Songs The Very Best Sea Shanties, Ranked  

Ranker Music
1.5k votes 635 voters 25.9k 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!

1
175 59
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Drunken Sailor Irish Rovers

2
148 47
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Roll the Old Chariot Along David Coffin

3
57 13
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Rolling Down to Old Maui The Revels

4
90 35
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Leave Her Johnny Rachel Kay

5
85 35
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Spanish Ladies Sea Shanties

6
46 15
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Haul Away Joe The Eskies

7
62 31
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Blow the Man Down Sheringham Shantymen

8
32 18
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Haul Boys Haul The Felix Stowaways

9
22 11
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Fiddler’s Green The Dubliners

10
25 14
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Don’t Forget Your Old Shipmate The Felix Stowaways

11
23 13
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Lowlands Away The Corries

12
16 7
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The Bonny Ship the Diamond The Corries

13
17 8
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Old Billy Riley Johnny Collins

14
18 9
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Mingulay Boat Song Richard Thompson

15
13 5
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Blood Red Roses Sting

16
14 6
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Santianna Penn Pipers

17
15 7
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Bully in the Alley Three Pruned Men

18
16 8
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Lowlands Low Bryan Ferry and Antony

19
19 12
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Cockles and Mussels (Molly Malone) The Dubliners

20
19 14
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Cape Cod Girls (feat. William Hut) Storm Weather Shanty Choir

21
12 7
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Greenland Whale Fisheries The Pogues

22
13 8
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Roll the Wood Pile Down Bellowhead

23
11 6
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Good Ship Venus Loudon Wainwright III

24
8 5
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Eliza Lee Johnny Collins

25
8 5
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Baltimore Whores Gavin Friday

26
3 0
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DavidWheatley added Pique la Baleine

27
7 5
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Good Ship Venus Loudon Wainwright III

28
7 5
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Johnny's Gone to Hilo Paul Clayton

29
5 3
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Turkish Revelry Loudon Wainwright III

30
8 7
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Dead Horse Robin Holcomb

31
4 3
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Rolling Down the Bay to Juliana The Forebitter Men

32
7 7
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Hard on the Beach Oar Johnny Collins

33
4 4
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Pinery Boy Nick Cave

34
4 4
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The Cruel Ship’s Captain Bryan Ferry

35
4 4
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Bonnie Portmore Loreena McKennit

36
3 3
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The Cry of Man Mary Margaret O'Hara

37
2 2
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Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold Andrea Corr

38
7 8
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Fire Down Below Nick Cave

39
6 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