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.
“WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE,” BON JOVI
Slippery When Wet (1986)
The story is legend: Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora ride into the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards, do the acoustic-duo thing on “Wanted Dead or Alive,” and before you can say “dreadnought,” the Unplugged series is born. The song is no slouch either.
On it, Sambora lays down some fancy acoustic finger work, picking out descending arpeggios and bluesy bends as JBJ rolls his fascination with the Old West into a story about the weariness of life on the road. The result was a smash hit, insuring that Bon Jovi would see a million faces and rock them all for many years to come.
“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 Six 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.