I was in a mellow mood the other day and started picking out soft acoustic guitar songs to listen to. I realized I hadn't made a list in a long time, so I began writing down my favorites. In order to narrow it down, I decided that the songs had to feature the acoustic guitar and not a band sound, so generally that meant no drums (thus I had to drop songs like Mrs. Robinson and other similar songs, which are brilliant but aren't as straightforward guitar-centric as I wished) or other instruments that distract from the music. I made exceptions where I felt the guitar really stood out and the other instruments didn't really take away from it.
1. Kathy's Song by Simon and Garfunkel -- The live version from their Greatest Hits album. My all-time favorite soft guitar song.
2. Father and Son by Cat Stevens -- One of the few songs that can bring a tear to my eyes. The most beautiful song by an artist who created many such songs.
3. Pigs on the Wing (Part 1) by Pink Floyd -- Okay so it's short and a bit odd, but I just love it. The guitar sounds so simple, but try to learn it yourself and you will see the amazing little touches that make it harder than it seems.
4. Yesterday by The Beatles -- One of the only purely acoustic songs done by The Beatles, and easily the most lovely.
5. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac -- The vocals and the guitar are both simply amazing.
6. Famous Blue Raincoat by Leonard Cohen -- Sad and haunting
7. Scarborough Fair/Canticle by Simon and Garfunkel -- When you are in mood for soft and pretty, this song pretty much defines it, and I love the guitar harmonics at the end.
8. Tangerine by Led Zeppelin -- This song has some drum in it, but it comes in the middle and the parts of this song that really blow me away are all acoustic, the beginning and the incredible outro.
9. Homeward Bound by Simon and Garfunkel -- Lots of these two up at the top, but that's because of how amazing they are at creating gorgeous acoustic songs. I prefer the live version from their Greatest Hits.
10. Mother Nature's Son by The Beatles -- I used to sing my sons to sleep with this song, so by the age of two they could sing all the lyrics quite well.
11. Trouble by Cat Stevens -- It's hard not to use the same adjectives over and over for all these songs. All I can say is that I love this song, but just a touch less than the ones above!
12. Me and Bobby McGee by Kris Kristofferson -- The grating version by Janis Joplin is more famous for some reason, but Kristofferson wrote the song and his version is far better, in my opinion.
13. Going to California by Led Zeppelin -- Jimmy Page's acoustic skills are highly underrated.
14. Suzanne by Leonard Cohen -- I grew up listening to Leonard Cohen because my mom loved him. He had to grow on me, but when I'm in certain moods he is terrific.
15. Goodbye Blue Sky by Pink Floyd -- I love the guitar on this so much; I probably play this song more than any other on my guitar.
16. Seasons by Chris Cornell -- Cornell is one of the greatest singer/songwriters of my generation, just after Maynard James Keenan in my opinion, and though he is best known for his heavy rock with Soundgarden, he can write some really great acoustic songs when he wants.
17. Never Going Back Again by Fleetwood Mac -- Lindsey Buckingham is easily one of the greatest singer/guitarists ever. He has a lot of songs greater than this, but those are mostly with a full band sound, and this is still a great song with some wonderful fingerpicking.
18. Can't Find My Way Home by Blind Faith -- Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood together, what more needs to be said?
19. Dust in the Wind by Kansas -- I heard this song so much in my youth that I'm a little tired of it, but you can't deny how great it is.
20. Dead Man by Pearl Jam -- Eddie Vedder is another of the rare brilliant singer/songwriters of my generation.
21. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy) by Simon and Garfunkel -- Again, I prefer the version from their Greatest Hits album.
22. The Moonbeam Song by Harry Nilsson -- Harry was a bit eccentric and perhaps a bit of a genius, too.
23. Parachutes by Coldplay -- A tiny and pretty little tune.
24. Bookends by Simon and Garfunkel -- See Parachutes
25. I couldn't decide between several Donovan songs here, so I'll mention London Town, Codine, Catch the Wind, and Colours.
Yes, there are all kinds of soft songs that beat out some on this list, but they mostly failed to meet the test of what I was looking for in particular here. However, I'm sure you can tell me ones that I really did miss such as Bob Dylan. Well, I'm not a huge fan of his acoustic songs, though I really do love some of his other work, like Romance in Durango and Black Diamond Bay and Hurricane.
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