Songs The Very Best Sea Shanties, Ranked  

Ranker Music
1.7k votes 722 voters 29.7k 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
166 56
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Roll the Old Chariot Along David Coffin

2
197 72
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Drunken Sailor Irish Rovers

3
104 38
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Leave Her Johnny Rachel Kay

4
65 19
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Rolling Down to Old Maui The Revels

5
98 43
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Spanish Ladies Sea Shanties

6
54 19
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Haul Away Joe The Eskies

7
75 36
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Blow the Man Down Sheringham Shantymen

8
20 6
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Santianna Penn Pipers

9
38 22
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Haul Boys Haul The Felix Stowaways

10
27 15
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Lowlands Away The Corries

11
20 10
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Old Billy Riley Johnny Collins

12
27 17
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Don’t Forget Your Old Shipmate The Felix Stowaways

13
18 9
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The Bonny Ship the Diamond The Corries

14
20 11
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Mingulay Boat Song Richard Thompson

15
23 14
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Fiddler’s Green The Dubliners

16
21 14
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Cockles and Mussels (Molly Malone) The Dubliners

17
14 8
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Blood Red Roses Sting

18
16 10
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Lowlands Low Bryan Ferry and Antony

19
20 15
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Cape Cod Girls (feat. William Hut) Storm Weather Shanty Choir

20
14 9
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Roll the Wood Pile Down Bellowhead

21
18 13
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Bully in the Alley Three Pruned Men

22
12 8
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Greenland Whale Fisheries The Pogues

23
11 7
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Good Ship Venus Loudon Wainwright III

24
9 5
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Eliza Lee Johnny Collins

25
4 1
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DavidWheatley added Pique la Baleine

26
8 6
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Baltimore Whores Gavin Friday

27
7 5
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Johnny's Gone to Hilo Paul Clayton

28
5 3
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Turkish Revelry Loudon Wainwright III

29
8 7
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Hard on the Beach Oar Johnny Collins

30
8 7
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Dead Horse Robin Holcomb

31
7 6
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Good Ship Venus Loudon Wainwright III

32
5 4
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Rolling Down the Bay to Juliana The Forebitter Men

33
4 4
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The Cruel Ship’s Captain Bryan Ferry

34
4 4
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Pinery Boy Nick Cave

35
3 3
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The Cry of Man Mary Margaret O'Hara

36
2 2
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Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold Andrea Corr

37
7 8
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Fire Down Below Nick Cave

38
6 7
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Coast of High Barbary Joseph Arthur

39
4 5
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Bonnie Portmore Loreena McKennit

40
6 9
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The Wild Goose Kate Rusby

41
5 10
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A Dying Sailor to His Shipmates Bono