Top 10 Acoustic Rock Songs: My Picks

Published Categorized as Acoustic Guitar Songs

Of course this is about as subjective a topic as it gets, but check out my picks for the top 10 acoustic rock songs (of all time!) and see if you agree with me.

And feel free to chime in with your opinions in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Table of Contents

Top 10 Acoustic Rock Songs

I have restricted this list to songs that I consider to fit the genre “rock”. As broad a genre as that is, I don’t consider that it includes some things. For example – I saw a Bob Marley song in another top 10 list. A great song and if I do a top 10 acoustic reggae songs it’s definitely one that I will include – but I wouldn’t consider it rock.

So the songs below all fit in to what I consider rock – though I may even use the term more loosely than some others might like!

O.k. let’s get on with the list.

  1. No Excuses
  2. Jane Says
  3. Going to California
  4. Patience
  5. She Talks to Angels
  6. All Apologies
  7. Wish You Were Here
  8. No Rain
  9. Angie
  10. Heart of Gold

Acoustic Rock Song #1

Song: No Excuses

Artist: Alice in Chains

Coming in at #1 is Alice in Chains’ No Excuses. A great track that really is at its best unplugged and unencumbered.

Acoustic Rock Song #2

Song: Jane Says

Artist: Jane’s Addiction

Year: 1987

Undeniably Jane’s Addiction’s most popular song, this acoustic guitar driven track features steel drums and harmonized vocals.

The track was originally released in 1987 and had bongos rather than steel drums.

Acoustic Rock Song #3

Song: Going to California

Artist: Led Zeppelin

Year: 1971

Led Zepp really had to make an appearance here – the question was which song?

I considered a couple of others and finally settled on Going to California. The song is supposedly about Joni Mitchell – who both Page & Plant were apparently both infatuated with.

Acoustic Rock Song #4

Song: Patience

Artist: Guns n Roses

Year: 1988

Guns n Roses classic acoustic number Patience features 3 acoustic guitars in the recording.

Acoustic Rock Song #5

Song: She Talks to Angels

Artist: Black Crowes

Year: 1990

Sorry – still 90s but hard to believe this was released in 1990! Or maybe I’m just getting old 🙂

Acoustic Rock Song #6

Song: All Apologies

Artist: Nirvana

Year: 1994

I could have chosen almost anything from Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged but All Apologies just gets the spot.

Acoustic Rock Song #7

Song: Wish You Were Here

Artist: Pink Floyd

Year: 1975

Retreating back into the 70s now we have probably the most learned acoustic song (maybe after Stairway to Heaven) by rock guitarists – the intro at least.

Acoustic Rock Song #8

Song: No Rain

Artist: Blind Melon

Year: 1993

Skip forward 20 years and we have Blind Melon’s most popular (only?) track. I think it’s the strange mix of upbeat & melancholy that makes me love this song so much.

O.k. so there?s acoustic and electric in this song but it’s the acoustic sound that really drives the song.

Acoustic Rock Song #9

Song: Angie

Artist: Rolling Stones

Year: 1973

Just one year after Heart of Gold, Rolling Stones released Angie.

My girlfriend used to think Mick sang “Angel” in this song! Regardless of what he’s singing this is classic Rolling Stones unplugged. It was hard to go past Wild Horses but Angie just got the nudge.

Acoustic Rock Song #10

Song: Heart of Gold

Artist: Neil Young

Year: 1972

This 1972 Neil Young classic had to make the list. Nothing special guitar wise but a great tune all the same.

Your Opinion?

O.k., so this list is very heavy on the 70s, 80s and 90s. Did rock die after that? Can you think of any great acoustic rock songs since? I’d love to hear of any – just leave a comment below.

Also if you think anything doesn’t belong here or of any song that is a travesty to leave off the list also mention it in the comments below. I might just bring it in if I think it can unseat any of the current songs.

Other rankings I made:

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 :-)

10 comments

  1. I think a really good acoustic rock song is Hurt by Johnny Cash. Now I realise he isn’t renowned as a rock artist, but this particular song is very powerful and really gets me inside.

    Another that deserves mention is Hotel California by the Eagles.

    As for more recent music, I rarely listen to modern music, I’m pretty old school at heart and happy to stay there.

    Jay

    1. Hey Jay – thanks for your input.

      I also love Hurt by Johnny Cash – and also the original Nine Inch Nails version but I agree that the Cash version would be more appropriate here as it’s the more acoustic guitar focused version.

      Hotel California also worthy of mention – thanks for bringing that one up.

  2. Fantastic Article!! I LOVED the fact that you provided videos to each of your 10 choices. Who doesn’t love a good acoustic jam? Although your number 2 should be your number 1 and vice versa. I tend to like Jane;s Addiction more than Alice in Chains. Jane’s actually just did a show in Pittsburgh. It was beyond awesome!

    1. Hey John – thanks for visiting – appreciate the input. Didn’t even realize Jane’s Addiction were still around. Awesome though – would have been a sweet show!

  3. This is a great list. Of course you could play with it for days and replace this song for that song if you really wanted to debate the topic.

    But by just looking over the list, I’d 100% be happy with it if I were stuck on a deserted island Ha!

    The one and only song from this list I’d replace would be Guns and Roses. I just don’t like them. At all. I’m in the minority, I know, but blah! So I’d replace Patience with Creep by Radio Head. NOW it’s a perfect list of rock acoustic songs! 🙂 Thanks for putting this together. Time to make an acoustic playlist on my iPhone.

    1. Hey Stephen – thanks for your input.

      I completely didn’t even think of Creep – but yeah totally a classic acoustic rock song, and a great sing a long. And super easy to teach someone how to play it – it’s the same 4 chords throughout the song!

  4. Thank you that was a great list I have to say I agree with most of the ones you picked. It was great to be able to go through and listen to them all. You provided a nice peaceful afternoon where I just hung out and listened to good music, thank you for that. I do have one question, what is your favorite artist not on the list of songs you picked?

    1. Hey Mark

      Thanks for your input and I’m glad you were able to have a chilled afternoon listening to the songs on this list.

      I always find favorite artist a tough one – but if I was to narrow it down to the genre of rock and to a rock artist that also have acoustic tracks then I’d probably have to say the Black Keys – though the acoustic influence is pretty minor and I couldn’t think of a track that was purely acoustic guitar of theirs that could top any of the other top 10’s here.

      Plus I guess you could argue that they’re more like modern blues. But yeah that’s my very vague answer to your question!

  5. I have to say, I wouldn’t consider Neil Young to be Rock, he’s more acoustic and soft, CSNY did have rock sounding songs though for sure. I’m shocked that there are no Beatles songs on the list, at the very least Revolution should be there. And of course, I think no list is complete without Led Zeplin – Stairway to Heaven, and The Eagles – Hotel California. All in all good list!

    1. Hi Rachel

      Thanks for your input. Neil young to me is soft rock. But I get your point.

      Revolution isn’t acoustic rock, IMO. But there is certainly some beatles acoustic stuff that could be in there.

      Stairway to heaven was definitely considered but felt almost too cliche to include – but it’s a classic for sure

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