New to the guitar, and not sure which songs to learn first? These 5 easy acoustic guitar songs, as compiled by Greeley, CO teacher Andy W., are a great place to get started…
Can you play these five famous and easy acoustic guitar songs? If not, then why not learn today?
The following songs are timeless classics for a reason. I promise that regardless of whatever stage of musicianship you‘re at, you can learn a wealth of information from these five songs alone. If you’re a beginner playing your first songs, these can teach you some of the most common chords and progressions used by guitarists. If you are an advanced guitarist, then you can focus on the elements that make these songs effortlessly memorable, such as the feel, the lyrics, and the song structure. Then you can use these elements to write your own songs!
Here are five easy acoustic guitar songs that everyone should know, in order from simple to more complex:
1. America – Horse With No Name
This song was written by Dewey Bunnell from the band, America. Charting high in several countries in 1971 and 1972, it was America’s first and most famous single.
Chords: Emin, F#min
Form: Intro, Verse, Verse, Pre-chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-chorus, Chorus, Solo, Verse, Pre-chorus, Chorus (2X)
2. Tom Petty – Free Fallin’
Written by Tom Petty and his collaborator, Jeff Lynne, this song is the opening track for Petty’s album, Full Moon Fever, which was released in 1989. This is Petty’s longest charting song and peaked at #7 on Billboard. Rolling Stones ranked it at #179 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
Chords: D, Dsus4, D, Asus4
Form: Intro, Verse, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Verse, Chorus (2X)
3. Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl
This song by Van Morrison was released in 1967 on his solo album, Blowin’ Your Mind! It peaked at #10 on Billboard’s charts. This was his first single released as a solo artist and it also launched his career. Rolling Stones ranked it at #110 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
Chords: G, C, G, D
Form: Intro, Verse, Verse, Chorus, Instrumental, Verse, Chorus
4. The Animals – House of the Rising Sun
Although it’s uncertain who wrote this song, the most famous version was recorded by The Animals in 1964. Their version reached #1 on Billboard in the U.S. and also charted in the U.K., Canada, Sweden, and Finland. Rolling Stones ranked it at #123 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
Chords: Amin, C, D, F, Amin, C, E
Form: Intro, Chorus, Verse, Verse, Solo, Verse, Verse, Chorus
5. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
Written by David Gilmore and Roger Waters of Pinkfloyd, this is the title track for Pinkfloyd’s 1975 album, Wish You Were Here. Since the original release of the song in 1975, it has charted high in numerous countries. Rolling Stones ranked it at #324 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
Chords: C, D, Amin, G, D, C, Amin, G
Form: Intro, Verse, Verse, Intro, Verse, Intro (2X)
You now can play more songs and are also equipped with a better understanding of chords, progressions, form, and other elements that make up a truly memorable song. Now use what you’ve learned to write your own songs!
Andy W. teaches guitar, singing, piano, and more in Greeley, CO. He specializes in jazz, and has played guitar for 12 years. Learn more about Andy here!
Photo by tudor-rose