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!
Drunken SailorIrish Rovers
Roll the Old Chariot AlongDavid Coffin
Rolling Down to Old MauiThe Revels
Leave Her JohnnyRachel Kay
Spanish LadiesSea Shanties
Haul Away JoeThe Eskies
Blow the Man DownSheringham Shantymen
Haul Boys HaulThe Felix Stowaways
Fiddler’s GreenThe Dubliners
Don’t Forget Your Old ShipmateThe Felix Stowaways
Lowlands AwayThe Corries
The Bonny Ship the DiamondThe Corries
Old Billy RileyJohnny Collins
Mingulay Boat SongRichard Thompson
Blood Red RosesSting
Bully in the AlleyThree Pruned Men
Lowlands LowBryan Ferry and Antony
Cockles and Mussels (Molly Malone)The Dubliners
Cape Cod Girls (feat. William Hut)Storm Weather Shanty Choir