Top 10 Acoustic Songs of All Time

by Jessica Brandon
Acoustic songs have been associated with the early days of folk music, but the stripped-down sound, without electric guitars, tends to go hand-in-hand with songwriting. Here is the list of the Top 10 Acoustic songs.
10. “More Than Words” – Extreme
“More Than Words” is a ballad written and originally performed by the rock band Extreme. It is built around acoustic guitar work by Nuno Bettencourt and the vocals of Gary Cherone (with harmony vocals from Bettencourt). Released in 1990 on the album Extreme II: Pornograffiti, the song marked a departure from the funk metal that had permeated the band’s style previous to its release.
9. “Angie” – The Rolling Stones
“Angie” is a song by rock and roll band The Rolling Stones, featured on their 1973 album Goats Head Soup. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and recorded in November and December 1972, “Angie” is an acoustic guitar driven ballad which tells of the end of a romance.
8. “Going to California” – Led Zeppelin
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page supposedly wrote the folk sounding ‘Going to California’ partly about Joni Mitchell, who was often cited as the inspiration for the lines, “To find a Queen without a King/They say she plays guitar and cries, and sings.” The song appeared on 1971’s ‘Led Zeppelin IV,’ an album universally praised as one of the best rock albums ever.
7. “Classical Gas” – Mason Williams
“Classical Gas” is the only intsrumental song on the list. This instrumental musical piece composed and originally performed by guitarist Mason Williams. Originally released in 1968 on the album The Mason Williams Phonograph Record, it has been re-recorded and re-released numerous times since by Williams. One later version served as the title track of a 1987 album by Williams and the orchestra Mannheim Steamroller. Williams re-recorded “Classical Gas” as a solo guitar piece on his 1970 album Handmade. In 1969, the piece won three Grammy Awards: Best Instrumental Composition, Best Contemporary-Pop Performance, Instrumental, and Best Instrumental Arrangement.
6. “Tears in Heaven” – Eric Clapton
“Tears in Heaven” is a ballad written by guitar-god Eric Clapton and Will Jennings about the pain Clapton felt following the death of his four-year-old son, Conor, who fell from a window of the 53rd-floor New York apartment of his mother’s friend, on March 20, 1991.
5. “I Will Remember You” – Sarah McLachlan
“I Will Remember You” is a song written by Sarah McLachlan, Séamus Egan and Dave Merenda (16th Annual USA Songwriting Competition winner). The song first appeared on the soundtrack to the movie The Brothers McMullen in 1995, and was featured on her remix album Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff. It became a hit when McLachlan released a live version of the song from her 1999 album Mirrorball placing at #14 in the US on July 20, 1999, after reaching the Top 40 on June 8. The song also earned McLachlan a Grammy Award in 1999.
4. “Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac
Stevie Nicks wrote Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 hit ‘Landslide’ before joining the band, when she and guitarist boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham. “Landslide” is Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten hit song written by Stevie Nicks and performed by Fleetwood Mac. It was first featured on the band’s 1975 album Fleetwood Mac. It was released as a single 23 years later from the live reunion album The Dance. The country group Dixie Chicks then covered “Landslide” on their 2002 Home album. This rendition, featuring the group’s trademark two- and three-part harmonies reached the Top 10 of both the pop (#7) and country charts (#2) as well as several other charts. It became the Dixie Chicks’ only #1 single (to date) on the adult contemporary chart. Lead singer Natalie Maines said she was attracted, in part, to the song because she was then the same age that Nicks was when she initially performed it.
3. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” – Bob Dylan
This song is written and performed by Bob Dylan for the soundtrack of the 1973 film Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. It reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. This song has been covered by many music artists such as Eric Clapton, Guns N’Roses, Warren Zevon, U2, Babyface, Avril Lavigne, etc.
Adele, singer-songwriter

Adele, Singer-songwriter. Her song "Someone Like You" named one of the Top Acoustic songs ever recorded

2 “Someone Like You” – Adele
“Someone Like You” is a song by British singer-songwriter Adele. Written by Adele and Dan Wilson for her second studio album “21”, the song was inspired by a broken relationship of hers, and lyrically it speaks of Adele coming to terms with it. This song was performed and recorded with just piano and vocals in Adele’s home. This is also the first #1 hit in the Billboard Hot 100 Charts that is recorded with just piano and vocals, this song hit #1 in 2011, making this the newest song on the Top 10. Adele is also the first ever British female singer to spawn two consecutive number one singles from the same album.
1. “Yesterday” – The Beatles
This popular Lennon & McCartney song features McCartney playing an Epiphone Texan steel-string acoustic guitar backed by a string quartet in one of the Beatles’ first use of session musicians, “Yesterday” has two contrasting sections, differing in melody and rhythm, producing a sense of disjunction. This song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts in 1965. At one time, Guinness World Records cited “Yesterday” with the most cover versions of any song ever written at 1,600.
The Top 10 list is provided by IAMA. For more information on IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), visit: http://www.inacoustic.com

6 Responses to “Top 10 Acoustic Songs of All Time”

  1. bobby mccormick says:

    I would love to see the top 100.

  2. Herb Ernst says:

    “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “The Rose” and “It was a Very Good Year” all belong somewhere high on a list like this!

  3. biznelly says:

    really? really????

  4. Chris W James says:

    I agree with #3. The rest you missed the mark with. Also, acoustic versions by the artist of a particular popular song seem left out.

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