The guitar is a popular instrument used in many song genres, whether it be pop, classical, rock, jazz, indie… the list goes on. With a properly tuned guitar, players can create diverse music that’s able to touch the mind and soul. Truly, we cannot imagine life at present without the guitar and its great contribution to the world of music.
If you’re interested in learning more about guitar, either as a hobby or doing advanced lessons, visit a reliable and dedicated music website, such as MusicianAuthority.com, for more information.
We’ve rounded up what we believe to be the 10 best guitar songs of all time. We look forward to hearing your thoughts. Here we go…
10. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
This Single from Nirvana’s Nevermind, which came out in 1991, was the song that shot the band to great fame. There’s a distinct and distorted guitar riff in the song that served as an anthem for the confused young generation at that time; struggling to make sense of the world around them.
The introduction of alternative rock to mainstream is partly attributed to the success of this song and the band in general.
9. Allman Brothers Band – Statesboro Blues
Blind Willie McTell is the original writer of this classic song which was covered by The Allman Brothers Band. Statesboro Blues was released under their 1971 album “At Fillmore East.” The band was inspired by Taj Mahal, an American blues musician.
In the band’s version, they added a slide guitar that sounded like the “moaning and squealing opening licks that have given fans chills at the live show.”
8. Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven
Jimmy Page, the guitar player of the band, wanted to try something new with a song that has an organ and acoustic guitar build-up. The way the guitar is played aims to tell a story that unravels slowly as the song progresses, paired with vocals earnest intones.
As the song goes on, it moves to the twin 12-strings and the electric piano culminating in one big finish.
7. The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
This song was written by George Harrison, the band’s lead guitarist, after his return from India, where the Beatles studied Transcendental Meditation.
This song is famously known as George’s “recommitment to rock” and his return to the guitar as his primary instrument. For the past two years, he focused on playing the Indian Sitar.
6. Van Halen – Eruption
As opposed to the previous songs mentioned here, which includes vocals, Van Halen’s Eruption is an instrumental song. This is a guitar solo made famous by Eddie Van Halen by playing it in clubs.
This song introduced the two-handed tapping technique to the mainstream audience of rock.
5. Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar
This song was the creation of Mick Jagger, written during the filming of Ned Kelly.
The success of the song is attributed to its good groove with a mess of lyrics that even Mick said should be censored today.
4. The Kinks – You Really Got Me
This song was heavily influenced by rock musicians and built around a guitar riff that’s played by Dave Davies, the band’s lead guitarist. It’s composed of power chords and described as a love song for the street kids.
It was released on August 4, 1964, and is the band’s third single to reach number one in the UK charts and made its way to number 36 at the Billboard Hot 100.
3. Cream – Crossroads
This song was originally written and recorded by American blues artist Robert Johnson. He usually performs this with his acoustic guitar.
Cream started performing it in July 1966 where they gave it a twist and featured a guitar riff, upbeat instrumental backing and soloing.
2. Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze
This is the second record single released under the Jimi Hendrix Experience, an invitation to listen to Jimi’s psychedelic rock sound.
The guitar playing in this song is inventive, using the signature Hendrix chord. Although it’s written as a love song, the lyrics are vague, therefore the audience often refers to it as a psychedelic experience; largely because of how it’s played.
1. Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode
This song, written by Chuck Berry, is a story about a boy named Johnny B. Goode, who plays the guitar like ringing a bell. Johnny was originally a ‘colored boy’, which was later changed to a ‘country boy’.
Berry recorded the opening guitar riff of the song, which is a copy of Louis Jordan’s “Ain’t That Just Like a Woman.” This song is one of a kind as it was considered probably the first song that talks about the possibility of a musician making money by playing the guitar.
This list spans generations and decades. Great musicians harnessed the power of the guitar and pushed it to create new possibilities and satisfy the craving of the soul for good music, which will undoubtedly leave a mark on this world.
There are no limits to the possibilities, don’t be afraid to create your own music by picking up your guitar and simply starting to play.