Camping is a great way to spend time with friends and family. Under the stars, alongside a crackling fire, strumming on the strings of an acoustic guitar for a few days can be just what you need to get away from it all. What’s more, with these 20 campfire songs on this list, your solo sessions in front of the fireplace will never be quite the same again!
- 1. Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
- 2. Yellow Submarine — The Beatles
- 3. Ring of Fire — Johnny Cash
- 4. Green, Green Grassy Lawn — The Chad Mitchell Trio
- 5. Oh, Pretty Woman — Roy Orbison
- 6. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me — Elton John
- 7. Amazing Grace — John Newton
- 8. Build Me Up Buttercup — The Foundations
- 9. Take Me Home, Country Roads — John Denver
- 10. What a Wonderful World — Louis Armstrong
- 11. Kakadu — Sting
- 12. Wonderwall — Oasis
- 13. California Dreamin’ — The Mamas and The Papas
- 14. Stand By Me — Ben E King
- 15. Grow Old With Me — Tom Odell
- 16. American Pie — Don McLean
- 17. Take Me To Church — Hozier
- 18. Wild World — Cat Stevens
- 19. Here I Go Again — Whitesnake
- 20. The Lonely One — Brian Adams
1. Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
As one of the fastest-selling albums in history, Tom Petty is to be applauded for his success, not least because he has made several powerful songs about love in the face of adversity. While ‘Free Fallin’ does largely seem to be about a romantic break-up, it was written before the title singer had met his future wife Jane. It will no doubt be on every guitarists’ list simply because it’s a great song for campfire music.
2. Yellow Submarine — The Beatles
It seems to be appropriate that our list of acoustic guitar songs for campfire gatherings starts with The Beatles. Almost every song that this group ever wrote was written during a time of turbulence. The song ‘Yellow Submarine’ is a children’s song, but it arose from the time when Paul McCartney and John Lennon were at odds with each other. Perhaps it was the peace and harmony of their favorite place – the small studio in the basement room at 3 Savile Row where they made albums and worked on this track – that inspired its creation.
3. Ring of Fire — Johnny Cash
This song is one of the greatest country songs ever written. Indeed, even long after its release, it was still winning awards. John Lennon once famously said that ‘Ring of Fire’ was one of his favorite Johnny Cash songs, and that he never got over the strong feelings he had for the singer.
4. Green, Green Grassy Lawn — The Chad Mitchell Trio
This is a song that was written by a teenage singer/songwriter. In fact, he was 16-years-old when he wrote it as an expression of his feelings for his first girlfriend, Patricia. It’s a simple song of longing and affection, but it remains one of the most popular songs in the world. If you’re playing this song without words then make sure to strum some chords!
5. Oh, Pretty Woman — Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison was one of the most influential singers of his generation. He died just 17 days after this song was released. It’s a simple love song, but a powerful one. The third verse may need to be repeated a few times – take it slowly and then quickly. It works whether you are playing it alone or accompanied by a guitar track!
6. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me — Elton John
The story behind this song is that the Princess Margaret of Britain had a crush on this songwriter, and invited him to perform at a charity event to raise money for her father King George VI. When he arrived at the castle, he was ushered into a room full of well-known artists and royalty – but only Elton John, who was quite unaware that he was there. Elton didn’t want the princess to leave, so he performed this simple love song for her.
7. Amazing Grace — John Newton
This is an incredible song of strength and perseverance. The lyrics are quite moving and support the message that sometimes we can lose faith in ourselves as a result of terrible events in our lives, but that we must always look back at all of the great things we have done and keep going.
8. Build Me Up Buttercup — The Foundations
The Foundations were one of the most influential bands of their era. The lead singer, Clem Curtis, was a devout Christian, and the band was known for its gospel sound. ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ is just such a song – it’s simple, but its repetitive lyrics create a powerful rhythm that will lift your spirits and get everyone singing along.
9. Take Me Home, Country Roads — John Denver
When John Denver visited his native West Virginia, he was struck by its beauty – so much so that he wrote ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads,’ a song that celebrated the state and its rural way of life. Although this singer’s music is often frowned upon by critics, it is nevertheless a beautiful song!
10. What a Wonderful World — Louis Armstrong
What a wonderfully peaceful world it would be if we all sang this song around campfires. Louis Armstrong’s lyrics are a simple and peaceful prayer for the world:
“What a wonderful world it would be if we had peace
What a wonderful world it would be if we all understood, and we tried to get along together.”
11. Kakadu — Sting
This is a song that was written by Sting after an Aboriginal girl was killed in front of him while he camped out in the Australian outback. He was so touched by her death that he wrote this song and dedicated it to her.
12. Wonderwall — Oasis
This song is another simple story of love and adoration. It is also a great live karaoke song, as it features easy to remember lyrics. It was famously performed by Liam Gallagher when he came out of retirement, so you’ll definitely want to sing along with this one!
13. California Dreamin’ — The Mamas and The Papas
This song is a celebration of the American dream. The lyrics are full of hope and optimism, and you may well be shouting “I’ll make it, I’ll make it” along with the band! It’s not an easy song to sing, but it’s worth practicing a few times to get it right.
14. Stand By Me — Ben E King
This is a great song for singing along with other people. The lyrics are quite moving and it was written by Ben E King to commemorate the death of one of his friends in a motorcycle accident.
15. Grow Old With Me — Tom Odell
This is a beautiful song about unbridled love and adoration. It’s a simple message that is put so beautifully into words by Tom Odell. So, did you find your favourite song? If not, that’s alright because you can try out the other songs on our list and see if any of them fit the bill. You can even sing along with a friend or family member, and we guarantee you’ll have a fantastic time.
16. American Pie — Don McLean
This song was written by a Canadian-American singer called Don McLean. It is about his memories of the late Buddy Holly, who died in an airplane crash when McLean was just 10 years old. The song is very poignant and you’ll feel yourself moved by it after you’ve listened to it a few times.
17. Take Me To Church — Hozier
This is a beautiful song about desire and longing. The singer is begging his lover to take him to church as a way of showing the depth of his desire for them. It’s a beautiful song, and you’ll find yourself singing along to it quite easily.
18. Wild World — Cat Stevens
This song was written by British singer and musician Cat Stevens in 1967, when he was only 24 years old. It’s about a man longing for excitement, as he is tired of his life and feels stuck in a world that does not really move him. This song is really fun to sing along with if you have the time.
19. Here I Go Again — Whitesnake
This song was written by David Coverdale, and it appears on the album titled ‘Whitesnake’ in 1982. It is a great song for singing along to if you’re feeling happy or upbeat, because it has a very vibrant sound to it.
20. The Lonely One — Brian Adams
This song was written by British singer and songwriter, Brian Adams, in 1979. It features on his album ‘I’m Ready’ that year. This is a really calming song that will help you unwind or relax if needed.
The above article provides some of the best acoustic guitar songs that you can play on guitar around the campfire. Have fun!