Song Saturday: “Sailin’ On”

For this week’s Song Saturday, we’re looking back at No Doubt’s cherished cover of Bad Brains’ “Sailin’ On”. No Doubt’s version of the song was recorded and released originally for MOM: Music for Our Mother Ocean volume one compilation and again later included on their B-sides and rarities collection.

Hardcore-punk reggae-rockers Bad Brains released their debut self-titled album in February 1982 that features “Sailin’ On” as the lead-in track. The song was written by bassist Darryl Jenifer and guitarist Gary ‘Dr. Know’ Miller. Gwen has shared over the years how the band has always been influenced by Bad Brains.

No Doubt recorded their take on “Sailin’ Live” in 1996 and was released on the MOM: Music for Our Mother Ocean compilation benefiting the Surfrider Foundation. The band approached Surfrider and wanted to be included and took a day to record the song. Gwen said in a studio clip that aired on MTV, “I think sometimes when you’re just one lonely loser and you feel like you can’t do much, but I think No Doubt, as a group, can make music, and you can appreciate it, and then we can save the oceans”. The album received positive reviews and “Sailin’ On” was a standout track on the compilation.


(36:20)


(49:20)

The band took a slower approach to the song and recorded a reggae version of “Sailin’ On” versus the original punk sound. No Doubt incorporated the song into most of the Tragic Kingdom tour and even gave the song it’s own spotlight during acoustic radio sessions and television performances. While on the tour, the band played around with the tempos and performed the “fast version” of the song (much like the original) and then slowed it down to their style for the ending. It became a fan favorite on tour and was often requested during the Return of Saturn US tour. No Doubt often intertwined “Sailin’ On” with “Total Hate” over the years.

No Doubt later released “Sailin’ On” on their raities and B-sides album, Everything In Time, in 2003.

Lyrics

Ooh…

You don’t want me anymore
So I walk out of the door
I play the game right from the start
I trust you, you use me, now my life’s all torn apart

So I’m sailing, yeah I’m sailing on
I’m moving, yeah I’m moving on
Sail on sail on sail on sail on – aaaaah

Tried to see if I’ll give up
But there wasn’t any luck
It’s a fact, a fact of life
That’s the game, game of strife everything is all in stride

So I’m sailing, I’m sailing on
I’m moving, yeah I’m moving on
Sail on sail on sail on sail on – aaaaah

Yeah

So I’m sailing, yeah I’m sailing on
I’m moving, yeah I’m moving on
Sail on sail on sail on sail on – aaaaah

Yeah la la la
La la la
La la la

Too many years with too many tears
And too many days with none to say
So how will we know when there’s nowhere to grow?
The fact of life, life too short, oh

There’s too many years with too many tears
There’s too many days with none to say no no
So how will we know when there’s nowhere to grow?
The fact of life, the fact of life yeah

Too many years with too many tears
And too many days with none to say
So how will we know when there’s nowhere to grow
The fact of life, life too short oh oh…

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