Top 100 Best Campfire Guitar Songs Of All Time (2023)

Published Categorized as Acoustic Guitar Songs

Are you about to head out into the wilderness? Don’t forget to take your acoustic guitar with you! But, what will you play? Wouldn’t it be helpful if there were a list of the best campfire guitar songs for quick and easy reference?

Well, desire no longer, for this is precisely what you have before you!

100. “Dust In The Wind” by Kansas

Kansas’s only single to reach the top ten in the US, the original 45-rpm single was certified Gold for sales of one million units by the RIAA shortly after the height of its popularity as a hit single. The song was then certified 3x Platinum by the RIAA on November 26, 2019, which makes it the second song by the band to reach platinum after “Carry on Wayward Son.”

Who knew campfire songs could be so successful on the acoustic guitar?

99. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan

98. “Talking To The Moon” by Bruno Mars

97. “A-O-K” by Tai Verdes

96. “Imagine” by John Lennon

95. “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran

Recorded for his second studio album, x (2014), this track was written by Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge, and produced by frequent collaborator Jake Gosling. It was released in the US on 24 September 2014 as the album’s third single.

In the UK, the song spent 19 weeks within the top 40 before peaking at number one in early November 2014; it became Sheeran’s second number-one single there. As always, we have Ed Sheeran playing guitar on this track with his classic Mini Martin acoustic.

94. “Hotel California” by The Eagles

93. “No Woman No Cry” by Bob Marley

92. “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals

91. “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic

90. “Everlong” by Foo Fighters

Released in August 1997 as the second single from their second studio album, The Colour and the Shape (1997), this song reached number three on the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart and the Canadian RPM Rock/Alternative chart.

“Everlong” was actually the last song performed live by former drummer Taylor Hawkins before his death in March 2022. As a result of his death, streams of the song increased and charted on the Billboard Global 200 at #123, the band’s first appearance on the chart.

Play along with the official music video and tab here.

89. “Where’s My Love” by SYML

88. “Take Me To Church” by Hozier

87. “Beach Baby” by Bon Iver

86. “Let Her Go” by Passenger

Such a wonderful song as this is deserving of everyone’s attention, even in the unlikely circumstance that they haven’t already heard it blaring over the speaker system of every supermarket or retail store, or on every advert, or even as the fuel to your favorite meme.

Given how ubiquitous this song is, and how wide spread it has become as a popular cultural tenet, in this decade as in the previous (and throughout the century for that matter), it seems almost like a rite of passage to learn this song, for each and every one of us ukulele enthusiasts to learn the ukulele chords Let Her Go is comprised of.

The ubiquity of this song doesn’t simply lie in its popularity; the lyrics are also brimming with universal messages of heartache and love loss. It’s no surprise that this song is so widely loved now!

Whether you play along on guitar or ukulele you will have a grand old time.

85. “Come A Little Closer” by Cage The Elephant

84. “Sign Of The Times” by Harry Styles

83. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash

In 2002, Johnny Cash covered this song originally penned by Nine Inch Nails for his album, American IV: The Man Comes Around. Its accompanying video (featured below), featuring images from Cash’s life and directed by Mark Romanek, was named the best video of the year by the Grammy Awards and CMA Awards, and the best video of all time by NME in July 2011. The Cash single also contains a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” as a B-side.

82. “Sex On Fire” by Kings Of Leon

81. “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls

80. “Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton

79. “Be My Mistake” by the 1975

This track is the sixth song on their third studio album, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, which, despite not being an official single from the album, charted on the New Zealand and U.S. rock charts anyhow.

Lead singer Matty Healy described the song as about guilt, further explaining that “it’s about when you are a young person and you struggle sometimes to figure out what you really want. And sometimes, like a lot of things, it requires you to make a mistake before you actually understand what you have.”

78. “Belief” by John Mayer

77. “Us” by James Bay

76. “Too Much To Ask” by Niall Horan

75. “Hunger Strike” by Temple Of The Dog

74. “7 Years” by Lukas Graham

73. “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees

Originally written by Neil Diamond and recorded by American band the Monkees in 1966 with the lead vocals by Micky Dolenz, the original single was produced by Jeff Barry and hit the number-one spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week ending December 31, 1966, remaining there for seven weeks, thus becoming the last number-one hit of 1966 and the biggest-selling single for all of 1967.

Billboard described the song as ‘an easy-go dance mover’ that ‘will hit with immediate impact’. Cash Box said the single is a “medium-paced rocker [that] is full of the group’s top-notch harmonies and is laced with infectious sounds.” Record World said it was “sensational.”

72. “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne

71. “You’re Somebody Else” by Flora Cash

70. “Wonderwall” by Oasis

Written by lead guitarist and chief songwriter Noel Gallagher, the song was subsequently produced by Gallagher and Owen Morris for the band’s second studio album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? which was released in 1995. According to Gallagher himself, “Wonderwall” describes “an imaginary friend who’s gonna come and save you from yourself”.

“Wonderwall” is written in the key of F♯ minor and is set in common time with a moderate dance groove. Liam Gallagher’s voice ranges from an E3 to an F♯4 in the song, making this an easy track to pick up and play along to, which you can do yourself by following along with the tab.

69. “Be Alright” by Dean Lewis

68. “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey

Released in October 1981 as the second single from the group’s seventh studio album, Escape, , the track shares writing credits between the band’s vocalist Steve Perry, guitarist Neal Schon, and keyboardist Jonathan Cain.

At the dawn of the 1980s, Journey was becoming one of the most successful rock acts of the era. The band added Cain on keyboards before entering the studio to record Escape. Cain had kept the song title from the encouragement his father gave him as a struggling musician living on Los Angeles’ Sunset Boulevard. The song is unusual in that its chorus does not arrive until it is nearly finished, something that a hit song would not be able to get away with nowadays.

Cover versions have included the cast of the American comedy-drama Glee in 2009, which outperformed the original internationally, a cover which many might even remember better than the original. Nevertheless, this is a classic rock song worthy of merit if only for its popularity and grandeur.

67. “Shotgun” by George Ezra

66. “Hey Jude” by The Beatles

The writing and recording of this track coincided with a period of upheaval in the Beatles. The ballad evolved from “Hey Jules”, a song McCartney wrote to comfort John Lennon’s young son Julian after Lennon had left his wife for the Japanese artist Yoko Ono. The lyrics espouse a positive outlook on a sad situation, while also encouraging “Jude” to pursue his opportunities to find love.

Of course, we all know this by now, as well as we know the several-minute-long refrain at the end too.

65. “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz

64. “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is obviously one of the greats and this is one of his biggest hits, a seminal rite of passage for any budding guitarist wanting to learn the ropes via one of the greatest to ever do it. Follow along with the tab here.

63. “All The Pretty Girls” by Kaleo

62. “Patience” by Guns N’ Roses

61. “Everything I Do” by Bryan Adams

60. “What It Is” by Mark Knopfler

59. “Between The Bars” by Elliot Smith

Any such list of campfire guitar songs would be remiss without mentioning the late and great singer-songwriter extraordinaire Elliott Smith. There are a whole bunch of his songs that I could otherwise have included here, and really in my opinion there is something special about each one of his songs, all of which are imbued with that uniquely beautiful harmonic and melodic sense that still leads him to reverence today.

These were the early days of Smith’s output before he became reasonably better emotionally and became a staple of outsider folk and rock music, and though there is charm to all his discography, this is certainly my favorite area of his work, even if only for having been there for me when I needed it most. And say what you like about the man, he never would use the same chord progression twice, which says a lot considering how complex his fingerstyle patterns could be in the space of his songs.

58. “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads

57. “The Man’s Too Strong” by Dire Straits

56. “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles

55. “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi

54. “This Love” by Maroon 5

53. “My Hero” by Foo Fighters

52. “Blue Jeans” by Lana Del Rey

51. “I’m One” by The Who

50. “Lua” by Bright Eyes

49. “Fade To Black” by Metallica

What better way to eschew the norm than by learning a Metallica song while learning to read standard music notation? Sure, the solos toward the latter half of the song are a bit tricky, but the main riff should be easy enough for you to pick up.

You could certainly just learn ‘Enter Sandman’, but isn’t that what everyone else learns when they are starting out learning guitar? Don’t you want to stand out a little?

48. “Rude” by MAGIC!

47. “Welcome Home, Son” by Radical Face

46. “Chan Chan” by Buena Vista Social Club

45. “Naked As We Came” by Iron & Wine

44. “Scenes From A Wedding” by Bryan Away

43. “Yellow Squash” by Jaymison

42. “Riptide” by Vance Joy

41. “Good Riddance” by Green Day

This song was utterly humungous, with its rebellious teen spirit and boogie bass riffs, all slathered with a smattering of power chords that would make Jimi Hendrix turn in his grave.

40. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver

39. “Photograph” by Nickelback

38. “Yellow” by Coldplay

Before Coldplay lost themselves to the temptations of fame and fortune, they released their debut album Parachutes which featured the hit single “Yellow”. This was a time when there was very little pretense to their music, where the concepts and the grand gestures were nowhere to be seen. There was an incredible spaciousness to some of their earlier material.

Though this is no longer the case, you can thankfully relive this time through the power chords and sus chords that were left behind in the wake, reigniting the color Yellow like a brand new sunrise. Modern music lost a key player when the tablature grew faded and crumbled away…

37. “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show

36. “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison

Campfire guitar songs scarcely come more ubiquitous than this excitable and heartfelt number by Northern Irish disturber of the peace Van Morrison, featured as it in next to any romantic comedy type movie featuring an eponymously titled Brown Eyed Girl.

When he’s not busy contributing to outmoded flings of thought – anti-vax and anti-mask and pandemic propaganda for example – it is, or at least was, within his power to write a stomper.

Like this one for instance. Considered by many to be Van Morrison’s signature song, it came to life in 1967 during a two-day recording session, wherein he recorded eight songs intended to be released as four singles for his new label, Bang Records, Brown Eyed Girl being captured on the 22nd take on the first day of recording.

Typical of Van Morrison’s ever so slightly old-fashioned and questionable worldview, the song was originally titled ‘Brown Skinned Girl’, though this was changed during the recording process: ‘That was just a mistake. It was a kind of Jamaican song. Calypso. It just slipped my mind [that] I changed the title… After we’d recorded it, I looked at the tape box and didn’t even notice that I’d changed the title. I looked at the box where I’d lain it down with my guitar and it said ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ on the tape box. It’s just one of those things that happen.’

Though the song’s nostalgic lyrics about a former love affair about a former love were considered too racy to be played by many radio stations at the time, this is one of those easy guitar love songs that has become fodder for such oldies stations now, one of very few 60’s classics still in heavy rotation.

35. “Scar Tissue” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

34. “More Than A Feeling” by Boston

33. “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond

32. “Salt And The Sea” by The Lumineers

31. “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac

30. “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran

29. “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood

28. “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson

27. “More Than Words” by Extreme

26. “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M

25. “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

This worldwide hit by singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman should need no introduction. This mammoth track took the world by storm upon release in 1988, receiving even more radio play when Chapman performed at the 70th Birthday Party Tribute to civil rights icon and worldwide inspiration Nelson Mandela.

Stevie Wonder was meant to perform after her set but, due to technical difficulties, was unable to do so. Thus, Chapman was urged back onto the stage where she performed this song and another while the event organizers worked on readying the next act for lift-off.

24. “Where Is The Love?” by The Black Eyed Peas

23. “Dancing Queen” by ABBA

22. “Island in the Sun” by Weezer

Weezer has long been the placeholder for geeks who wish to adjourn into the halls of rock but know not how to do it. This song sees them branching into more commercial territory which you will see when following along with the tab.

21. “Take It Easy” by Eagles

20. “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers

19. “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

18. “Sunshine Of Your Love” by Cream

17. “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones

It’s hard to conceive of just how much of a fuss this song made back in the day. This is, after all, a time when Christianity still reigned supreme in many American households, so to hear a song like this which so openly dealt with themes of sexual frustration would have riled up the populous, even if it was thinly veiled in its own way.

So, why not take a trip back to a time when this was enough to rile up a nation, with this guitar tab? Better yet, try learning the acoustic guitar and the guitar solo.

16. “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes

What makes this song really stand out on this list is the fact that it is one of, if not the only songs on the list where the guitar solo occurs in the intro of the song. This is an altogether underrated and underappreciated phenomenon that can be seen when analyzing the tab in greater detail.

15. “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King

14. “Come As You Are” by Nirvana

Cobain himself claims that he only took a month’s worth of guitar lessons, learning the basic cowboy chords – the open-position chords that almost beginners are called upon to learn as a matter of progression. Following this, little is known, though we can presume that he experimented very much at his own behest, composing his own songs.

It is his compositional sense that marks Kurt Cobain’s guitars from others of the era, a constant foresight with the eventual Nirvana songs always considered throughout the process.

This overall simplicity is present in all his music, though never to the detriment of the song.

13. “American Pie” by Don McLean

12. “With or Without You” by U2

11. “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw

10. “Let It Be” by The Beatles

Even mega Beatles fans can forget that there is actually a guitar solo in this song, and that’s okay! We all make mistakes, even if that mistake is forgetting about one of the easiest guitar solos ever. Follow the tab to find out just how easy it is!

Here you can find some of the most valuable Beatles albums of all time.

9. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

8. “Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin

Now known as the banned riff, it seems as though the story of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven being banned has been around forever.

The original joke began in the 1992 movie Wayne’s World. Wayne’s World was a movie that evolved from a very popular skit on Saturday Night Live. The movie features best friends Wayne and Garth (both fans of rock and metal) starting a cable-access TV show and then trying to promote it.

In the movie, there’s a scene where the two characters go into a guitar store. One picks out a guitar and starts to play the opening to Stairway to Heaven. But the manager runs up and puts his hand over the strings to stop the sound. He even points up at a bold blue and white sign reading “NO Stairway to Heaven.” The character then looks at the camera and says “No Stairway! Denied!”

Interestingly enough, the movie didn’t have the character play the exact riff, as that could have led to copyright infringement issues. But they made sure what he played was still recognizable as the famous (or infamous) riff.

7. “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty

6. “Like A Stone” by Audioslave

5. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

The song is by Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, first appearing on their sophomore album Second Helping from 1974. The song was written in response to Neil Young’s ‘Southern Man’, which was released in 1970, because it took the entire South to task for the bloody history of slavery and its aftermath, and rightfully so, in my opinion, Young is name-checked in the lyrics to ‘Sweet Home Alabama’.

None of the three writers of the song were from Alabama. Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington were both born in Jacksonville, Florida, while Ed King was from Glendale, California. In an interview with Garden & Gun, Rossington breaks down the writing process. ‘I had this little riff,’ he said. ‘It’s the little picking part and I kept playing it over and over when we were waiting on everyone to arrive for rehearsal. Ronnie and I were sitting there, and he kept saying, ‘play that again’. Then Ronnie wrote the lyrics and Ed and I wrote the music.’

‘Sweet Home Alabama’ was a major chart hit for a band whose previous singles had ‘lazily sauntered out into release with no particular intent’, according to certain sources.

Ed King, the song’s co-writer, contradicted his former bandmates in a 2009 post on his website, claiming that the tune was originally intended as the unabashed defense of Alabama, even Gov. Wallace, that almost all of the song seems to be:

‘I can understand where the ‘boo boo boo’ would be misunderstood. It’s not us going ‘boo’ … it’s what the Southern man hears the Northern man say every time the Southern man’d say ‘In Birmingham we love the gov’nor’. Get it? ‘We all did what we could do!’ to get Wallace elected. It’s not a popular opinion but Wallace stood for the average white guy in the South. ‘Watergate doesn’t bother me’ because that stuff happens in politics… but someone’s conscience ought to bother them for what happened to Wallace.

‘Arthur Bremer may or may not have been a yankee but he sure destroyed whatever chance Wallace had to be president. And hardly anyone in America noticed. I still like the plaque that hangs here in my office that says I’m an honorary member of the Alabama State Militia… signed personally by George C. Sure, the man had his flaws. But he spoke for the common man of the South. And, whoa, I’m gonna get in trouble over this whole dang post!’

4. “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol

3. “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri

2. “Cleaner Air” by Yeek

1. “Africa” by Toto

Finally, to round up the list we have a classic track by Toto which appeared as the tenth and final track on their fourth studio album Toto IV. It was released as a single in the US through Columbia Records in October 1982, the album’s third single overall and second in Europe.

Critics praised its composition and gentle production; the song continues to receive critical acclaim and has been noted as one of the greatest songs of all time by Rolling Stone. Equally, though, the romanticized and geographically inaccurate portrayal of Africa has attracted some scrutiny.

Final Tones

So, there you have it! Hopefully, you have now found at least one or two campfire guitar songs from this list for you to take on your camping trip with you!

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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