Songs The Very Best Sea Shanties, Ranked  

Ranker Music
1.9k votes 832 voters 33.9k 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
233 79
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Drunken Sailor Irish Rovers

2
188 61
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Roll the Old Chariot Along David Coffin

3
79 22
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Rolling Down to Old Maui The Revels

4
116 46
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Leave Her Johnny Rachel Kay

5
109 49
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Spanish Ladies Sea Shanties

6
61 21
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Haul Away Joe The Eskies

7
85 42
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Blow the Man Down Sheringham Shantymen

8
23 8
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Santianna Penn Pipers

9
39 22
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Haul Boys Haul The Felix Stowaways

10
25 12
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Mingulay Boat Song Richard Thompson

11
29 16
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Lowlands Away The Corries

12
20 9
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The Bonny Ship the Diamond The Corries

13
25 14
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Fiddler’s Green The Dubliners

14
30 19
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Don’t Forget Your Old Shipmate The Felix Stowaways

15
23 13
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Bully in the Alley Three Pruned Men

16
24 14
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Cockles and Mussels (Molly Malone) The Dubliners

17
19 11
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Lowlands Low Bryan Ferry and Antony

18
20 12
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Old Billy Riley Johnny Collins

19
15 8
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Greenland Whale Fisheries The Pogues

20
11 5
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Eliza Lee Johnny Collins

21
16 10
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Roll the Wood Pile Down Bellowhead

22
14 9
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Blood Red Roses Sting

23
21 16
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Cape Cod Girls (feat. William Hut) Storm Weather Shanty Choir

24
13 8
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Good Ship Venus Loudon Wainwright III

25
9 6
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Baltimore Whores Gavin Friday

26
4 1
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DavidWheatley added Pique la Baleine

27
9 7
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Hard on the Beach Oar Johnny Collins

28
8 6
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Good Ship Venus Loudon Wainwright III

29
7 5
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Johnny's Gone to Hilo Paul Clayton

30
6 4
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Rolling Down the Bay to Juliana The Forebitter Men

31
9 8
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Dead Horse Robin Holcomb

32
5 4
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Turkish Revelry Loudon Wainwright III

33
3 2
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Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold Andrea Corr

34
9 9
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Fire Down Below Nick Cave

35
5 5
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Bonnie Portmore Loreena McKennit

36
4 4
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The Cruel Ship’s Captain Bryan Ferry

37
8 9
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The Wild Goose Kate Rusby

38
6 7
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Coast of High Barbary Joseph Arthur

39
4 5
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Pinery Boy Nick Cave

40
3 4
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The Cry of Man Mary Margaret O'Hara

41
6 10
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A Dying Sailor to His Shipmates Bono