble
Try to tumble, life's a rumble
Feel the stinging I've been given
Never ending, unrelenting
Heartbreak searing, always fearing
Never caring, persevering
Sail on, sail on, sailor

I work the seaways, the gale-swept seaways
Past shipwrecked daughters of wicked waters
Uninspired, drenched and tired
Wail on, wail on, sailor

Always needing, even bleeding
Never feeding all my feelings
Damn the thunder, must I blunder
There's no wonder all I'm under
Stop the crying and the lying
And the sighing and my dying

Sail on, sail on sailor
Sail on, sail on sailor
Sail on, sail on sailor
Sail on, sail on sailor
Sail on, sail on sailor
Sail on, sail on sailor
Sail on, sail on sailor

Lyrics submitted by Bobo192

Sail on, Sailor Lyrics as written by Jack Rieley Brian Douglas Wilson

Lyrics © Wixen Music Publishing, BMG Rights Management, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Sail On Sailor song meanings
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  • +2
    My Interpretation

    This song is Beach Boys at their very best. Every knew they are always good but greatness is the category they have always belonged in.

    The song tells the story Brian's demons and how he managed despite set backs and issues we all face at times. The lyrics are just phenomenal. The ebb flow off life both good and bad. Take it for what it is worth move on.

    jakec8ton February 20, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Brilliant. Fantastic.

    something_beautifulon February 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Amazingly honest lyrics; it was all vogue to write about being enlightened and above it all. It's good to hear a song that just says, "Life is hard, but it's hell when you're dumb!" (As Deacon Lunchbox used to say (RIP)).

    The saving grace is that, at least, the narrator seems to be in a good starting place. We hope that the ship leads somewhere beautiful, for him and for all us. God Bless Us, Everyone!

    razajacon July 12, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment


    GAGAUMPAon October 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song Fact

    While the second line always appears in writing and is sung as "restful" conceptually or semantically that doesn't make sense. A word that does make sense there is "restive" which means restless or 'difficult to control'. Restive is probably harder to sing, and many people misunderstand the word's meaning, not realizing a near synonym is restless. But, clearly, the water being described is tumultuous and even dangerous not calm and quiet.

    nic1037310on May 02, 2021   Link

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