Is the Outlander theme song a real song?

Outlander -- Courtesy of STARZ
Outlander -- Courtesy of STARZ /

You know the Skye Boat Song as the Outlander theme song. What is the real song behind the tune we’ve come to know and love?

Something that is asked a lot is whether the Outlander theme song is a real song. When fans of the series find out it is, many are surprised. It’s something they’d never heard of before the series.

You’re probably in the same boat (no pun intended, there!).

Yes, it turns out that the Outlander theme song is a real song. Or at least, it’s based on a real song. The real song is linked to Bonnie Prince Charlie and is known as “The Skye Boat Song.” It’s fitting that it’s this song that was adapted to tell the story of Claire going through the stones.

What is real Outlander theme song?

“The Skye Boat Song” is a traditional song in Scotland, telling the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie, also known as Charles Edward Stuart.

You know BCP from the series and from the books. He led the Jacobite Army in 1745 and 1746 in an attempt to take the crown from the Protestant king, George II. The Jacobites believed that Charles’s father, James, was the rightful heir to the throne. They wanted a Catholic king to wear the crown.

The song itself tells the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie coming over the water to Scotland and the failed Jacobite rebellion. It gets its name from Charles’s escape after the Battle of Culloden when he went to the Isle of Skye.

The adaptation of The Skye Boat Song

To make it the Outlander theme, the song had to be adapted slightly. The lyrics were changed to suit the theme of the show.

While there is the Battle of Culloden eventually, the actual series is more about Claire meeting Jamie. It’s Claire’s story about Jamie. At least, that’s the way the books start.

So, the Outlander theme song was changed to tell Claire’s story through the stones. Sort of. It doesn’t actually mention the stones, but it’s enough to make it clear that this is about a woman leaving her own place for another.

Of course, we know the theme song adapts for every season—and sometimes partway through each season. The original theme has added French and Jamaican sounds to suit the storyline as the Frasers went to other countries. Since in the Colonies, it’s had other elements added, with Season 5 including the choral sound.

Personally, the first season’s theme is always going to win, but I do enjoy the French and Jamaican themes. My least two favorites are the most recent ones.

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