20 of the best acoustic versions of rock songs



Here are some of Radio X’s favorite tracks that got deleted and unplugged.

  • Nirvana – Our apologies

    All NirvanaThe 1993 MTV Unplugged concert is pretty special, with particular highlights coming with the David Bowie blanket The man who sold the world and a devastating take on the closer Nevermind Something in the way. It gave the world one last, memorable impression of Kurt Cobain which took place just five months before his death. Rendering of All my excuses, however, struck a chord with people, bringing the intricacies of the song to the surface.

  • Arctic Monkeys – Do I want to know?

    In September 2013, the Sheffield Quartet released their groundbreaking fifth album A M to MASSIVE commercial and critical success and singles dominated the radio. So when they unveiled this acoustic version of the opening track for us on the weekend of their concerts at Finsbury Park in May 2014, we knew we had something special.

  • Foo Fighters – The best of you

    In 2006, Foo fighterhis released Skin And Bones, an acoustic live album recorded in LA For a band that had mastered rock songs that filled stadiums, this collection of homecoming tracks was a true master tuner. The acoustic album was a statement of intent from Dave Grohl, showing how far he had come from his Nirvana days.

  • Damon Albarn – Out of time

    When Damon albarn went solo at the end of 2013, it looked like Britpop’s heyday was far behind him. However, his tour saw the Fall out the leader playing songs from all his discography. His interpretation for solo piano of Out of time in Paris beautifully merged his classic Blur sound with the bold and thoughtful style of his solo album. Just look at her smiley face!

  • Richard Ashcroft – Bitter Sweet Symphony

    Bold, courageous and inspiring. Verve the frontman played his 1997 classic during a performance for Radio X in 2018. A hymn to the healing power of music, it seems as relevant today as ever.

  • Radiohead – No surprises

    Radiohead‘s No surprises is one of the most tender moments of the group. But during their acoustic concert in Paris in 2003, the song was dropped even further. The concert saw Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood perform some of Radiohead’s most iconic tracks (including Everything in its place, over there, the Karma police and more) but their version of No Surprises captured the audience’s attention so intensely that a fly could be heard flying.

  • Noel Gallagher – Morning Glory

    From the Oasis There and then DVD, this acoustic version of morning glory was recorded live at Earls Court in 1995. Not only did it capture a band at the most exciting time of their career, but also Noel’s future potential as a leader. Armed with his only guitar, Gallagher Sr. holds the crowd in the palm of his hand, the voice of the audience nearly drowning him.


  • Paul Weller – English Rose

    Weller was never sure about this song at the time of Jam – he left the title on the cover of the band’s 1978 album All the disadvantages because he felt that the lyrics meant nothing without the music. Of our time. however, the Modfather is rightly proud of this delicate song.

  • Liam Fray – Not Nineteen Forever

    The Best of Middleton, stood in the Radio X studio with keyboardist Adam Payne in the summer of 2017, playing his signature song. Pure class – and a whole new level of intensity for the indie favorite.

  • Florence + La Machine – Cosmic Love

    Florence welch shows her incredible voice as the Machine performs this romantic ballad for the KEXP station in 2010. Beautiful.

  • Flowers – Your Girlfriend

    The guys from Stockport crammed their gear into the Radio X studio earlier this year to play one of their beautiful pop songs. The steel guitar is beautiful.

  • The Kooks – Naive

    Let’s show some love for the classic indie bangers of the 2000s – this is a great performance from the Brighton band in the bowels of Radio X studios in 2018.

  • The Wombats – Let’s Dance To Joy Division

    This is the most unusual place for an acoustic session – in a pod on the London Eye, overlooking the capital as a special performance for Chris Moyles’ birthday show in February 2018!

  • Manic Street Preachers – Empty Motorcycle

    We think James Dean Bradfield doesn’t have what it takes as one of the great rock voices of the moment, so check out this acoustic set performed at the Rough Trade East store in London in 2012. Audiences are also quite impressive.

  • Brandon Flowers – Jenny was a friend of mine

    When the Killers man went solo in 2015, he delivered this exceptional rendition of the band’s debut opening track Hot bustle like a country murder ballad. it works really well!

  • Stereophony – Traffic

    One of Kelly jones‘beautiful observational melodies, filmed in homage to the band’s late publicist, Scott Piering, in 2002.

  • Brian May – Tie Up Your Mother

    That no-frills hard rock song from the album A day at the races was transformed into a sordid blues for a VH1 session in 1998.

  • Chris Cornell – Black Hole Sun

    Another example of the beautiful arrangements behind some of the harshest rock songs, this Sound garden classic was recorded for CBS News just a month before Cornell’s tragic death in May 2017. Such a loss.

  • The Cure – Just like Heaven

    From the golden years of MTV Unplugged, the great British cult band recorded this set in 1991, stripped down and sat down. This is the classic 1987 single that has undergone an acoustic makeover.

  • Liam Gallagher – Wall of Wonders

    A triumphant version of one of his brother’s greatest songs, Liam climbed to the rooftop of Radio X studios one night in February 2018 to perform some of his solos and Oasis acoustically material.

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