Music

The Very Best Sea Shanties, Ranked 

Ranker Music
Updated April 29, 2020 4.1k votes 1.5k voters 61.4k views 44 items

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!

list ordered by
1
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Drunken Sailor Irish Rovers
2
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Roll the Old Chariot Along David Coffin
3
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Leave Her Johnny Rachel Kay
4
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Spanish Ladies Sea Shanties
5
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Rolling Down to Old Maui The Revels
6
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Blow the Man Down Sheringham Shantymen
7
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K. Hs added Randy Dandy​-​Oh The Dreadnoughts
8
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Haul Away Joe The Eskies
9
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Don’t Forget Your Old Shipmate The Felix Stowaways
10
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Lowlands Away The Corries
11
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Mingulay Boat Song Richard Thompson
12
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The Bonny Ship the Diamond The Corries
13
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Old Billy Riley Johnny Collins
14
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Eliza Lee Johnny Collins
15
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Santianna Penn Pipers
16
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Bully in the Alley Three Pruned Men
17
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Fiddler’s Green The Dubliners
18
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Haul Boys Haul The Felix Stowaways
19
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Cockles and Mussels (Molly Malone) The Dubliners
20
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Roll the Wood Pile Down Bellowhead
21
The Downeaster "Ale... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Very Best Sea Shanties, Ranked
John Papajohn added Billy Joel
22
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feroxjb added Barrett's Privateers Stan Rogers
23
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Lowlands Low Bryan Ferry and Antony
24
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Good Ship Venus Loudon Wainwright III
25
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Cape Cod Girls (feat. William Hut) Storm Weather Shanty Choir