Music

The Very Best Sea Shanties, Ranked

The rolling waves, the crisp salt air, the sense of adventure: there's just something about the ocean that inspires music. Sea shanty songs are traditionally belted out by sailors, hard at work on the open seas on ships and boats. Some of the top sea shanty songs of all time are listed here, so be sure to check out all the videos, learn the lyrics, and sing along.

Typically, a true sea shanty (or chanty, as it is sometimes called) is sung as a team. And yes, a vast majority of famous sea shanty songs were performed by men. Keep in mind, many of these top sea shanties are hundreds of years old, passed down through generations. Good sea shanties like “Blow the Man Down” and “Drunken Sailor” have been belted out with great gusto and harmony for as long as anyone can remember. Many of the best sea shanties included here are filled with rhythmic repetition. They are fun to sing, and that’s exactly the point. The best sea shanty songs are designed to motivate seafarers as they go about their often difficult, physical labor on the open waters.

Enjoy this sea shanty songs list, and be sure to vote for your favorites. Then, kick back with a bottle of rum and sing along!

Photo:
list ordered by
  • Barrett's Privateers
    1

    Barrett's Privateers

  • Randy Dandy​-​Oh
    2

    Randy Dandy​-​Oh

  • Drunken Sailor
    3

    Drunken Sailor

  • Leave Her Johnny
    4

    Leave Her Johnny

  • Rolling Down to Old Maui
    5

    Rolling Down to Old Maui

  • Roll the Old Chariot Along
    6

    Roll the Old Chariot Along

  • Haul Away Joe
    7

    Haul Away Joe

  • Santianna
    8

    Santianna

  • Spanish Ladies
    9

    Spanish Ladies

  • Blow the Man Down
    10

    Blow the Man Down

  • Don’t Forget Your Old Shipmate
    11

    Don’t Forget Your Old Shipmate

  • The Bonny Ship the Diamond
    12

    The Bonny Ship the Diamond

  • Lowlands Away
    13

    Lowlands Away

  • Bully in the Alley
    14

    Bully in the Alley

  • Eliza Lee
    15

    Eliza Lee

  • Old Billy Riley
    16

    Old Billy Riley

  • Cockles and Mussels (Molly Malone)
    17

    Cockles and Mussels (Molly Malone)

  • Fiddler’s Green
    18

    Fiddler’s Green

  • Roll the Wood Pile Down
    19

    Roll the Wood Pile Down

  • Mingulay Boat Song
    20

    Mingulay Boat Song

  • Coast of High Barbary
    21

    Coast of High Barbary

  • Haul Boys Haul
    22

    Haul Boys Haul

  • Blood Red Roses
    23

    Blood Red Roses

  • Greenland Whale Fisheries
    25

    Greenland Whale Fisheries