Top Ten Songs Featuring a Banjo

The banjo has been a staple of western music since the nineteenth century. It is mainly known for its high presence in bluegrass and, to a lesser extent, country music. Note: As I mentioned on my list about the pedal steel guitar I am not a devoted fan to country music or bluegrass as I am to rock and roll. Most of these songs are country rock songs, with the exception of the song Genius in France, which I added for a little weirdness. Therefore I encourage all banjo players who are on the site to add what they think are the best songs with a banjo. And even if you're not, feel free to vote and add to this list.

The Top Ten

1 Dueling Banjos - Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandell Dueling Banjos - Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandell Cover Art

Love this song it's from the movie "Deliverance".

2 Midnight Flyer - Eagles Midnight Flyer - Eagles Cover Art

Bernie Leadon was a great banjo player. Another song with a notable use of banjo is Journey Of the Sorcerer (the theme from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

3 Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Flatt & Scruggs Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Flatt & Scruggs Cover Art

Ah, yes, I forgot about Earl Scruggs. I feel terrible about that. Thanks for adding this to the list.

4 Squeeze Box - The Who Squeeze Box - The Who Cover Art

The song features a banjo solo in the middle. It's the last thing you'd expect on a Who song.

5 Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver Cover Art
6 Gallows Pole - Led Zeppelin Gallows Pole - Led Zeppelin Cover Art

Jimmy Page added a banjo part. Listen carefully to the right channel and you will hear it.

7 Bluebird - Buffalo Springfield Bluebird - Buffalo Springfield Cover Art

The banjo comes in at the end, after all the other instruments have dropped out.

8 I Am a Pilgrim - The Byrds I Am a Pilgrim - The Byrds Cover Art

Roger McGuinn played banjo on this one. He first started learning banjo in 1957. That explains why he uses fingerpicking whenever he plays guitar - he learned it on banjo first.

9 Cumberland Blues - Grateful Dead Cumberland Blues - Grateful Dead Cover Art

Jerry Garcia played banjo here. He was notorious for playing the banjo all his life and was well versed in bluegrass.

10 Money - The Lovin' Spoonful Money - The Lovin' Spoonful Cover Art

Jerry Yester (the band's new guitarist at the time) played the banjo.

The Contenders

11 Listen to the Music - The Doobie Brothers Listen to the Music - The Doobie Brothers Cover Art

You can hear the banjo throughout most of the song.

12 Hello Mr. Banjo - The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers Hello Mr. Banjo - The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers Cover Art

A bluegrass song with a conversation between a man and a banjo. It's cute.

13 Take It Easy - Eagles Take It Easy - Eagles Cover Art

I actually miss this song.

Just haven't listened to it in a while. Almost like I forgot about it.

14 Stone - Faces Stone - Faces Cover Art

Rod Stewart apparently played the banjo on this one. You can hear it most prominently in the intro.

15 Southern Nights - Glen Campbell Southern Nights - Glen Campbell Cover Art
16 The Air is Getting Slippery - Primus The Air is Getting Slippery - Primus Cover Art

Can't beat the superb banjo solo in this song... Especially the live version at Woodstock '94.

17 East Bound and Down - Jerry Reed East Bound and Down - Jerry Reed Cover Art

I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner. The banjo pretty much sets the pace for the whole song.

18 Say You Love Me - Fleetwood Mac Say You Love Me - Fleetwood Mac Cover Art
19 All You Need is Love - The Beatles All You Need is Love - The Beatles Cover Art
20 Old Man - Neil Young Old Man - Neil Young Cover Art
21 You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - Bob Dylan You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - Bob Dylan Cover Art

Specifically referring to the version on Greatest Hits Vol. II. Dylan's friend Happy Traum played the banjo (they didn't use any other outsiders in the recording sessions).

22 Stop! Stop! Stop! - The Hollies Stop! Stop! Stop! - The Hollies Cover Art

Lead guitarist Tony Hicks plays the banjo on this song. They ran the banjo through a tape delay unit, making it sound more like a balalaika than an ordinary banjo.

23 Genius in France - Weird Al Yankovic Genius in France - Weird Al Yankovic Cover Art

The banjo comes in at the 6:32 mark, when the song spontaneously turns into a bluegrass style two step. It's not a large portion of the song, but it sticks out enough that I think it's worth mentioning.

24 Bring Back That Leroy Brown - Queen Bring Back That Leroy Brown - Queen Cover Art

This one was technically done on a banjo ukulele; I'm not sure if it's considered part of the banjo family.

25 Born Lonesome - Cadillac Sky Born Lonesome - Cadillac Sky Cover Art
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