5. Twist and Shout – The Beatles
Although sounding intricate at parts (largely thanks to the genius of George Harrison) the base chords required to play this song are few in number. We must remember that at the time this song was written, popular music was theoretically in its infancy- with the song-smiths of the day being afforded the luxury of making new ground without the worry of creating music that was oversimplified or plagiaristic. Waffle aside, a great initial choice for any budding guitar player- Twist and Shout is also perfect for those moments when passed a guitar at a party or the like.
4. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
This mellow yet sophisticated 1960’s soul tune remains one of the Irish crooners more notable even after all of these years. Though the main hook may be a more suitable challenge for a guitar player who has already mastered the basics, the background chords needed to have a sing along (as is standard when playing any Van Morrison) are relatively simple.
3. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
Easily the most famous riff of the 21st century so far, the distinct hook this song possesses is sickeningly simple to play- I often find the greatest are. Whilst chord technique is extremely important when starting out, riffing is definitely more fun- and if used constructively can and will develop you as a player. The most annoying thing about learning this song is definitely less to do with the complexity of the piece and more to do with the attempts you will make to replicate the guitar sound itself – to absolutely no avail, might I add.
2. Iron Man – Black Sabbath
Representing the heavier side of things on this list, Sabbath classic ‘Iron Man’ provides a flashback to the days when even metal could be simple. Though the timing required to play this song accurately may be harder to grasp than some of the others I have featured, the riffs and progressions themselves are more than suitable for a beginner. Due to the many differing parts the song hosts, as well as their subsequent transitions, expect to listen to this song many, many times before nailing it completely. Certainly an option for those who like a challenge/good music….
1. Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple
I don’t think I know a single person who doesn’t know how to play this, let alone a guitarist. A rite of passage for any aspiring axeman, the irresistible driving blues of this track makes it perfect for blasting full volume and playing along to for hours on end. There is very little to it (the lead hook anyway) and it can be learned in a matter of seconds if you can read tablature. Pro tip: if you cannot yet read tablature, learn how to read tablature- it’ll make this whole process a lot easier. Oh, and make sure to get your chords down quickly too.