Acoustic guitars are among the most underrated instruments played in bands and one of the most beautiful instruments. It’s a guitar that can create heavenly notes or rougher sounds. Each strum invokes a different feeling, which is why the guitar is used in many songs. Here are a few of what I believe to be the best all-time songs with acoustic guitars.
1. Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
John Denver released this song in 1971; it was the single that made him famous. Using the acoustic guitar, he created a piece that resonated deep in our souls for many Americans, and it became a hit. This is a classic country song that is known for how well Mr. Denver played the guitar. Do you want to learn how to strum the song easily? Here is an excellent reference for beginners interested in playing the acoustic guitar.
2. Over The Hills and Far Away – Led Zeppelin
Who doesn’t love Led Zeppelin? He is a British rock band that influenced heavy metal today, and anyone who owns a guitar looks to this man to learn. You can find this song in the Houses of the Holy, although it was released as a single first in the US. This may be a more difficult song to learn, but it is also not the hardest. Want to learn the chords? Check it out, and pick up your guitar today.
3. We’re Going To Be Friends – The White Stripes
Released from their album called White Blood Cells, this song was released in 2002. It was featured in Napoleon Dynamite, the movie, during the opening credits, and that’s when many Americans fell in love with this alternative rock band, including me. They are part of the garage rock scene that has made a comeback around the Detroit area, and they know the beauty of using acoustic. You can learn this song even as an absolute beginner. You can pick it up easily and start practicing without knowing anything but the basics.
4. Jolene – Dolly Parton
Firstly, who doesn’t love Dolly! She is a one-of-a-kind beauty back and is known for some amazing country music. On top of that, she’s a guitarist that loves acoustic, and she’s also an actress. Jolene was released in 1974 and was such a fantastic song that it had many covers over the last decade. Are you thinking about learning Jolene on your acoustic? The song was easy for me to pick up as a beginner, and you will have no problems practicing it.
5. Nutshell – Alice in Chains
This Seattle-based band was a Godsend growing up on Capitol Hill. Almost everyone I grew up in Seattle with listened to Alice in Chains, and they are one of the main reasons I decided to pick up an acoustic guitar. If you know the basic chords on your acoustic, this will be an easy guitar song to pick up and learn. There is no doubt in my mind that you should be trying to play this song on your guitar. This is one of their more mellow songs that was released in 1994.
6. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas & The Papas
In 1996 The Mamas & Papas released California Dreamin. It is a classic song that many people love and still listen to. This song rated number 89 out of 500 on Rolling Stone’s list of Greatest Songs of all times. Going to college in San Francisco means that this was a daily staple on my way to class and was one of the best songs I learned to play on guitar. If you have an acoustic and know the basics of a guitar, you can learn the chords here.
7. Redemption Song – Bob Marley
This international superstar has made some of the best reggae songs of all time. In my book, this is one of the best songs that has an acoustic guitar in it, and many others would agree. Redemption Song is perfect to throw on at a family BBQ or chilling at the beach with friends. It’s light and relaxing. The song was released in 1980 and is played worldwide. If you enjoy blasting some reggae, it’s time you learn to strum along to this song. This song is not for beginners but for people who know their way around an acoustic guitar. If you have been practicing for a little while, this is the next step. Try it out by learning the chords.
8. Take It Easy – The Eagles
People love the Eagles because they consistently made great songs that were relatable to many different audiences. The Eagles are also one of the biggest-selling American bands of all time, which is absolutely amazing. They know how to rock the acoustic guitar, and because of that, I am a superfan and know you will be too. If you have yet to listen to The Eagles, it is time to listen to “Take It Easy,” which shows off incredible acoustic talents. Though this is an oldie released in 1972, it is still very relevant today since it was remastered in 2013. If I had to rank this song on how easy it is to learn, it scores a 4 of 10. It is not the most challenging song to learn, but it is more advanced than a beginner’s song. Find out the chords here, and next time learn how to sing along too!
9. Photograph – Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran is dreamy and has eyes you could stare into forever. On top of his killer looks, his acoustic guitar skills are top-notch too. Many of his songs feature acoustic sounds, which is one of the many reasons his songs are so catchy. Photograph is a newer song released in June 2014 and is considered folk-pop. Ed Sheeran is not just a musician but an artist with skills beyond the average person. Though I have yet to learn this song, the chords are easy to learn for any beginner. The best thing about learning the chords is once you get good at them, you can step it up a notch and go to the advanced version.
10. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
Queen is one of those fantastic bands that everyone loves. They focus on songs in the rock genre, but people who love pop guitar songs, rap, metal, and anything in between still love Queen. This is what sets the band apart from their competitors. Queen released “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” in 1979 and is included in the album called The Game. Technically this song is labeled for intermediate acoustic guitar players. However, I struggled with getting the sounds right. If you want to give it a shot, here is what I used to learn the chords.
11. Georgia – Vance Joy
Okay, let’s be real; Vance Joy is impressive. He not only plays acoustic guitar like a God, but he also plays the ukulele, which has been on my bucket list for years. You may know him from the song “Riptide,” which takes Indie Pop to a whole new level. However, if you have not yet listened to the 2014 song Georgia, it’s time to do so. Once you listen to this song, you will want to learn how to play the song like he does. Georgia is an easier song to learn and can be played by a beginner.
12. Good Riddance – Green Day
Green Day is the pride and joy of East Bay in California. Everyone listens to Green Day, and the best thing about this band is they’re versatile. They focus on alternative rock, but they know the importance of acoustic sounds, and that’s why so many people hopped on the bandwagon when they got big. This song was released in 1997 and is still played by many people today. You can learn this song as a beginner, and the best news is that it will only take a few times to perfect it.
13. Going to California – Led Zeppelin
Another Led Zeppelin song for the win! I had to put two of his songs on, but honestly, it was hard to choose. Led Zeppelin is an artist known to be in one of the most influential rock groups. He’s influenced other bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Rush. If you are looking for another acoustic song that will inspire you to pick up your guitar, this is it. Look no further. This song was released in 1971 but is a great place to start for a beginner looking to learn something groovy.
14. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
I love nothing better than joining my family out in the sun on the deck and turning on some Pink Floyd. This is the best band if you are into psychedelic rock and want to learn to play it on your acoustic guitar. “Wish You Were Here” was released in 1975 but has been making a total comeback with Gen Z. I have not yet perfected this song, but maybe you can learn on your acoustic guitar. The song is not for beginners but for those who can play at an intermediate level.
15. High and Dry – Radiohead
In the 1990s, Radiohead was so popular! Some of their songs are the easiest to learn on the acoustic guitar, and this song is a perfect one to start. Why? They already use acoustic in this song, and you can learn to strum along. “High and Dry” was released in 1995 by Radiohead but don’t get it confused with the song “High N’ Dry” by Def Leppard. They are vastly different, and only one has acoustic sounds in the song. Learn to play this song; you will be as good as Radiohead with a bit of time and practice.
16. Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi is phenomenal to get in the mood for a date, a night out, or maybe an important meeting. “Wanted Dead or Alive” is one of my favorite songs and is absolutely one of the best acoustic guitar songs of all time, released in 1986. Anyone who can learn to play this song on the acoustic guitar at home will win over all the ladies or gents in their area. The best thing about learning this song is that even for beginners, it sounds savage (in a good way).
17. Everlong (Acoustic Version) – Foo Fighters
You may have heard of Foo Fighters thanks to one of their best-ranking songs, “The Pretender”; however, if you have not yet listened to the acoustic version of “Everlong,” it’s about time. Not only is this a great song to kick back and relax to, but it is also a fun one to learn. After listening to this acoustic version of the song, you will quickly realize why it is in the top 33 best songs. The original version of this song was released in 1997, but the acoustic version was released in 2009. I have not tried to learn this song on the acoustic guitar, but I think it’s one that many young intermediate guitar players like you would find fun.
18. Heart of Gold – Neil Young
If you’ve never heard of Neil Young, it is not too late to listen to him. This Canadian-American singer is a master of the acoustic guitar and an activist standing up for whatever he believes in. “Heart of Gold” was released in 1972 but has so many covers now; it is one of the songs you should learn on your own guitar. This is a break-up song and was one of the top-rated songs for a few years, especially in pop. Many people who love rock and rap also enjoy this song, but also those who enjoy pop also love this song.
19. Pinball Wizard – The Who
In the 1960s, The Who was widely known and very popular. They’re a British rock group that became super influential. The Who recorded some amazing hits and one of them includes the acoustic guitar. “Pinball Wizard” may not be the most popular song to learn on guitar, but it will for sure impress your grandparents and the seniors in the old folk’s home. This song was released in 1975 and got really popular a few years after. To this day, it can still be considered a classic.
20. She Talks to Angels – The Black Crowes
In 1990 The Black Crowes released “She Talks to Angels,” and is featured on their first album called Shake Your Money Maker. It is a very deep song coming from a rock band and carries a beautiful melody throughout the song. I have not yet learned this on the acoustic guitar, but I know this can easily be one of the easiest to learn if you know the basics. If you are a 90s baby and want a throwback, you should definitely learn this on the acoustic guitar.
21. You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
In the 1970s, Carly Simon was a well-known and popular rockstar. “You’re So Vain ” was one of the most popular songs at that time. When it was released in 1972, there was a huge debate on who she was talking about at the time. Honestly, to this day, this song is a great one to blast and can be super fun to learn on your own. The only thing better than blasting it on your guitar is singing along with it. You can be an absolute beginner and still rock this song. It is the perfect song to play at a party to impress your family and friends.
22. Give a Little Bit – Supertramp
This is the opening song on the album called Even in the Quietest Moments. The song was written with a simple message of sharing your love with others. This folk-pop band made one of the top hits, number 15 out of the top 100 in 1977, which was also the year it was released. If you have not yet listened to it, you absolutely should turn it on now. Once you hear it, you will want to learn it for yourself. It is a good song to learn for beginners and isn’t overly complicated.
23. Never Going Back Again – Fleetwood Mac
In 1998 this band made it in the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Their music vibes with so many young individuals, and in the 90s, this band was a huge hit. Also, who doesn’t love Stevie Nicks, one of the gorgeous singers in the band? Many young individuals started getting back into Fleetwood Mac when Stevie Nicks made a guest appearance on American Horror Story. The song called “Never Going Back Again” was released in 1977 and was originally a mini pet project that turned into a huge hit. If you are a beginner guitar player, this is the perfect song meant for acoustic guitars. You can jump around and strum along to this fun song.
24. Jumper – Third Eye Blind
This band was formed in San Francisco and a topic of the town when I went to school downtown. Anyone and everyone living in the city has heard of this group. If you are looking for a catchy acoustic guitar song, this is it. Their first major contract was in 1996. Most of the 90s babies out there know a lot of the songs. “Jumper” was released a year after in 1997. If you are a total newbie with your acoustic guitar, start with something easier. If you have some experience and have been practicing for a while, and consider yourself an intermediate player, this is a great song to learn. Pick up your guitar today and start playing.
25. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Deep Blue Something
This alternative rock group is still active today though they are lesser-known in the younger crowds. You probably won’t find many Gen Z listening to this rock group, let alone find one who knows the movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s. This song is about a failing relationship, released in 1995, and is enchanting to listen to. If you have been trying to learn a song on your acoustic guitar, try out this one. It may not be the most popular now, but it is worth learning because it is easy enough to strum along to. This was a hit single, and you can keep it from vanishing.
26. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
This guy is a northern Irish singer who created a hit song and is easy to learn on the acoustic guitar. He has several awards for his work, and this song is extremely catchy. His fans call him “Van The Man,” and he is known for his garage band classic song called “Gloria.” If you have yet to listen to his music, it’s time to turn on YouTube and start taking notes on his hits. After listening to “Brown Eyed Girl,” you will be inspired to pick up your own guitar and learn to play it on your acoustic.
27. Wild World – Cat Stevens
This guy is a British singer that can play several instruments, including the acoustic guitar. After listening to several of his pieces of work, you will be inspired to start playing more than one instrument. However, beginning with an acoustic guitar is a great start, especially if you’re learning the notes. It is a song that will impress people and is fun to play. “Wild World” was released in 1970 and was a hit shortly after it was on the air. It quickly peaked at #11, and in 2008 it was re-released on a CD. This song is a great one to learn for beginners, and it’s one of the reasons I love it so much. Many people vibe with this song to this day, and it will continue to be one of the best.
28. Can’t You See – The Marshall Tucker Band
Released in 1973, this song was an absolute hit. It is still a hit in my book because it was one of the easiest songs I could learn on the acoustic guitar. If I can do it and make it sound amazing, you can too! They are a classic rock band with some fantastic songs and a few hits. The songs are oldies, but they are going strong and still well alive today. Many people love this song, and it is no wonder it made it on our list of best acoustic songs. You should absolutely learn this today and keep on practicing until you make it sound like the original.
29. Listen to the Music – The Doobie Brothers
San Jose, California, has a lot to be proud of, but one of the main things is The Doobie Brothers. They are known for their soft rock guitar songs, and some may even categorize them as blue-eyed souls. Their band was formed in 1970 and was originally a quartet. They were funky and super loveable. This song “Listen to the Music” was released in 1972 and just in time! Before this song came out and became a huge hit, this band would have likely gone off the radar due to so little awareness. “Listen to the Music” was what brought them the awareness they needed to stay relevant. You can easily learn this song on your own if you have an acoustic guitar.
30. Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
Bill Withers has won three Grammys and was nominated for a few more. If you have not yet listened to Bill’s music, it’s time. “Ain’t No Sunshine” is a classic that was released in 1971 and was a huge hit almost immediately after it launched to the public. Bill Withers has the perfect voice for blues and R&B songs that we all love today. If you have been looking for something new to learn to play on the acoustic guitar, this may be the best song for you to learn. Take it up a notch by learning how to sing and play! This will seriously impress anyone you are around and will keep Bill Withers alive.
31. Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
Ah! Yes, how could this be a list of the all-time best acoustic guitar songs without The Beatles? This brand is not nearly as popular with Gen Z, but for the rest of us, they are still a classic band you listen to at get-togethers. The Beatles are so relevant now even though they were mainly popular in the ’60s and ’70s. “Here Comes The Sun” was released in 1969 and honestly is still a huge hit. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked into my parent’s house and heard this song blasting. My dad taught me this song on the guitar when I was just a kid because it is meant for the absolute beginner. Try it out if you want to impress all of your friends.
32. Naked As We Came – Iron & Wine
This is a brutal name for an alternative and indie band. Samuel Ervin Beam is a man with a full beard who is absolutely gorgeous and a singer and songwriter. “Naked As We Came” was released in 2004 and captured everyone’s heart. Many people who listen to pop, rock, metal, and indie fell in love with this song, making it a huge hit. Sams’s voice is deep and dramatic, the song is low-key, and the best thing is you can easily learn how to play this song.
33) Little Black Submarines – The Black Keys
Lastly, we have the “Little Black Submarines” by The Black Keys released in 2012. This is one of the newer ones on the list but should not be overlooked. They are another indie band that is super groovy and sometimes creates really haunting sounds. If you have not yet heard “Little Black Submarines,” it is a must if you love acoustic guitars. If you fall in love like I did, check out the chords so you can learn to strum along with the band.
Remember, music is subjective, and everyone falls in love with different songs for different reasons. Sometimes it’s hard to explain why a song became the best hit because it involves feelings rather than logic. When millions can vibe with one song, it creates something beautiful and noteworthy. I love these songs because they are not only some of the best, but you can easily learn to play them on your own acoustic guitar too.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.