8 of the Best Clean Acoustic Rock Songs You Should Be Listening To

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You know, there’s a reason why MTV Unplugged existed and was such a fan favorite for so many years.

Yes, we love acoustic songs. And so much the better if these are songs we know from some of our favorite rockers.

Below, we’ll dive into eight of the best simplified versions of popular rock tracks from artists like Heart, Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana, and more.

1. “Apologies” by Nirvana

The people’s champion of MTV Unplugged performances, Nirvana’s performance lasted for decades and will last for decades to come. Here, their song “All Apologies” rings gold thanks to lead singer Kurt Cobain’s bright but raspy vocals. It’s a classic in the truest sense of the word.

2. “Down in a Hole” by Alice in Chains

Another MTV Unplugged session, this sometimes dark Alice in Chains song proved to be an anthem worthy of much praise. The harmonies, the voice – Layne Staley is a vocal god – and the writing itself. It’s brilliant.

3. “What I Got” by Sublime

It was a 90s favorite. Sublime had a real moment during that decade with many hits that seemed to be ubiquitous on radio. But this song at the end of the band’s self-titled album might have been the most beloved of the entire series. Why? Acoustic guitar, baby.

4. “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen

What a powerful performance. Springsteen’s song is an American classic, but with him, guitar and harmonica under a single spotlight in an otherwise dark room, it’s just perfect. Someone should paint a portrait of it and hang it in the Louvre in Paris to spread the love.

5. “Dust in the Wind” from Kansas

This song was for acoustic guitar. It’s desperate and whimsical, like a breeze traveling through leaves and treetops, it’s the stuff dreams are made of. It’s been used in many movies and TV shows, but it really lives in your heart.

6. “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” by Green Day

Howard Stern had a knack for bringing big-name artists on his show and having them play their hits, stripped down to an acoustic. It was one of Green Day’s best deals. A song that many of us have tried to learn on guitar but probably failed. Or at least we’re not as good as the songwriter. Enjoy.

7. “Everlong” by Foo Fighters

Another gem from the Howard Stern show, this version might be better than the original. It’s so good we’ll leave it here for you to listen to. Chills.

8. “Crazy On You” by heart

There may be no better duo in rock history than sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. Their songs pierce an earlobe like a needle and the result is a jewel that clings. “Crazy On You” with two simple acoustics does not let you down. These two could perform from their living room and win all the prizes.

(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for God’s sake we deliver)


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