The best acoustic guitar songs feature rock’s greatest guitarists. These guitarists hit the music scene in the 60s and 70s. Many of these musicians were well known for their electric riffs, but their acoustic sounds are a blend of the best of rock with a touch of classical.
- “Angie.” A hauntingly lyrical song about a romantic breakup, this song was on the 1973 Rolling Stone’s album “Goats Head Soup.” The song was written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger and was a number one billboard single hit in the US and the UK.
- “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.” Written by The Beatle’s John Lennon, who said he wanted to write a Bob Dylan type of song. The song sounds very old world, and could pass for an English ballad sung in the taverns of long ago. Lennon sings on this acoustic guitar song.
- “Tears in Heaven.” Eric Clapton wrote this song in the memory of his young son who was tragically killed when he fell out a window of a New York high-rise apartment. The song reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts.
- “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp.” Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin wrote this song in 1970 and named it after a house in Gwyneed, Wales. The name means golden breast in English, referring to the hillside near the house.
- “Iris.” This song was the breakout hit for the band the Goo Goo Dolls. The song was written by vocalist/guitarist John Rzeznik and was nominated for three Grammy Awards in 1998. The song was featured in the soundtrack for the film “A City of Angels,” starring Nicholas Cage.
- “Hotel California.” The Platinum song was released in 1977 and comes from the album with the same name. The evocative lyrics have received much interpretation over the years, but song writer Don Henley says the song is a lyrical description of the dark side of the American dream.
- “Blackbird.” Paul McCartney wrote this song as a reflection of the rising racial tensions in the United States in 1968. The song is also sung by McCartney and is featured on the Beatle’s “The White Album.”
- “Layla.” The woman who the song was written for is actually named Patti Boyd, who was then married to George Harrison of The Beatles. Eric Clapton wrote the song when he was in the band Derek and the Dominoes and was hopelessly in love with Boyd. The original song was an electric piece which Clapton later remade into an acoustic version which won a 1993 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
- “Wild Horses.” This 1971 Rolling Stone’s song was penned by Mick Jagger and is about his love affair with actress/singer Marianne Faithful. Keith Richards wrote the melody for the song, which features both Jagger and he on acoustic guitars.
- “Wish You Were Here.” This acoustic song is the title track from the 1975 album with the same name. Song writer Roger Waters chronicled his feelings of social alienation and his sadness over fellow band member Syd Barrett’s mental breakdown within the lyrics of the piece. It is listed in “Rolling Stones” 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
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