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.
"DUST IN THE WIND," KANSAS
Point of Know Return (1977)
When Vicci Livgren overheard her husband, Kansas guitarist Kerry, practicing finger exercises on his acoustic one day, she told him she heard a song there and suggested he add some lyrics. He listened, and the result was "Dust in the Wind."
A departure from Kansas' characteristic prog-rock bombast, "Dust in the Wind" was a stark, plaintive meditation on the meaning of life.
While many assume that the track features a 12-string acoustic, the rich unplugged sound is actually the result of multiple six-strings (a few in Nashville tuning), played by Livgren and co-guitarist Rich Williams.
The song became Kansas' only Top-10 single, charting at Number 6 in 1978. In the years since, it has become something of a cultural touchstone, popping up everywhere from TV shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy to movies like Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and Old School.
”FIRE AND RAIN,” JAMES TAYLOR
Dreamboat Annie (1976)
Released as a single off of ‘Sweet Baby James’ during the winter of 1970, “Fire and Rain” the song has garnered much love at attention over the years. Reaching #3 on the charts and continuing to be one of Taylor’s most well-known songs, the hit has not faded as time has passed.
Written about many heavy topics, Taylor said on VH1’s Storyteller’s that the song was about multiple incidents early on in his career, later revealing that the song was about the death of Taylor’s childhood friend Suzanne, his struggle to overcome depression and drug addiction, and coming to terms with fame and the responsibilities and consequences that come along with it, as well as the journey he took to get to the place he was in.
In 2011, Rolling Stone named “Fire and Rain” as #227 on the list of 500 greatest songs of all time. Taylor only continued to garner more success after the release of the single, and is a beautiful, melancholic composition on the struggles that life often presents.