Suggest some songs I can learn to play on the guitar!
May 24, 2007 5:49 PM   Subscribe

GreatSongsfilter; I would like to learn a few great songs on the guitar, and need suggestions from the great people here.

I would like to have some cool songs in my repertoire (sp?). I would like pick one song from each of these genres (bonus points for indie and classic rock songs).
1. love song
2. sing along song (a song everyone can sing along with)
3. just a cool song (a song that gives off the too cool for school vibe.
4. a fun song
5. your won favorite.

thanks for the suggestions!
posted by boyinmiami to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
First tell us your level please!
posted by ORthey at 5:55 PM on May 24, 2007

2. My favorite sing-along song (even though no one can ever get keep the lyrics sttraight) is "The weight" by The Band. Especially great for large groups because of the "and... and... and... you put the load (put the load) right on me."
posted by ORthey at 5:57 PM on May 24, 2007

Blackbird by the Beatles (my favorite. Maybe also cool?)
Fire and Rain by James (my favorite again. Maybe a sing along also?)
posted by dpx.mfx at 6:10 PM on May 24, 2007

Your question is pretty broad. It would be nice to know the context for playing, acoustic vs. electric, and proficiency level. I am hoping some great acoustic guitar campfire songs emerge during this thread, but I suspect you'll get a smattering of different genres here. Personally, I think certain genres are better suited to playing informally for others than indie or top 40 alternarock.

As for me, I learned pretty much most of John Prine's catalog for the express purpose of playing for other people round the campfire. They are generally easy to play, and each song is either touching or funny or both and other people will generally not be familiar with them. Love song: Angel from Montgomery or In Spite of Ourselves, Funny Song: Dear Abby or Illegal Smile or Please Don't Bury Me, Cool song: Paradise

Woody Guthrie kicks ass in this regard as well.

For singalongs, the Beatles are great, how about I've Got a Feeling or And Your Bird Can Sing?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:34 PM on May 24, 2007

I like "First Day of My Life" as a good love song (if you know "Don't Think Twice", you know it already :). And it's easy enough to learn "Rainbow Connection" as a sort of atypical singalong.
posted by tmcw at 6:47 PM on May 24, 2007

Bob Dylan: "Everybody must get stoned" (sing along)

Beatles: "A little help from my friends" (sing along)

Led Zeppelin: "Thank You"...if the sun refused to shine I would still be lovin' you... (love song)

Johnny Cash: Pick a song.

Violent Femmes: "Blister in the Sun" (Fun)

Eh, my brain hurts now. Enjoy!
posted by snsranch at 6:59 PM on May 24, 2007

Hmm. This is a pretty broad question. I would recommend focusing on popular music from the 1960s (e.g., the Beatles and other British Invasion stuff, Simon & Garfunkel, early Dylan) and 1990s (DMB, Blues Traveler, Oasis, hell, even Hootie & the Blowfish). The campfire/singalong bit will come naturally with that repertoire.
posted by danb at 7:04 PM on May 24, 2007

Some of my guitar songs: S&G's The Boxer, Pulp Common People, Janis Joplin Me and Bobby McGee, GnR Sweet Child and Mr Brownstone, The Verve Drugs don't Work.

Radiohead have a bunch of good singalongs, especially Creep (easy to play!), Fake Plastic Trees, High & Dry, Karma Police.

If you're up for some fingerpickin action, Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah is pretty sweet, as is Dire Straits Romeo and Juliet.

Also Redemption Song and Wicked Game mentioned upstairs.
posted by nomis at 7:32 PM on May 24, 2007

Of course I meant some of my favourite guitar songs.

I should add Bowie Starman, Ziggy Stardust, Man who sold the World.

Oh and S&G Mrs Robinson. Everybody knows the chorus!

I'll stop now.
posted by nomis at 7:34 PM on May 24, 2007

3. Street Spirit, Radiohead
4. Over the Hills and Far Away, Led Zeppelin
posted by starman at 8:23 PM on May 24, 2007

this is acoustic guitar, dude with the acoustic style, right? some songs just don't translate well to acoustic, solo guitar- like 'little help from my friends.'

love song: In The Aeroplane Over the Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel (title track). piece of cake- easy first position chords, all open strums, and will give you a good sense of going into and out of the minor chords for a hook (if you ever get into songwriting).

sing along song: Hey Hey, What Can I Do, Led Zeppelin. i'd skip 'thank you' and head for this slightly more obscure zep song instead... people will know it, and it will work well strummed. it's also pretty easy, and the mandolin riff (as tabbed above) is totally optional. plus theres a line about 'In the bars, with the men who play guitars' and that can't be denied.

cool song: Lights Are Changing, Bevis Frond. if you're going for cool points, pulling out classic 4-track jams from new zealand are going to set you on your way. this song is a bit more challenging but uber-catchy and worth learning, if for nothing else than the excuse to sing 'accelerating spirals in an asymmetric sky.'

fun song: Chicken Blows, Guided by Voices. It's called Chicken Blows, which is fun. it makes for a fun introduction. if you do that. anyway, this song is kinda somber actually. they do mention beer though, and that's a prime campfire/open mic night trope.

sudden death:
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace, Terry Reid. Can't find a tab for this one, and you have to have a killer voice to be able to pull it off, but this song rules.
posted by tremspeed at 8:36 PM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

You don't need to go outside The Beatles canon. Lessee..

1. Love song - Michelle
2. sing along song - Hey Jude
3. just a cool song - I'll Follow the Sun
4. a fun song - Norwegian Wood
5. your won favorite - Yesterday
posted by ludwig_van at 8:37 PM on May 24, 2007

Too cool for school--Like Dylan in the Movies by Belle and Sebastian.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:37 PM on May 24, 2007

If you want a song that will impress people, learn the first few verses to I've Been Everywhere Man (lyrics for one of the US versions).
My brother, who is 16, learnt it last year for a music assignment because he had too much time on his hands - he got asked to perform at his school presentation night in front of ~900 people and got a standing ovation.
posted by cholly at 8:38 PM on May 24, 2007

But of course tremspeed wins with In the Aeroplane.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:38 PM on May 24, 2007

1. love song - Lovers in a Dangerous Time (barenaked ladies style)

2. sing along song
What I Got - Sublime
Say it Ain't So - Weezer
Closing Time - Semisonic

3. just a cool song

4. a fun song
Teenage Dirtbag - Wheatus
Anything by Tenacious D, esp "Tribute"

5. your own favorite
Violent Femmes - Kiss Off, Add it Up
Neil Young - Anything from Zuma, Powderfinger

This stuff goes over pretty well whenever I play it - for a pretty wide audience as well.
posted by davey_darling at 8:56 PM on May 24, 2007

How about Clapton's Wonderful Tonight? We only played a tiny bit of it in my Intro to Guitar class, but it was quite fun (and also pretty memorable, the intro should let everyone know exactly what you're playing).
posted by anaelith at 9:50 PM on May 24, 2007

Acoustic? Busker-style? The Beatles canon really does provide lots of songs that sound more technical than they are to play: 'Norwegian Wood', 'Here Comes The Sun', 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away', 'If I Needed Someone', 'Blackbird', 'Rocky Racoon', etc. (Get a capo.)

You can adapt arpeggiated stuff (Byrds, Out Of Time / Automatic For The People-era R.E.M.), and I also find that a lot of Neil Finn's songs play really well on solo acoustic.
posted by holgate at 11:05 PM on May 24, 2007

Personal favorites (from a beginner - I can play all the open chords now except B!):

Red Vines Aimee Mann
Sunday Morning and I'll be your Mirror Velvet Underground
Father and Son and Trouble Cat Stevens
Rockin' in the Free World Neil Young

For tons more ideas, go to Chordie and browse through the public songbooks. You can look up the chords for tons of songs and save your own songbooks there too - it's a great site.
posted by hazyjane at 12:41 AM on May 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Sweet Euphoria, by Chris Cornell. Best song, ever.
posted by Zaire4Ever32 at 1:16 AM on May 25, 2007

I started writing an answer out, but it's really hard to say since:

1. I don't know what sort of stuff you can already play
2. I have no idea what your guitar technique is like
3. I don't know your vocal range
4. I don't want everyone to cover the same songs as I do ;-)

Having said all that, Jeff Buckley's song "Lover, You Should Have Come Over" is a good one (but it's already been covered by Jamie Cullum).
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:52 AM on May 25, 2007

Response by poster: man, you guys rock, i really cant play much, just started some lessons, but wanted to give myself some goals (ala Stranger than fiction). I am starting on acoustic and will be going on to other guitars. THANK YOU SO MUCH, im psyched!
posted by boyinmiami at 7:40 AM on May 25, 2007

Some suggestions:
  • "Blackbird" (The Beatles) — Appears hard on the face of it, but really only has two parts. Is in the mid-vocal range. Looks harder than it is (read: it's impressive to watch)
  • "Atlantic City" (Bruce Springsteen) — In true Springsteen style, some down-on-his-luck guy loves a girl and gets in trouble with the local thugs. Great lyrics "Well they blew up the Chicken Man in Philly last week. Well the blew up his house too." Bonus points: Even a bad harmonica player can hack away at this and sound brilliant.
  • "Alice's Restaurant" (Arlo Guthrie) — Hilarious, epic, and classic. To be honest, it is best played with a vocalist and a separate guitarist because the riff, although repeated ad-nauseum (once you learn it, you'll never forget it), is hard to play while singing. A far superior sing-along epic than "American Pie."
  • "Hey Ya" (Outkast) — Don't kill me yet. This song is dead easy to play (four chords throughout) and has been re-interpreted for coffee-house consumption by Obadiah Parker for your benefit. Trust me, it is both amusing and a little touching if done well. Beats covering Britney for the irony factor.

posted by mrmcsurly at 8:10 AM on May 25, 2007

« Older Wii Wi-Fi via Airport Extreme?   |   Huge gaps in my construction/maintenance skillset.... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.