Tunefind’s tv songs chart is topped by the folk rock sound of The Waterboys after their song ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ is featured on Showtime’s Ray Donovan.
‘Fisherman’s Blues’ closes out the third episode of Ray Donovan’s seventh season, playing over the emotional final scenes and end credits. Tunefind checked in with music supervisor Nora Felder (Stranger Things, The OA, Better Things) about this placement. [Nora has the distinction of being the very first music supervisor active on Tunefind. She joined the site over 13 years ago when her show Californication was one of the most popular shows on Tunefind.]
“I’ve always hoped to be able to find a story to align this uber special timeless song with,” shared Felder about The Waterboys’ classic. “Bucket List checked!!”
The title track from The Waterboys’ fourth studio album, ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ was released in December 1988 and reached no. 3 on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, no. 13 in Ireland, and no. 32 in the UK. The chords were written on a flight from New York to London after The Waterboys’ 1985 North American tour. ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ was recorded at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin in 1986 and the third verse, as well as most of the music was written in the studio. Some of the lyrics were inspired by a poem from English-American poet, W.H. Auden called ‘The Night Mail.’
The Waterboys was formed by Scottish musician Mike Scott in 1983. Scott chose the band name from a line from ‘The Kids’ by Lou Reed from his album, Berlin. While Scott has been the only permanent member of the band, he also pursued a solo career over the years. He describes the two as “no different,” maintaining the continuity of his inspirations and sound alone or with his current music companions. For ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ the band consisted of Mike Scott (vocals/guitar), Steve Wickham (fiddle), Anthony Thistlethwaite (mandolin), Trevor Hutchinson (bass) and Peter McKinney (drums).
Steve Wickham had a strong impact on the band’s sound, heavily influencing the tone for ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ through his fiddle playing. Influences for The Waterboys have been cited as Patti Smith, Bob Dylan and David Bowie, while their sound has been compared to Van Morrison and U2.
‘Fisherman’s Blues’ was previously used in movie soundtracks including Good Will Hunting and Waking Ned Devine. In the 2013 film, Dom Hemingway, actress Emilia Clarke even performs a cover version of the song.
〉Listen now: Fisherman’s Blues by The Waterboys
〉More music by The Waterboys
〉Full list of songs featured in the Ray Donovan soundtrack