100 Most Essential Folk songs

What are some of the most influential, memorable, and legendary folk songs of all time?

After eight weeks of collecting votes (each song suggestion is considered a "vote" for that song), the results are in. These are the 100 essential folk songs as voted by our Folk Alley listeners.

Do you agree with these entries? What songs are missing that should have been on the list? Which songs deserved higher placement? Leave a comment in the message area.


The 100 Essential Folk Songs
Song -Written OR Performed by

This Land is Your Land - Woody Guthrie
Blowin’ in the Wind - Bob Dylan
City of New Orleans - Steve Goodman
If I Had a Hammer - Pete Seeger
Where Have All The Flowers Gone - The Kingston Trio
Early Morning Rain - Gordon Lightfoot
Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
We Shall Overcome - Pete Seeger
Four Strong Winds - Ian and Sylvia
Last Thing On My Mind - Tom Paxton

The Circle Game - Joni Mitchell
Tom Dooley - The Kingston Trio (Trad)
Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell
Who Knows Where The Time Goes - Sandy Denny
Goodnight Irene - The Weavers (Trad)
Universal Soldier - Buffy St Marie
Don’t Think Twice - Bob Dylan
Diamonds and Rust - Joan Baez
Sounds of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot

Alice’s Restaurant - Arlo Guthrie
Turn, Turn, Turn - The Byrds (Pete Seeger)
Puff The Magic Dragon - Peter, Paul and Mary
Thirsty Boots - Eric Andersen
There But For Fortune - Phil Ochs
Across The Great Divide - Kate Wolf
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - The Band (Robbie Robertson)
The Dutchman - Steve Goodman
Matty Groves - Fairport Convention (Trad)

Pastures of Plenty - Woody Guthrie
Canadian Railroad Trilogy - Gordon Lightfoot
Ramblin’ Boy - Tom Paxton
Hello In There - John Prine
The Mary Ellen Carter - Stan Rogers
Scarborough Fair - Martin Carthy (Trad)
Freight Train - Elizabeth Cotton
Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
Paradise - John Prine
Northwest Passage - Stan Rogers

And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda - Eric Bogle
Changes - Phil Ochs
Streets of London - Ralph McTell
Gentle On My Mind - John Hartford
Barbara Allen - Shirley Collins (Trad)
Little Boxes - Malvina Reynolds
The Water is Wide - Traditional
Blue Moon of Kentucky - Bill Monroe
No Regrets - Tom Rush
Amazing Grace - Odetta (Trad)

Catch The Wind - Donovan
If I Were a Carpenter - Tim Hardin
Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
House of the Rising Sun - Doc & Richard Watson (Trad)
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine - The Weavers
Tangled Up In Blue - Bob Dylan
The Boxer - Simon and Garfunkel
Someday Soon - Ian and Sylvia
500 Miles - Peter, Paul and Mary
Masters of War - Bob Dylan

Wildwood Flower - Carter Family
Can The Circle Be Unbroken - Carter Family
Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound - Tom Paxton
Teach Your Children - Crosby, Stills Nash & Young
Deportee - Woody Guthrie
Tecumseh Valley - Towns Van Zandt
Mr. Bojangles - Jerry Jeff Walker
Cold Missouri Waters - James Keeleghan
The Crucifixion - Phil Ochs
Angel from Montgomery - John Prine

Christmas in the Trenches - John McCutcheon
John Henry - Traditional
Pack Up Your Sorrows - Richard and Mimi Farina
Dirty Old Town - Ewan MacColl
Caledonia - Dougie MacLean
Gentle Arms of Eden - Dave Carter
My Back Pages - Bob Dylan
Arrow - Cheryl Wheeler
Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen
Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire

Man of Constant Sorrow - Ralph Stanley (Trad)
Shady Grove - Traditional
Pancho and Lefty - Townes Van Zandt
Old Man - Neil Young
Mr. Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan
American Tune - Paul Simon
At Seventeen - Janis Ian
Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel
Road - Nick Drake
Tam Lin - Fairport Convention (Trad)

Ashokan Farewell - Jay Ungar and Molly Mason
Desolation Row - Bob Dylan
Love Is Our Cross To Bear - John Gorka
Hobo’s Lullaby - Woody Guthrie
Urge For Going - Tom Rush
Return of the Grievous Angel - Gram Parsons
Chilly Winds - The Kingston Trio
Fountain of Sorrow - Jackson Browne
The Times They Are A Changing - Bob Dylan
Our Town - Iris Dement
Leaving on a Jet Plane - John Denver

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