Featuring some of the most memorable guitar riffs ever recorded, these top 10 acoustic guitar songs were major hits for the artists who recorded them and have come to evoke the artists themselves by the very mention of their titles. Grammy winning and career defining, these songs present impressive acoustic guitar arrangements as well as incredible lyrics and exceptional vocals.
- “Angel’s Son” by Sevendust – Written in tribute of Snot lead singer James Lynn Strait after his untimely death in 1998, Sevendust’s acoustic version of this song showcases the amazing, gritty vocals of front man Lajon Witherspoon and some of the most incredible acoustic guitar riffs ever recorded.
- “No Envy, No Fear” by Joshua Radin – A delicate, inspiring acoustic melody performed by Joshua Radin on his 2008 album, “Simple Times,” the song blends Radin’s folksy guitar stylings and poignant vocals with amazing mandolin accompaniment to create one of the top ten acoustic guitar songs in recent years.
- “To the Morning” by Nick Drake – One of the top ten acoustic guitar songs of all time and a perennial favorite of Nick Drake fans, lyrics to the song are inscribed on Drake’s tombstone under an oak tree at Tanworth-in-Arden, England. The final song from Drake’s final album, 1972’s “Pink Moon,” this hopeful song features Drake’s signature improvisational guitar style and somber vocals.
- “re: Stacks” by Bon Iver – The closing track to Bon Iver’s acclaimed 2008 debut album, “For Emma, Forever Ago,” “re: Stacks” is undoubtedly one of the top ten acoustic guitar songs of the last decade and features Justin Vernon’s passionate vocals and incredibly poignant lyrics accompanied by Vernon’s own haunting, delicate acoustic guitar arrangements.
- “Boston” by Augustana – A major hit for American rock band Augustana from their 2005 album, “All the Star and Boulevards,” the song was inspired by a schoolmate of lead singer Dan Layus and launched the band to stardom. The acoustic version of “Boston” does away with the heavy arrangements of the studio version and highlights Dan Layus’ angst-ridden vocals as well as exceptional guitar performances by Layus and band member Jared Palomar.
- “Yesterday” by Paul McCartney – Holding the Guinness record for the song with the most cover versions, McCartney’s original version is a sad and moving song of regret and was originally released as a single in 1965. Unquestionably one of the top ten acoustic guitar songs ever written, McCartney’s melancholy ballad entered the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1997 and was named the number one pop song of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2000.
- “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac – A sweet, moving introspective song of reflection, “Landslide” was written by Stevie Nicks in 1975 at a time when the singer felt her future in music to be uncertain. Featuring then boyfriend and fellow Fleetwood Mac band member Lindsey Buckingham on acoustic guitar, the song was released on Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 self-titled album.
- “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton – Performed acoustically for his session on “MTV Unplugged,” Eric Clapton’s tribute to his son Conor following his death at the age of four in 1991 reached the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts when it was released as a single in 1992. The deeply personal ballad was performed quietly on acoustic guitar and helped earn the subsequent 1992 album “Unplugged” six Grammy awards, including Album of the Year.
- “Hotel California” by The Eagles – One of the top ten acoustic guitar songs in history, the acoustic rendition of “Hotel California” from The Eagles’ 1994 album “Hell Freezes Over” was a new arrangement and helped earn the album the number one spot on the Billboard album chart. Don Felder’s flamenco-inspired intro gives the song a Spanish tone, while an unmatched interplay between Felder and guitarist Joe Walsh is one of the most impressive guitar riffs ever performed.
- “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd – The title track to Pink Floyd’s 1975 album, the song is one of the band’s most recognizable songs, whose bittersweet lyrics were inspired by the breakdown of former Pink Floyd front man Syd Barrett. Featuring interplay between multiple acoustic guitars and David Gilmour’s airy vocals, the song has been named one of the greatest songs of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine.
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