There’s no doubt that acoustic songs have played a lead role in in rock and roll.
And while we’ve talked about many of these songs and their origins, taught you how to play them and shared many a thought about ‘em, we think it’s time to get down to brass tacks.
While it’s been ridiculously hard to whittle our list down, we now present you with what we think are some of the best acoustic rock songs of all time.
Over the next several weeks we’ll be giving you a chance to vote for your favorites as we aim to name the Best Acoustic Rock Song of All Time presented by TC Electronic!
So come back every day and vote. And check out today’s entries below.
"CLOSER TO THE HEART," RUSH
A Farewell to Kings (1977)
By 1977, Rush had firmly established themselves as fine purveyors of glorious 20-minute sci-fi opuses that could fill entire album sides.
But on this, their fifth studio release, the Canadian prog trio demonstrated their ability to be hooky, concise and, with "Closer to the Heart," radio-friendly. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the song's gentle, ringing 12-string acoustic guitar intro is that it was written by bassist Geddy Lee, rather than guitarist Alex Lifeson.
The same figure is later repeated after a particularly ripping electric guitar solo-only this time the 12-string acoustic is smartly doubled by a six-string electric. When it comes to Rush, of course, the contributions of drummer extraordinaire Neil Peart can never be overlooked. Here, he adds plenty of bells and whistles throughout. Okay ... they're actually chimes.
"STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN," LED ZEPPELIN
Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
Led Zeppelin III was largely an unplugged affair, but "Stairway to Heaven," from the band's follow-up, wins the prize for acoustic guitar excellence.
Jimmy Page's delicately fingerpicked arpeggios made the song Zeppelin's-and rock's-definitive acoustic moment.
Over the years, "Stairway to Heaven" has dominated countless "greatest rock song ever" lists, thanks to its spellbinding mix of lyrical mysticism, compositional and production genius and instrumental virtuosity.
But its most celebrated moment remains Page's unaccompanied intro: whether heard on a radio or played by some pimply kid in a guitar store, all it takes is those first few acoustic guitar notes and you can instantly name that tune.