Pop Archives

Glen Ingram With The Hi-Five - Skye Boat Song (1966)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
Australia Australia
#6 Sydney #9 Melbourne #9 Brisbane #3 Adelaide #1 Perth

Single on Clarion by Perth band, July 1966, vocals by Glen Ingram, a double-sided hit in Perth with the B-side Long Time Gone. On the NZ Festival single the A- and B-sides were reversed.

Co-charted in Sydney from November 1966 with version by Peter Nelson & the Castaways.

This is an upbeat r&b arrangement of the old music teachers’ favourite, somewhat reminiscent of the Tom Jones version.

Glen Ingram later sang with Perth band The Clan, recording as Glen Ingram With The Clan for an EP on Clarion that included a further version of Skye Boat Song. They charted with another track on Clarion, Take This Hammer (1967, #12 Perth) [YouTube], a traditional American work song.

Ingram also released a solo single, a version of Marvin Gaye’s 1965 record I’ll Be Doggone (1967) [YouTube].

Glen Ingram now lives in regional Western Australia (2019). He is known in his community for his award-winning artwork.

Not to be confused with the Queensland zoologist and canetoad expert Dr Glen Ingram. The 1960s Western Australian singer is a different Glen Ingram.

Singer, guitarist and songwriter Terry Walker, the other Hi-Five vocalist, wrote and sang Long Time Gone [YouTube]. The artist’s name for that side of the record is Terry Walker With The Hi-Five. He was also in The Times (see Tender Feeling, Just Another Guy and Every Window In The City), The Clan (see below), and The Strangers (see Happy Without You). He sang on Pastoral Symphony’s Love Machine, and his vocals are on the rare psychedelic single Even Stevens / Hypnotic Suggestion by studio band The Vegetable Garden (1969).

References: 1. Ian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of AustralianRock and Pop (1999), p.318. 2. David Johnston, The Music Goes Round My Head (2010), p.167.

Thanks to The Vinyl Junkie (via 45cat.com) for disambiguation. Thanks to Geoff Wood for correction and clarification. 

Suggestion from Terry Stacey.

Peter Nelson & The Castaways - Skye Boat Song (1966)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
Australia and New ZealandAustralia and New Zealand Australia and New Zealand
#6 Sydney

September 1966 (Australia)
April 1967 (New Zealand)

Co-charted in Sydney with version by Glen Ingram & the Hi-Five. The two versions entered the Sydney charts together in November 1966.

Single on HMV by Christchurch NZ band, later known simply as The Castaways. Late in 1966 The Castaways left for Australia where they stayed until 1968. 

This was the B-side of Goin’ Out Of My Mind, a George VandaStevie Wright composition first released by The Easybeats in November 1966 on their album Volume 3.

See also Baby Can I Take You Home (1965).

Further reading: Castaways page at Bruce Sergent’s NZ music site.

Glen Ingram With The Clan - Skye Boat Song (1966)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
Australia Australia
Later version

Track on Clarion EP Skye Boat Song by Perth band formed 1966, with several line-up changes until it broke up in 1969. Glen Ingram had earlier sung on a hit version of Skye Boat Song, also in 1966 (see Glen Ingram With The Hi-Five, above).

At this stage, Terry Walker, also from The Hi-Five, was in The Clan on guitar.

The band released a further single on Clarion (1968) as simply The Clan.

Reference: 1. Murray Gracie & John Mills (eds), Jive, Twist and Stomp, WA Rock & Roll Bands of the 50s and 60s (2010).

Tom Jones - Skye Boat Song (1965)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
Influential version

On 1965 Decca album Along Came Jones.

Elements of the vocal styling and arrangement appear to have been taken on board by some of the locals Down Under. Tom Jones performed it in Australia in 1965. 

Thanks to David Murr and Chas Lane for version alert.

King Size Taylor & The Dominoes - Sky Boat Song

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
Germany Germany

1963 or 1964

Live track (spelt Sky Boat Song) later released, for example, on Bear Family CD set Die Ariola Star-Club Aufnahmen.

Merseyside group formed in 1957 who often worked in Europe, including Hamburg where Ted “Kingsize” Taylor hometaped The Beatles at the Star Club. Cilla Black often appeared as vocalist with the Dominoes.

See also: Stupidity.

Further reading: More details of the band from British Beat Boom [archived page].

Thanks to Terry Stacey for version alert.

Rod Stone - Skye Boat (1962)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
New Zealand New Zealand

Single on Lexian. The title is simply Skye Boat.

Lexian: NZ label, active in the early 1960s. Owned by Alex Jennings (Discogs.com).

Instrumental version in the style of The Shadows, conceived and arranged by the 17-year-old guitarist Rod Stone, future member of top New Zealand band The Librettos. After relocating to Australia with The Librettos, Rod Stone joined Normie Rowe’s band The Playboys, bound for London (see Normie Rowe’s Ooh La La). Rod was later guitarist with popular Australian band The Groove. See Rod’s biography at his website.

Thanks to Rod Stone for background and to Bill Casey for version alert.

Tom Bryce - Skye Boat Song (1899)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
Original version?

The consensus is that this is the first recording and release of Skye Boat Song.

On flat disc issued by The Gramophone Company, a British subsidiary of the American company founded by gramophone and disc inventor Emile Berliner. It was probably recorded 20-23 September 1898, in London, where Berliner’s associates had studios at 31 Maiden Lane, 1898-1900.

The company sold the discs and the machines to play them on. Initially called Berliner’s Gramophone Company after its American parent, it began using the His Master’s Voice brand name and logo on its discs from 1910, and in 1931 merged with The Columbia Graphophone Company to form the major British music company EMI.

Standard (London) 27 July 1898, p.1

References1. Brian Rust on history of British Berliner, with discography, Talking Machine Review 63-64, Autumn 1981. He lists a batch of Tom Bryce records, 2045-2064 (all but one recorded 20-23 Sept 1898) but has a blank next to 2048, now known to be Skye Boat Song. A page from a contemporary Gramophone Company catalogue, reproduced here, fills in that gap. In fact, Rust notes that these earliest Berliner (Britain) numbers 500-9274 are catalogue numbers assigned later without regard to chronological order, as no matrix numbers were assigned when the records were pressed. They were organised into groups, with the 2000 run denoting male performers. 2. Peter Stone’s discussion of Gramophone Company-Berliner-HMV records from 78-records.com [archived page].

See the excellent Joop’s Musical Flowers for Skye Boat Song’s history, as well as label shots of some other early recordings, including Mr. Andrew Black (1904), P.A. Hope (1911), and Alexander MacGregor (1924).

For other recordings of Skye Boat Song, see the lists at The Originals, Cover.info and SecondhandSongs. I have listed only a selection on this page.

Manchester Guardian 31 January 1910, p.1

[Published manuscript] - Skye Boat Song (1884)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
Original version: published work

Lyrics by Sir Harold Boulton, melody by Miss Annie MacLeod, apparently based in part on a traditional Gaelic sea shanty or rowing measure Cuachag nan Craobh (The Cuckoo in the Grove). Original arrangement by Malcolm Lawson.

Published in Songs of the North by Boulton and MacLeod, London, 1884. 

The song is about the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie to the Isle of Skye after his defeat on Culloden Moor in 1746. See, for example, notes at the Contemplator website of Lesley Nelson.

Larry’s Rebels - Skye Boat Song (1967)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
New Zealand New Zealand
Later version

Track on LP A Study In Black YouTube by popular band from Ponsonby in Auckland, often in the New Zealand Top 10 in the late 60s. Vocalist Larry Morris later went solo and had six singles on the NZ charts 1969-1983.

For more on Larry's Rebels see, for example, Painter Man (1967), one of their NZ hits. See also The Rebels.

Roger Whittaker - Skye Boat Song (1968)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
UK and FranceUK and France UK and France
Later version

B-side on Columbia by popular Kenyan-born British singer mainly resident in England and later in France.

The label credits arranger Malcom Lawson, as on early sheet music where Lawson’s name replaced co-writer MacLeod’s name (see Joop’s Musical Flowers, opening paragraphs and image).

This track was recorded in the UK, but it was also added to three songs recorded in France on an Impact EP, Quel monde merveilleux (France, 1968).

See below for a further, charting version of Skye Boat Song by Whittaker with Des O’Connor (1989).

Merci à Philippe

The Atlantic Crossing Drum & Pipe Band - Skye Boat Song (1976)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
Later version
#39 Adelaide

Released 1996.

Single on Riva [YouTube].

Arrangement and vocals by Rod Stewart, recorded during sessions for Atlantic Crossing. Two versions were recorded, both included on a CD ‘de luxe’ version of the album (1996). 

Steve Hackett - Skye Boat Song (1983)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
Later version

Instrumental verson in a classical vein [YouTube] by Steve Hackett, former Genesis guitarist, on the 1983 album Bay Of Kings (reviewed by Robin Platts at All Music Guide).

Thanks to Matt West.

Roger Whittaker & Des O’Connor - Skye Boat Song (1986)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
Later version
#10 UK

Kenyan-born balladeer/whistler Whittaker teams up with British song-and-dance man and TV personality O’Connor [YouTube.]

Whittaker had already released a solo version of this on a single in 1968 (see above).

Van Morrison - Skye Boat Song (2017)

(Harold Boulton - Annie MacLeod)
Later version

On 2017 album Versatile [YouTube].