songs The Very Best Sea Shanties, Ranked  

Ranker Music
1.3k votes 518 voters 19k views 41 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
128 36
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Roll the Old Chariot Along David Coffin

2
141 45
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Drunken Sailor Irish Rovers

3
71 26
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Leave Her Johnny Rachel Kay

4
77 30
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Spanish Ladies Sea Shanties

5
41 11
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Rolling Down to Old Maui The Revels

6
53 23
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Blow the Man Down Sheringham Shantymen

7
35 13
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Haul Away Joe The Eskies

8
31 17
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Haul Boys Haul The Felix Stowaways

9
23 13
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Don’t Forget Your Old Shipmate The Felix Stowaways

10
18 9
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Fiddler’s Green The Dubliners

11
14 6
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The Bonny Ship the Diamond The Corries

12
16 8
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Lowlands Low Bryan Ferry and Antony

13
16 8
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Mingulay Boat Song Richard Thompson

14
21 13
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Lowlands Away The Corries

The Best Bands Named After Sea Animals

15
12 5
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Blood Red Roses Sting

16
13 6
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Santianna Penn Pipers

17
13 7
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Roll the Wood Pile Down Bellowhead

18
18 12
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Cockles and Mussels (Molly Malone) The Dubliners

19
11 6
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Bully in the Alley Three Pruned Men

20
12 7
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Greenland Whale Fisheries The Pogues

21
19 14
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Cape Cod Girls (feat. William Hut) Storm Weather Shanty Choir

The Greatest White Rappers of All Time

22
11 6
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Good Ship Venus Loudon Wainwright III

23
12 8
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Old Billy Riley Johnny Collins

24
8 5
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Eliza Lee Johnny Collins

25
7 5
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Baltimore Whores Gavin Friday

26
7 5
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Good Ship Venus Loudon Wainwright III

27
5 3
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Turkish Revelry Loudon Wainwright III

28
2 0
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DavidWheatley added Pique la Baleine

11 Famous Sea Songs That Were The 'Hotline Bling' of Pirate Culture

29
7 6
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Hard on the Beach Oar Johnny Collins

30
6 5
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Johnny's Gone to Hilo Paul Clayton

31
6 6
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Dead Horse Robin Holcomb

32
4 4
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Bonnie Portmore Loreena McKennit

33
4 4
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The Cruel Ship’s Captain Bryan Ferry

34
3 3
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The Cry of Man Mary Margaret O'Hara

35
3 3
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Rolling Down the Bay to Juliana The Forebitter Men

36
2 2
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Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold Andrea Corr

37
3 4
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Pinery Boy Nick Cave

38
6 8
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Fire Down Below Nick Cave

39
5 7
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Coast of High Barbary Joseph Arthur

40
6 9
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The Wild Goose Kate Rusby

41
4 9
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A Dying Sailor to His Shipmates Bono