Scots Sangs An Tunes Fur Schools

Traditional and new Scots songs and tunes
for use in Scottish schools - and everywhere else

Fisherman's Dream

What happened to the fisherman’s dream

When they rode that last boat down,

What happened to the fisherman’s dream

When it cast your last net round.


What happened to the fisherman’s love

When it drove him over the hill,

What happened to the fisherman’s dream

When they laid him in the ground.


Tell me did it fade away

Did it fade on down to the ocean,

Did it fade away,

Did it fade on down to the sea.


What happened to the fisherman’s love

Was it nowhere to be found

What happened to the love of the fisherman

When it drove that last nail down


Tell me did it fade away

Did it fade on down to the ocean

Tell me did it fade away

Did it fade on down to the sea

To the ocean and the sea.


John Martyn was born in Glasgow as Ian McGeachy, and was initially encouraged as a performer by Hamish Imlach. When Ian went down to London folk club organisers found his name difficult to remember, so he changed it.

John Martyn became a superb guitarist, employing clever technology to create a unique guitar voice. He sometimes used his singing voice more as an innovative instrument than as a vehicle for his lyrics. His classic rock album Solid Air is regularly voted one of the greatest recordings of all time.

Elements of the arrangement of this song include a keyboard synthesiser, a rock beat on synthetic drums, a last chorus fade out, a backing chorus, Baptist-style church singing – high female voices, and the male vocalist. Martyn described Fisherman’s Dream as his first hymn. He had wanted to feature ten women from a Scottish choir on the track, but that did not work out in the studio.

For more about John Martyn, go to www.johnmartyn.com or read Some People are Crazy by John Neil Munro, 2007.

Other singers who came out of the Scottish folk scene and became successful in pop music and as actors include Billy Connolly and Barbara Dickson.