Sing a new song
March 6, 2008 12:08 AM   Subscribe

What songs can an acoustic guitar playing non-singer sing?

I am trying to learn to sing and play at the same time, which is a challenge all by itself. The issue is that I'm not a terribly great singer but would like to find songs that are easy enough to sing that it doesn't sound like I'm butchering them. Since I'm just getting into the singing/playing realm, it'd be nice if the strumming on the guitar was straight-forward. I don't have a big preference of songs since I play lots of different things, but for starters it'd be great if the songs were recognizable and entertaining to listen to. I'm not really looking for campfire songs since I realize there are many many options there. I'd prefer current songs that could have been on the radio in the last few years.
Thanks all for any suggestions!
posted by mcarthey to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I heard "Alice's Restaurant" on the radio two weeks ago.
posted by flabdablet at 12:12 AM on March 6, 2008

Most Dylan stuff would be possible.
posted by No Mutant Enemy at 12:27 AM on March 6, 2008

Folksy stuff, definitely.
posted by amyms at 12:45 AM on March 6, 2008

Hey Joe
posted by chillmost at 1:15 AM on March 6, 2008

For Whom the Bell Tolls pretty much allows you to hit a chord, sing for a measure without worrying about picking, then repeat.
posted by ignignokt at 1:18 AM on March 6, 2008

"With A Little Help From My Friends" was especially written for Ringo's five-note vocal range.
posted by essexjan at 1:54 AM on March 6, 2008

Anything by Liz Phair. Particularly the first album.
posted by laconic titan at 3:33 AM on March 6, 2008

For a newish song that's quite easy how about 'Is it any wonder' by Keane. I'm not a fan of the band but I heard this on the radio and really liked the euphoric feel so had a bash. it's actually a very simple chord progression and easy to sing. Sounds great as a simple acoustic job.
posted by freya_lamb at 3:34 AM on March 6, 2008

Wonderwall by Oasis sounds good acoustically. It is also popular enough where you could have some friends sing the words with you should you get them started. The lyrics are simple and fairly unemphasized so you could really pull it off.
posted by clearly at 4:05 AM on March 6, 2008

Also Yellow by Coldplay and basically any song by Jack Johnson fits into the acoustic easy to sing category.
posted by clearly at 4:09 AM on March 6, 2008

I bet you could handle most of the songs that Mr. William Shatner sings.

Though he is pretty incredible, his singing ain't that great.
posted by Grither at 6:19 AM on March 6, 2008

Rocky Raccoon by The Beatles might be a good one. It's the same four chords over and over, and you could easily get away with talking/singing the lyrics. Matt Weddle's acoustic version of Hey Ya might also be a decent one to try; the guitar part is pretty straightforward, but depending on your vocal range the singing may be a bit of a challenge. Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is another one that might work. The chords are essentially G, Em, C, D, and there are lots of different recorded versions from which to draw inspiration for your vocals.
posted by Balonious Assault at 6:44 AM on March 6, 2008

Do a song from our very own meta music, Engine is a great cover, and it's easy to sing and play- The chords are just G, A and C. Rinse and repeat.

New Slang - The Shins
Tree Hugger - Antsy Pants
I Will Follow You Into the Night - Death Cab for a Cutie
Run - Snow Patrol, strangely the chorus is pretty easy, but I find the verse hard to sound.. melodic.
Canonball - Damien Rice, easy pattern to learn, everyone knows it. Just capo it where it's comfortable to sing.

The Juno soundtrack is great, all the songs are fairly simple and are good fun to sing (especially badly).
posted by Static Vagabond at 6:58 AM on March 6, 2008

When I was in your shoes, the first song I was able to play and sing at once was "Running to Stand Still" by U2. I think the very, very simple strumming pattern helped.
posted by 4ster at 8:33 AM on March 6, 2008

Check out "famous blue raincoat" by Leonard Cohen
posted by wittgenstein at 9:10 AM on March 6, 2008

I've heard non-singing members in multiple bands step and sing You Ain't Goin' Nowhere by Dylan for their moment in the spotlight.

It's the "Whoo-ee! Ride me high/Tomorrow's the day/My bride's gonna come" song.
posted by umbĂș at 10:36 AM on March 6, 2008

Any song in which the content of the lyrics is the important/interesting part, rather than the music or the quality of the singing voice. Songs like, well any Bob Dylan song, lots of Velvet Underground. I like VU's The Gift, it's real simple. Also Talking Heads psycho killer.
posted by ctmf at 12:03 PM on March 6, 2008

Beatles songs are your friend. (Heh, I mis-read your name eponysterically.)

Going in a completely different direction, The Violent Femmes are pretty easy and fun to bang out.
posted by desuetude at 12:57 PM on March 6, 2008

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