Though rock and roll first became known for being louder and ruder than any music to precede it, the softer side soon became prevalent; these 10 classic acoustic songs stand up with many of their louder cousins in the history of rock and roll. From a reggae legend to a folk hero turned rocker, the artists on our list produced a wide range of classic acoustic songs, represented here. In no particular order, here are ten classic acoustic songs for your enjoyment.
- "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan – Originally appearing on the soundtrack to "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid," this dusty ballad is one of Dylan's best. It is a fitting entry to our list of 10 classic acoustic songs.
- "Blackbird" by the Beatles – This "White Album" cut is a calm amidst the storm of louder, more nihilistic rockers. A Paul McCartney-led song, it is one of his best.
- "Going to California" by Led Zeppelin – Led Zep were known at the time amongst true fans as much for their folk excursions as their heavy acid-blues. This is their best acoustic number, and a fitting entry on our list of classic acoustic songs.
- "Patience" by Guns N Roses – A ballad from a group of sleazy hard rockers, it showed the softer side of Axl Rose, whose whistling carried the melody along with a fingerpicked acoustic guitar. It may not be their most well-known song, but it is one of their best.
- "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley – The reggae icon's inspirational ballad is one of his most-played songs. It proves his music universal; even without the reggae beat, it is unique and powerful, an easy choice for our list of classic acoustic songs.
- "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac – One of Fleetwood Mac's biggest hits is one of their most simple. It is a classic acoustic song with guitar and voice carrying the weight.
- "Wild Horses" by the Rolling Stones – The Stones' most enduring ballad, possibly their first sincere attempt at a real country song, is a highlight of the "Sticky Fingers" album. A real love song from the kings of sex in rock and roll? Anything can happen with classic acoustic songs.
- "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd – A tribute to the departed Syd Barrett, the founding singer-songwriter of the band, "Wish You Were Here" is an ethereal, touching song. It was also one of their biggest hits.
- "Yesterday" by the Beatles – The most-covered song of all time, "Yesterday" is simple and beautiful. The subtle strings enhance the acoustic arrangement.
- "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" by Bob Dylan – Dylan's second on the list of classic acoustic songs is a heartfelt breakup song that is so beautiful it is romantic even though its sentiment is not. Many troubadours have tried to cover this acoustic classic.
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