The Most Popular Folk Song: Ranking the Favorites

Choose the folk song you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 18, 2024 07:06
Step into the timeless world of melodies and stories as we invite you to participate in our latest ranking event, "What is the most popular folk song?" Here at StrawPoll, we strive to celebrate the rich tapestry of cultures and traditions that folk music offers, and now, it's time for you to have your say! Join thousands of fellow music enthusiasts as we embark on a melodious journey to discover the most beloved folk songs that have captured hearts and minds across generations. Cast your vote for your favorite tune, or better yet, suggest a hidden gem that's missing from our list. Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity to reminisce and explore the enchanting world of folk music – click through and let your voice be heard!

What Is the Most Popular Folk Song?

  1. 1
    "This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie is a classic American folk song that celebrates the beauty and diversity of the country's landscapes and people.
    This Land Is Your Land is a popular folk song that was written by Woody Guthrie. It has become an unofficial anthem of the United States, often sung as a celebration of American ideals and landscapes. The song was originally recorded in 1944, but has since been covered by numerous artists and has remained a beloved song in American folk music.
    • Year of creation: 1940s
    • Genre: Folk
    • Theme: National unity and inclusiveness
    • Lyric language: English
    • Recorded versions: Numerous cover versions
  2. 2
    "Blowin' in the Wind" by Bob Dylan is a protest song that became an anthem for the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
    "Blowin' in the Wind" by Bob Dylan in other rankings
  3. 3
    "House of the Rising Sun" is a traditional folk song that tells the story of a person's life ruined by gambling and prostitution. It has been covered by numerous artists over the years.
  4. 4
    "Oh! Susanna" by Stephen Foster
    Stephen Foster · Public domain
    "Oh! Susanna" by Stephen Foster is a popular American folk song that was first published in 1848. It has since become a staple of American folk music.
    Oh! Susanna is a popular American folk song written by Stephen Foster in 1848. It is known for its catchy melody and lively, upbeat tempo. The song tells the story of a man traveling to Louisiana to seek his fortune during the California Gold Rush. Oh! Susanna has remained a beloved and widely recognized song in American popular culture.
    • Year of creation: 1848
    • Genre: Folk
    • Melody: Catchy and upbeat
    • Lyrics: Narrates a man's journey to Louisiana during the Gold Rush
    • Historical importance: Considered one of the earliest and most popular songs in American folk music
  5. 5
    "Shenandoah" is a traditional American folk song that tells the story of a riverboatman's love for a woman named Shenandoah. It has been covered by many artists, including Bruce Springsteen.
    Shenandoah is a popular American folk song that originated in the early 19th century. It is often sung as a sea shanty, depicting the scenic beauty and nostalgia associated with the Shenandoah River in Virginia.
    • Genre: Folk
    • Origin: United States
    • Time Period: Early 19th century
    • Lyricist: Unknown
    • Melody: Traditional
  6. 6
    "Danny Boy" is a traditional Irish folk song that has become a symbol of Irish culture and heritage. It has been covered by many artists, including Elvis Presley.
    Danny Boy is a popular Irish folk song that is renowned for its haunting melody and touching lyrics. It is considered one of the most beautiful and beloved Irish songs of all time. The song evokes a sense of longing and nostalgia and has become a symbol of Irish cultural heritage and emotive storytelling.
    • Genre: Irish folk
    • Melody: Haunting and melancholic
    • Lyrics: Touching and sentimental
    • Language: English
    • Cultural Importance: Symbol of Irish heritage
    Danny Boy in other rankings
  7. 7
    Scarborough Fair
    Libby norman · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Scarborough Fair

    "Scarborough Fair" is a traditional English ballad that tells the story of a man trying to win back his lover's affections. It has been covered by many artists, including Simon & Garfunkel.
    Scarborough Fair is a traditional English folk song that dates back to the 17th century. It originated in Scarborough, a seaside town in North Yorkshire, England. The song has endured through time and has been performed and recorded by numerous artists, becoming a well-known and beloved piece of folk music.
    • Genre: Folk
    • Language: English
    • Origin: Scarborough, England
    • Time Period: 17th century
    • Style: Ballad
  8. 8
    "The Water Is Wide" is a traditional Scottish folk song that has been covered by many artists, including James Taylor. It tells the story of a man's unrequited love for a woman.
  9. 9
    "Greensleeves" is a traditional English folk song that dates back to the 16th century. It has been covered by many artists, including Elvis Presley.
    Greensleeves is a traditional English folk song that is widely recognized for its beautiful melody and lyrics. It is a popular tune that has been performed and recorded by numerous artists in various genres.
    • Genre: Folk
    • Language: English
    • Time Signature: 3/4
    • Key: E minor
    • Melody: Complex and haunting
  10. 10
    Amazing Grace
    John Newton · Public domain
    "Amazing Grace" is a Christian hymn that has become a popular folk song. It was written by John Newton in the 18th century and has been covered by many artists, including Aretha Franklin.
    Amazing Grace is a timeless Gospel song that has touched the hearts of millions with its powerful message of redemption and grace. It is considered one of the most beautiful and beloved hymns in the Christian tradition. The song's lyrics express gratitude for God's mercy and forgiveness, and its haunting melody evokes a sense of solace and peace.
    • Lyrics: The song's lyrics are deeply reflective and explore themes of forgiveness, redemption, and the transformative power of God's grace.
    • Melody: The melody of Amazing Grace is simple yet profound, with a gentle and contemplative quality that resonates with listeners.
    • Popularity: Amazing Grace is widely recognized and cherished by people of diverse backgrounds and religious beliefs, making it one of the most universally loved Gospel songs.
    • Historical Significance: The song played a significant role in the abolitionist movement, serving as an anthem of hope and freedom for enslaved African Americans.
    • Authenticity: The emotional honesty and personal testimonial nature of the lyrics have contributed to the enduring popularity and impact of Amazing Grace.
    Amazing Grace in other rankings

Missing your favorite folk song?


Ranking factors for popular folk song

  1. Historical and cultural significance
    Consider the impact of the song and its connections to a specific culture, history, or social movement.
  2. Melody and lyrics
    The attractiveness of the tune and the message conveyed through the lyrics should be memorable and touch the hearts of listeners.
  3. Universality and relatability
    The song should have a universal appeal that transcends age, gender, ethnicity, and national boundaries.
  4. Popularity and influence
    The song should have widespread popularity and influence in its culture, as well as in other countries.
  5. Longevity and endurance
    The song should have stood the test of time, remaining relevant and popular decades after its creation.
  6. Adaptability and reinterpretations
    The song should be adaptable to various musical styles and arrangements, allowing different artists to reinterpret it in unique ways.
  7. Emotional resonance
    The song should have the ability to evoke strong emotions in listeners, evoking a sense of nostalgia or connection to shared experiences.
  8. Musical innovation or distinctiveness
    The song should possess distinctive musical features that set it apart from other songs in the folk genre.
  9. Presence in popular culture
    Consider whether the song is commonly played in movies, television shows, commercials, or in public places, which contributes to its pervasiveness and popularity.
  10. Recognition and awards
    The song should have received accolades or awards for its impact on the music industry or popular culture.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular folk song. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or ballad is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 214 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each ballad once every 24 hours. The rank of each ballad is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular folk song

Folk songs are an essential part of our cultural heritage. These songs have been passed down from generation to generation and have been cherished for their simplicity, beauty, and emotional depth. Folk songs are often associated with a particular region, community or culture and have an intrinsic connection to the customs, traditions, and history of that place. The origins of folk songs can be traced back to ancient times when people would sing and play music to express their feelings, tell stories, and celebrate life's milestones. Over time, these songs evolved and were influenced by different musical styles, cultural practices, and social movements. Today, folk songs continue to be a popular form of music, enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. These songs have become an integral part of our cultural identity and serve as a reminder of our collective history and traditions. So, what is the most popular folk song? With so many great folk songs to choose from, it's hard to pick just one. However, StrawPoll has compiled a list of the top folk songs that have captured the hearts and minds of people around the world. From the haunting melodies of "Scarborough Fair" to the rousing chorus of "This Land is Your Land," these songs continue to inspire and resonate with audiences today.

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