10 Easy Four Chord Songs for Guitar
Posted by William Toms on August 12, 2016 at 2:44 PM
While it's true that you really only need three chords to play a hit song, imagine the possibilities at hand when you add a fourth to the mix! Below are 10 classic hits, crafted using just four chords, easy to play for beginner guitarist yet fun enough to play to entertain even the most veteran players.
"Stand By Me" Ben E. King
Widely recognized as one of the greatest songs ever written, this one cracked the Top 10 twice—once on its release in 1961, and again in 1986 as the theme to the film of the same name.
"Wonderful Tonight" Eric Clapton
This ode to Pattie Boyd, first wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, was written by Clapton while waiting for her to get ready to attend a party hosted by Paul and Linda McCartney.
"Blowin' in the Wind" Bob Dylan
Written by Bob Dylan and famously covered by Peter, Paul & Mary, this poetic theme asks, "How many roads must a man walk down?" We're not sure—though the answer, my friend, is likely not "42."
"Drift Away" Dobie Gray
"Give me the Beach Boys and free my soul ..." Thankfully, our guitar chord songs come with the correct lyrics! Quick tip: if you're strumming this one on your acoustic guitar, transpose it down a step to A, so you can use open chords on the tune (A, E, D, and Bm, instead of B, F#, E, and C#m).
"Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" Creedence Clearwater Revival
According to John Fogerty, this melancholy hit wasn't about Vietnam or 1960s idealism but rather an expose on the tension and unhappiness of CCR's members, despite being one of the biggest bands in the world.
"Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" The Clash
This is one of our favorite rock guitar chord riffs of all time! And did you know that the Spanish backing vocals are actually Ecuadorian Spanish and were a spur of the moment addition?
"No Woman No Cry" Bob Marley
We're talking the live version here, the one that appears on Marley's 1975 Live! album and subsequently on his best-selling compilation Legend. According to Rolling Stone, Marley gave his friend Vincent Ford a songwriting credit on this track, so that Ford could use the royalties to keep his Kingston soup kitchen running.
"Hey, Soul Sister" Train
Over the past five years or so, the ukulele has experienced a huge surge in popularity among young musicians, and this Train track certainly didn't hurt. If you want to play it on guitar but sound like an ukulele, slap a capo on the 7th fret and strum A, E, F#m and D chord shapes.
"Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" Green Day
This acoustic ballad from punk rockers Green Day offers a healthy dose of nostalgia, making it one of the most popular prom and high school graduation songs of the past 20 years.
"Save Tonight" Eagle Eye Cherry
Four-chord songs don't get much simpler than this gem from Eagle Eye Cherry. The nonstop strum of Am-F-C-G proves yet again that oftentimes, less really is more!
Browse more four-chord songs from the Beach Boys, Jefferson Airplane, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Matchbox Twenty, and more!