If you are looking to get some ideas on which easy guitar songs to learn, then look no further. In this list you will find songs that are perfect to get under your fingers since these are popular and quite catchy on the guitar. Let’s get started!
25 Easy Guitar Songs for Beginners
1. Wonderwall – Oasis
Supposedly written for Meg Matthews, Noel Gallagher’s then-girlfriend, “Wonderwall” was the fourth single off the album What’s The Story?. However in 2001, (after the couple’s divorce) Matthews retracted his earlier statements and said the lyrics were not about Meg after all: “[the song was] about an imaginary friend who’s gonna come and save you from yourself.”
2. Knocking On Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
Written for the 1973 film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Bob Dylan’s song “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” ranked top 10 in several countries. Not so surprising, two months after the film’s debut, the single became an international hit. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is one of Dylan’s most revisited compositions, breeding covers from artists like Randy Crawford, Eric Clapton, Guns N’ Roses, and many more.
Learn to play “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”
3. Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
“Smoke on the Water” dubbed as one of the most identifiable guitar riffs in the history of rock’ n ‘roll. The song was Deep Purple’s first top ten since 1968 and as a result, they received a gold record. Sadly, “Smoke on the Water” is about an actual tragedy that happened during a Frank Zappa concert in Montreux, Switzerland (1971). The band was in town to record their next collaboration, Machine Head.
Learn to play “Smoke on the Water”
4. House Of The Rising Sun – The Animals
The melody, recorded by Texas Alexander in the 1920s, is an ordinary English ballad. However, the song gained popularity as an African-American folk song. Since it became a hit for The Animals, artists including Josh White, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and later Nina Simone recorded the song. It was Simone’s copy The Animals heard first. The song is sold royalty-free.
Learn to play “House Of The Rising Sun”
5. Dust In The Wind – Kansas
Producer Jeff Glixman asked Kansas for more songs just as they were almost finished with writing and rehearsing the Point of Know Return album. Livgren, shocked the band members insisted on recording it, loathed playing this song, especially on acoustic guitar. Livgren is not impressed with his song and actually, refuses to endorse it. Fortunately, the others outvote him and “Dust In The Wind” becomes their biggest hit.
Learn to play “Dust In The Wind”
6. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
When the band recorded “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana started to receive a mega star’s treatment. It was one of the last songs written specifically for the Nevermind album, made public on September 10 1991. Vocalist Kathleen Hanna, a friend of Cobain’s, was inspiration for the title. Story has it that Hanna wrote ‘Kurt smells like teen spirit’ with a sprayer on his wall. What she was referring to was Teen Spirit, the deodorant. Nevertheless, Cobain didn’t have a clue about this brand of antiperspirant and thought it was a great slogan for something entirely different, an “anti-establishment rally cry.”
Learn to play “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
7. Good Riddance – Green Day
Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong wrote “Good Riddance” when his then-girlfriend relocated to Ecuador. He wanted to be cool about it, but he would eventually show his ill-feelings and title the acoustic song “Good Riddance.” The song was composed differently from the popular rock music during the ’90s. Armstrong, in a 2010 interview, told Spin Magazine: “That was really the first time we attempted a ballad. The first time we ever played that song was during an encore in New Jersey – I had to pound a beer backstage to get up the courage. I knew we were gonna take a tomato to the face.”
Learn to play “Good Riddance”
8. Iron Man – Black Sabbath
“Iron Man,” sung by Black Sabbath, a British heavy metal band, is a story about a man who travels through time into the future and gets to see the apocalypse. While he’s preparing to return to the present, he’s caught up in a magnetic storm and has turned to steel. The bad news is he can’t utter a word and this prevents him from telling people about the apocalypse. In fact, people laughed at him and shrugged him off. He’s furious because of it and vows to take revenge. It then becomes clear he causes the mass destruction he envisioned. Find this story on their studio release, Paranoid.
Learn to play “Iron Man”
9. Free Falling – Tom Petty
When it comes to rock stars transitioning from the 1970s into the ’80’s, Tom Petty made it look easy. It may not have been intentional, but Petty showed the world how flexible he could be with the imparting of “Free Fallin”. It was a gift to the world in a time when rockers were making banging moves. The songwriter had a hit, one of his biggest-sellers of his career.
Learn to play “Free Fallin”
10. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
The Jamaican song, “Brown Eyed Girl” was produced by Bert Bern and broadcast in the summer of 1967. Some speculate an ex-lover was the inspiration for the single originally titled “Brown Skinned Girl.” When asked about the title, Van said, “That was just a mistake. It was a kind of Jamaican song… Calypso. After we’d recorded it, I looked at the tape box and didn’t even notice that I’d changed the title.”
Learn to play “Brown Eyed Girl”
11. Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream
Reportedly, Cream didn’t like the initial version of the song, “Sunshine of Your Love”. He explained inTom Dowd And The Language Of Music, “There just wasn’t this common ground that they had on so many of the other songs.” Ahmet Ertegun, head of the music label, didn’t like it either. In fact, he said it was “psychedelic hogwash.” However, after Booker T said he liked it, the producer changed his tune and gave Cream his blessing for the song. Jimi Hendrix even sampled the song during a few of his concerts. Funny how Jimi didn’t realize he was the muse for the bass line.
Learn to play “Sunshine of Your Love”
12. Wild Thing – The Troggs
Songwriter Chip Taylor is responsible for composing “Wild Thing.” It was revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone that Taylor thought the song was hilarious, so much so he was rolling on the floor, laughing. It only took Chip a few minutes to write it, but it would have great success. Who knew it would become such a hit that it industry professionals would play it in TV shows and movies? To top that, “Wild Thing” was the only song that was released on two labels simultaneously and reach the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
Learn to play “Wild Thing”
13. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
The “Seven Nation Army” mocks how Jack White mispronounces Salvation Army as a young boy. White created the story about a dude who comes into town only to find out all his buddies are talking bad about him. Surprisingly, the song topped the UK Singles Chart at number seven. It wasn’t so successful in the US Billboard Hot 100 but raised the bar to the number one spot in the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. It ranked in Germany, taking number 4 for the best performance.
Learn to play “Seven Nation Army”
14. Paranoid – Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” is the ’70s smash off their second record album, but it’s the first single from the album entitled Paranoid. On the flip side is a cut called “The Wizard“. “Paranoid” climbed to no. 4 on the UK Singles Chart but slumbered at no. 61 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song’s cover is one in the lineup of heavy metal’s “most transformative moments in the early history of Black Sabbath.”
Learn to play “Paranoid”
15. Come As You Are – Nirvana
Initially, “Come As You Are” was intended to be the main single on Nevermind, Nirvana’s second album. Management thought the selection would have excellent crossover ability. In spite of the song taking a back seat to “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the song still had success. In fact, “Teen Spirit” became the group’s signature song. It was this break that drove the group to success on the UK singles chart and sneaking up on the Billboard at no. 32. Similar to the lyrics of the song, Kurt Cobain committed suicide. Unfortunately, he died of self-inflicted wounds from a single gunshot.
Learn to play “Come As You Are”
16. About A Girl – Nirvana
Kurt Cobain and Tracy Marande were lovers at some point during his career. They shared a place and Cobain even put her photograph on an album cover. Sometime after the book, Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana, was published, Marande found out the song, “About a Girl” was about her. It was in a conversation between Kurt and Chad Channing, the drummer for Nirvana, that Chad asked what was the song about. Kurt replied he didn’t really know, but “it’s about a girl.” Channing finally said, ‘Well, why don’t you just call it “About A Girl”?’ and so, they did and that’s how the song got its title.
Learn to play “About a Girl”
17. Perfect – Ed Sheeran
Male artists write songs for their girlfriends all the time and songwriter Ed Sheeran is no different. He wrote “Perfect” for Cherry Seaborn, an old friend. The English singer composed his third album and released it in 2017. It took the UK charts with the no. 4 position on the Singles Chart. That same year, Billboard recognized “Perfect” saying it “would be the fourth single from the album.” Beyonce released her interpretation of the song with “Perfect Duet,” also in 2017.
Learn to play “Perfect”
18. Hurt – Johnny Cash
“Hurt” is off Nine Inch Nails second album, The Downward Spiral. The legendary Johnny Cash did the cover and received critical acclaim for it. His rendition resonated with both new and die-hard fans mainly due to the lyrics, but partly due to the visuals. It takes you to a place fit for storytelling and talks about a man’s failing memories and many regrets, but it wouldn’t be the song it is without his loving wife. You’ll be touched by the short film, featuring the once spirited entertainers and the thought of knowing it was one of Cash’s last hit releases before his demise.
Learn to play “Hurt”
19. Day Tripper – The Beatles
The single “Day Tripper” was recorded a few days prior to “Drive My Car” in (October) 1965 It was written and sung by the duo, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The title, it was said, was a “play on words.” It was Lennon’s attempt to point out the influence of drugs. He told his listeners that “people like him could not afford the luxury of being high all the time, so he opted to be a “weekend hippie.” Soon, the song was ready to add to the Rubber Soul album. However, as fate would have it, “We Can Work It Out” was released on the same day as Rubber Soul. This foul-up would turn out beautifully as the first “double A-side” vinyl record.
Learn to play “Day Tripper”
20. Three Little Birds – Bob Marley
Bob Marley and the Wailers released the single, “Three Little Birds” in 1980 although it was the fourth selection on side two of their Exodus album from 1977. The song made it to number 17 on the Top 20 (UK). It still is one of Marley’s hottest songs. Artists continue to cover the piece to date. Fans often confuse the song’s title mainly due to the recurrent use of the musical phrase, “Don’t Worry About a Thing” and “Every Little Thing is Gonna Be Alright” in the chorus.
Learn to play “Three Little Birds”
21. Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Red Hot Chili Peppers went through some troubling times during the mid-’90s, but finally, the group released two of their best selling albums. By 1991 the group came out with the album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Then, in 1999, they gave the world Californication, which turned out to be their largest international selling album and single at that time with over 15 million copies in distribution.
Learn to play “Californication”
22. Glycerine – Bush
“Glycerine is yet another song about an artist’s girlfriend. Gavin Rossdale wrote the lyrics about his then model girlfriend, Jasmine Lewis. She was also a backup vocalist on the Sixteen Stone album. Rossdale while sitting in his flat in London, wrote the song in no time. He played it for the band members and felt as though there was something “ancient and mystical” about it. “I was like a conduit,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 2017. “Something about it was bigger than anything we were doing.”
Learn to play “Glycerine”
23. Hotel California – The Eagles
On December 8, 1976, the Eagles released classic hit “Hotel California.” It was a couple of weeks after “Sex Pistols,” Anarchy in the UK. The song was said to revive radio in the US and to do what Bohemian Rhapsody did for the UK. On the face of it, the song broke restrictions on the time format of recordings. It lifted the three-minute rule on airplay and the limitations on the artist’s creativity.
Learn to play “Hotel California”
24. Polly – Nirvana
One of the reasons “Polly” was a hit is because it’s a true story. “Polly” was kidnapped when she was only 14 years old. She was happy to attend a concert in 1987, but she never imagined what would happen on the way back to her home in Tacoma, Washington. Gerald Friend abducted “Polly”. The real-life monster maliciously kidnapped, and raped the little girl. Not only that, but he tortured her with a blowtorch, whip, and razor. Something amazing happened though when he stopped for gas. The determined and strong girl escaped. Serial rapist, Gerald Friend was arrested a couple of days later when he was stopped for a traffic violation.
Learn to play “Polly”
25. Creep – Radiohead
Jonny Greenwood said “Creep” was a happy song about “recognizing what you are.” The lead singer, Thom Yorke, says he “stalked” this girl and she was the inspiration for the song. It’s about being in love, but not really feeling that you’re good enough. Yorke said it kind of makes you feel like “There’s the beautiful people and then there’s the rest of us.” Almost everyone can relate to this feeling, but Yorke wrote it while he was in England attending Exeter University in 1987. However, it did not become a hit until it was released the second time in 1993.
Learn to play “Creep”