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Some consider acoustic guitars the exclusive domain of folk songs and campfire ditties, but the old standby can be used to create some amazing tunes, as the top five acoustic guitar hits of all time reveal. Whether it’s a simple melody or a complex compilation, each of these well-loved tunes features an acoustic guitar element that will knock your socks off. Each song should be a part of any guitar lover’s playlist.
5 “Patience” by Guns N’ Roses
Love them or hate them, Guns N’ Roses could write a tune. Featuring three guitars and recorded in a single session, the song “Patience” was written by guitarist Izzy Stradlin. The song appears on the band’s EP titled “G N’ R Lies,” which sold over five million copies in the US and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200. Although lead guitarist Slash is known for his amazing electric guitar playing, his part in the song shows that he can rock the acoustic guitar as well.
4 “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas
Who knew that a song originally written to help people learn a guitar technique called fingerpicking would become one of the best acoustic guitar songs ever? The song was a last-minute addition to Kansas’ “Point of No Return” album, and it would end up becoming their biggest hit of all time, but would have never made it to the public’s ears had the song writer Kerry Livgren’s wife not suggested that he add lyrics to the fingerpicking tune. The rest, as they say, is history.
3 “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan
Whether you first heard the song through one of the endless cover versions or the Dylan original, pretty much everyone is familiar with this tune. Dylan struck aural gold when he wrote “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” for the film “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.” The guitar chords are super simple, and the basic pattern is just repeated through the entire song, but it still manages to blow your mind with its beauty.
2 “Hotel California” by The Eagles
“Hotel California” is one of the top-rated songs from one of the best-selling albums of all time, but that’s not what makes it one of the best acoustic guitar songs. When The Eagles reunited in 1994, they changed the song to make it a stunning acoustic masterpiece. The dual guitar solo at the end of the song is not only one of the most recognizable riffs of all time; it was also quite an innovative chord progression when it was written. Try listening to the Spanish-music-inspired sounds and not tapping your feet. You can’t do it.
1 “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac
The often-duplicated but never-replicated “Landslide” was written by band member Stevie Nicks in just five minutes. She wrote the song in 1975, prior to joining the band, and it was included on the band’s best-selling album, “Fleetwood Mac,” which became a five-time multiplatinum-selling album in 1986. Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar perfectly accompanies Nicks’ smoky voice.