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10 English Songs Every Aspiring Musician Must Learn

October 9, 2017

10 English Songs Every Aspiring Musician Must Learn

Before internet, before EDM and before YouTube, music used to be ‘on two sides’; Side A and Side B.Here are some songs that tell you both sides of the story. They may not have made it to the top 100 songs of all time but have captured the hearts of millions of musicians, because these songs have been the ‘lesson songs’ for many musicians. These are songs that aspiring singers, musicians and song writers of every generation grew up listening to. These songs have been covered thousands of times by budding musicians and singers to get to their audiences. These are songs that every musician can hum, strum or whistle. Here is a compilation of some must-listen songs for aspiring musicians.

  1. Smoke on the Water–Deep Purple, 1972(Rock)

Ranked number 4 in Total Guitar magazine’s Greatest Guitar Riffs Ever, this Deep Purple song is probably played by every budding bassist and guitarist.It is one of the best jamming songs that starts with a massive guitar riff followed by hi-hat. It has deep and heavy sound.




  1. Blowing in the Wind – Bob Dylan, 1963 (Folk Rock)

Bob Dylan didn’t win the Nobel Prize for Literature for no reason. The rhetorical questions asked in this song can make anyone realise this. But apart from that this song is simple to learn, improvise and cover. It has a softprayer-like melodythat diminishes the hard questions made to the listeners.




  1. Sweet Child of Mine – Guns and Roses, 1987 (Hard Rock)

The prelude of this song is a guitar solo that every guitarist wants to try. It is a good riff to try as an exercise every day before playing. You can play this on stage with a lot of attitude and still pass as a decent player.



  1. Another Brick in the Wall–Pink Floyd,1979 (Classic rock)

This is perhaps one of the best songs the world has got. I won’t be wrong to say that every musician has at least tried once to play/sing this song. The guitar solo has wide bends and creative phrasing that makes it so appealing. The catchy rhythm in the beginning and the speech-like guitar solo in the end keeps you grooving even long after the music is gone.



  1. Imagine – John Lennon,1971 (Soft Rock)

This 1971 solo hit of John Lennon is not just a song but an anthem every generation loves to sing. It isa poem, an appeal for peace and a disruptive thought.The piano chord progression in this song is what every musician would love to try. It is one of the most-performed songs of the 20th century. A UK survey conducted by the Guinness World Records British Hit Singles Book named it the second best single of all time.



  1. Take me Home,Country Roads–John Denver,1971 (Country)

This is probably thatone song which is sung at every campfire around the world. Its simple, classic country feel, acoustic guitars and soothing melody can be easily learned and played by any musician. The only risk is that it can make you homesick if you have been away for long.



  1. Hotel California – The Eagles, 1976 (Classic Rock)

If you are an aspiring musician and don’t know Hotel California, you are missing a great deal. This song is the bedrock of learning guitar rhythm, finger picking and solo; all in one epic song. Mastering this song can give you a big high and get you the audience too. You can jam for hours just by playing the 7-chord structure of this song.



  1. Roadhouse Blues – The Doors, 1970 (Classic Rock)

This is a blues song from a rock band and a treat for someone learning to play the bass. The heavy and dominating bass riff is the backbone of this song. If you’re at a party and happen to play just the bass prelude of this song, you will have the cheer and an audience instantly.



  1. Every Breath You Take – The Police, 1983 (Rock)

Whether it’s a comforting love song or an obsessive stalker trying to keep an eye on every move is debatable, but it’s a song that every teenager would love to sing. The muted sound of the guitar prelude that continues throughout, is something every acoustic guitar player must try. It is soothing, nicely paced and has a funky feel.



  1. Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton, 1977 (Classic Rock)

This rock ballad written by Eric Clapton is soulful and romantic. The simple but soulful guitar solo is easy to master and impress the audience. The integration of bass,finger picking and solo, done in a simple fashion, will inspire anyone to pick up the guitar and try. If you are an aspiring guitarist this one will always make you stand out in the crowd.



My intention was to provoke you and I guess I have done that so pick up your instrument and try these songs - songs that have inspired generations of musicians and music lovers.


  • Ruben Chhetri, Music Department, St. Mary’s School










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