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 Songs Featuring a Banjo

1 Dueling Banjos - Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandell

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

2 Midnight Flyer - Eagles

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). - Gg2000

3 Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Flatt & Scruggs

Ah, yes, I forgot about Earl Scruggs. I feel terrible about that. Thanks for adding this to the list. - Gg2000

4 Squeeze Box - The Who

The song features a banjo solo in the middle. It's the last thing you'd expect on a Who song. - Gg2000

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

Jimmy Page added a banjo part. Listen carefully to the right channel and you will hear it. - Gg2000

7 Bluebird - Buffalo Springfield

The banjo comes in at the end, after all the other instruments have dropped out. - Gg2000

8 I Am a Pilgrim - The Byrds

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. - Gg2000

9 Cumberland Blues - Grateful Dead

Jerry Garcia played banjo here. He was notorious for playing the banjo all his life and was well versed in bluegrass. - Gg2000

10 Money - The Lovin' Spoonful

Jerry Yester (the band's new guitarist at the time) played the banjo. - Gg2000

The Contenders

11 Listen to the Music - The Doobie Brothers

You can hear the banjo throughout most of the song. - Gg2000

12 Hello Mr. Banjo - The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers

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

13 Stone - Faces

Rod Stewart apparently played the banjo on this one. You can hear it most prominently in the intro. - Gg2000

14 Take It Easy - Eagles

I actually miss this song. - ParasN2000

Just haven't listened to it in a while. Almost like I forgot about it. - ParasN2000

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

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

17 All You Need is Love - The Beatles
18 Old Man - Neil Young
19 East Bound and Down - Jerry Reed

I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner. The banjo pretty much sets the pace for the whole song. - Gg2000

20 Stop! Stop! Stop! - The Hollies

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. - Gg2000

21 Genius in France - Weird Al Yankovic

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. - Gg2000

22 Say You Love Me - Fleetwood Mac
23 Bring Back That Leroy Brown - Queen

This one was technically done on a banjo ukulele; I'm not sure if it's considered part of the banjo family. - Gg2000

24 Born Lonesome - Cadillac Sky
25 Losin' Your Mind - Pride and Glory
26 Myr - Taake
27 Wendell Gee - R.E.M.

The song features a subdued banjo part (played by Peter Buck) in the instrumental break and the last chorus. Supposedly, it was the only thing Peter liked about the song. - Gg2000

28 The Roof Is Leaking - Phil Collins

Not that I am a great fan, but the banjo adds the perfect atmospherics for this song

29 Baba O'Riley - The Who

What version are you listening to? The original does not have a banjo in there at all... - Gg2000

30 You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - Bob Dylan

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). - Gg2000

31 The Devil Glitch - Chris Butler

This song has so many instruments... - JoLeKosovo

32 Fish On - Primus

It has a long, kind of arythmic banjo intro, around one minute long. - JoLeKosovo

33 Pieholden Suite - Wilco

WIlco member Jay Bennett plays banjo in the third section of this song. He also plays banjo on the song "Via Chicago". - Gg2000

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