It is always fascinating to listen to or even play acoustic songs from the 1970s, as these songs often evoke nostalgia and convey a longing for simpler times. Guitar songs of this era often have a warm and welcoming sound, so they are ideal for relaxing after a long day or spending time with loved ones.
There are so many great acoustic guitar songs from the 1970s that it’s difficult to narrow them down to just a few. I’ve tried to incorporate a single song from a particular artist or band to combine as much variety as possible, so I’ve left some popular music off the table.
To facilitate your learning approach and encourage you to play these beautiful songs on your guitar, acoustic or otherwise, we’ve also included links to original songs, guitar chords/tab and tutorial videos for each song. Some songs are perfect for beginners, and others are a little more challenging, but all are worth learning.
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Best Of 70s Acoustic Songs
Without further ado, take a look at this playlist of the top 50 acoustic songs, which includes a perfect mix of 70’s popular music for all moods.
1. Hotel California by Eagles (Album: Hotel California, Year: 1976)
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This acoustic guitar song comes from the fourth studio album of the Eagles and is one of their most popular songs to date. The interesting thing about this tune is that it features two acoustic guitars playing in unison for the majority of the song and an arpeggio part was played for a dual guitar solo at the end of the song.
The song talks about materialism and excess, a metaphor for the American dream and American nightmare; something that was all too common in America at the time.
2. Angie by The Rolling Stones (Album: Goats Head Soup, Released: 1973)
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Angie is a beautiful acoustic guitar song that features Mick Jagger on lead vocals with Keith Richards and Mick Taylor playing the acoustic guitar in the background. The song is about the end of a relationship and how sometimes it’s hard to let go, even when you know it’s for the best.
The song has the most beautiful but quite tricky acoustic guitar intro that requires a lot of practice to get right your timing.
3. Imagine by John Lennon (Imagine, 1971)
Imagine is one of the most popular and best-selling singles of John Lennon’s solo career. The song is about peace, love, and unity and has become an anthem for these ideals.
The song is deceptively simple, but the lyrics are powerful and the message is clear. If you’re looking for an acoustic song that will make you think, then this is a perfect choice.
4. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here, 1975)
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This is another popular 1970s acoustic guitar song that features two guitars playing in unison for the majority part of the song. The intro is not that complex, and the rest of the song consists of a few chord changes with a lot of strumming.
The lyrics are about missing someone who is no longer there, and how their absence can be felt in everything we do. The song is a great choice for anyone who is going through a difficult time or has lost someone close to them.
5. Take Me Home Country Road by John Denver (Poems, Prayers & Promises, 1971)
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John Denver’s most popular song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, sums up perfectly the acoustic sensation of the 1970s. This is an excellent choice for beginners as it can be played with only four chords and has a slow and gentle rhythm.
The lyrics are also very easy to follow and relate to the experiences of many people longing for a simpler life in the countryside. The song has been covered by many artists over the years, but it is the Denver version that remains the most popular.
6. Landslide by Fleetwood Mac (Fleetwood Mac, 1975)
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Landslide is one of those songs that everyone knows, even if they don’t know who originally sang it. It was written by Stevie Nicks and deals with her feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt. The song reflects Nicks’ struggle with her career, romance, and relationship which she was at that time fighting to make it work.
Despite the subject matter, the song has an uplifting tone and is one of Fleetwood Mac’s most popular songs. It’s also been covered by many artists over the years, including Dixie Chicks and Smashing Pumpkins.
7. Jolene by Dolly Parton (Jolene, 1974)
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Dolly Parton is a massive country music star and has been for decades. This song, Jolene, talks about a woman who is pleading with the title character not to steal her man.
It’s a beautiful song about the green-eyed monster that’s jealousy. Jolene is a fantastic song to play on the acoustic guitar and one that you can really show off your chord progression skills with.
8. Going To California by Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin IV, 1971)
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Robert Plant, the lead singer and lyricist behind Led Zeppelin, wrote this ballad about the mysterious but sophisticated love of youth, where he mentions California earthquakes. Musically, it is a great song with Page’s creative acoustic guitar lines mixed with Jones’ mandolin playing.
The result is one of those songs that just make you feel good when you hear it. It’s got some beautiful plucking sections and it could be frustrating for beginners who want to try something a bit more challenging.
9. Dust In The Wind by Kansas (Point of Know Return, 1977)
When you think about the ’70s music, you think about Kansas and when you think about Kansas, you think about Dust in the Wind. It’s one of those songs that just gets stuck in your head and it’s impossible to forget.
The song talks about how everything ends up turning into dust and how we’re all just temporary beings in the grand scheme of things. It’s perfect for these days when you feel a little down and needs a pick-me-up.
10. Fire and Rain by James Taylor (Sweet Baby James, 1970)
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James Taylor is one of those singer-songwriters who simply have a way with words. Fire and Rain is a perfect example of that as it’s a song about his reaction to the suicide of his childhood friend and his personal struggles with depression and addiction.
Despite the heavy subject matter, the song is actually quite upbeat and will leave you feeling inspired after you’ve played it. It’s a perfect song for when you need some motivation in your life.
11. Father And Son by Cat Stevens (Tea for the Tillerman, 1970)
If you’re a fan of the tear-jerking father and son relationship song, this one is for you. It’s a song that seems to transcend time as it is still relevant today just like when it was first released in 1970 by talented singer-songwriter Cat Stevens.
This song will definitely make you want to reach for the tissue box. Nevertheless, it’s a song that’s worth learning on your guitar as the emotions it evokes are just too hard to resist.
12. American Pie by Don McLean (American Pie, 1972)
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Who could forget the song that drove Don McLean to stardom, American Pie? It’s one of those songs you can’t help but sing along to no matter how hard you try not to. It’s a song that most people can relate to as it deals with the loss of innocence and the American dream.
13. Have You Ever Seen The Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival (Pendulum, 1970)
As we continue our list, we move on to Creedence Clearwater Revival with their hit song Have You Ever Seen the Rain.
The song’s lyrics contain an emotional punch and describe the band member’s internal problems, depression and unhappiness during the time they were at the top of the charts with unexpected fame and fortune.
14. Layla by Derek And The Dominos (Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, 1970)
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The intro of this song is one of the most memorable and influential in the history of rock. It has been imitated by many artists over the years but nothing comes close to the original.
What’s interesting about this song is that it was actually a product of two different recording sessions that were combined to create the Layla we know and love today. The first guitar-centric part was recorded with Duane Allman and Clapton on guitar, and then after a week, the piano-centric second part was recorded with Jim Gordon.
15. Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones (Sticky Fingers, 1971)
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The opening riff of this song is just so beautiful, there’s no way you can stop yourself from singing along or at the very least, nodding your head in appreciation.
In 2004 and 2021, this song was listed on the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” which defines its popularity among people related to the music industry.
16. Old Man by Neil Young (Album: Harvest, Released: 1972)
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“Old Man look at my life, I’m a lot like you were” begins one of the most beautiful and introspective acoustic songs ever written, Old Man by Neil Young.
The song is actually quite difficult to play as the original because it is rhythmically complex, requires some suspended and barre chords with interesting picking patterns, and also needs to work on palm muting.
Related Article: If you're ready to learn guitar chords or the basics of theory faster, check out this perfect list of guitar chord books.
17. Knockin’ On Heavens Door by Bob Dylan (Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, 1973)
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This song was written for the soundtrack of the film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid and has been covered by many artists over the years. The original version of Bob Dylan is, in my opinion, one of the best acoustic guitar songs ever written.
This is a classic acoustic song that only uses four chords (G, D, Am and C) and is perfect for beginners of all levels to learn and practice.
18. Pink Moon by Nick Drake (Pink Moon, 1972)
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Nick Drake was an English singer-songwriter and musician who enjoyed limited commercial success during his lifetime, but since then has become one of the most acclaimed artists of his generation.
The album Pink Moon features the title track, which is a perfect example of his unique and beautiful songwriting. In 2020, this album was ranked number 201 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
19. Ventura Highway by America (Homecoming, 1972)
This classic folk rock song by America is one of those songs that are so catchy and easy to sing along to. The intro of this song is the main hook of the song, in which Gerry Beckley and Daniel Peek played harmony on two acoustic guitars. The guitar playing is relatively simple, but it is the perfect song to practice your barre chords with.
20. Teach Your Children By Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (Déjà Vu, 1970)
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This song is one of the most popular and well-known acoustic songs used in various films, television series and commercials. It was written by Graham Nash and sung by Crosby, Stills & Nash. The song uses only four chords (D, G, A, Bm) which makes it perfect for beginners. The song’s message remains relevant today, making it a timeless classic.
More Acoustic Guitar Songs From the ’70s
Related Articles: If you need more help learning how to play songs from the 1970s or want to improve your guitar playing skills in general, check out these online guitar lessons or go through some helpful YouTube channels.
If you need assistance, check out the following chord/TAB books to understand and learn songs quickly:
Now, anyone can work on acoustic songs from the 70s that are perfect for guitar players of all levels. These popular songs can also teach you a lot about playing the guitar. Each piece is a classic in its own right; by learning them, you’ll develop your skills and knowledge of the instrument.