Guitar Chords and Lyrics For Popular Songs

Songwriting is an intricate creative process and no two songwriters work exactly the same way. Some write music in their heads before translating it to instruments; other composers begin with chord progressions and melody before writing songs in their head.

Either with lyrics or chords, certain songs offer great opportunities for beginners to start learning music. Here are seven of them.

Earth Angel by The Penguins

Earth Angel, one of the enduring classics, conjures memories of prom nights, sock hops, and impossibly young love. Recorded as a garage demo by Cleveland Duncan’s vocal group the Penguins in 1954 as part of Hey Senorita single release, disc jockeys turned it into one of the first doo-wop hits and made Earth Angel into a global success.

Earth Angel was such a success that Mercury Records offered them a contract. Unfortunately, however, they never had another hit song like it; thus making them one-hit wonders.

Halloween by Bobby Boris Pickett

It is easy to learn and play this song, plus its campfire vibe adds another great dimension of fun! Practice a few times and you will soon become one of its iconic musicians!

No one could have predicted that a novelty song recorded over 60 years ago by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and The Crypt-Kickers about ghosts and goblins would become such a beloved Halloween classic! Even today it remains played at every Halloween party.

Pickett and Capizzi’s recording was turned down by four labels before Cameo Parkway Records finally issued it in August 1962, ultimately becoming #1 for one week before Halloween and remaining popular ever since.

Campfire by The Youngblood’s

This song is perfect for any acoustic guitar, as its structure makes it very straightforward and accessible. Additionally, it utilizes the C to Bb progression mentioned earlier and creates a vibrant upbeat sound.

This classic rock song is one of my favorites and one I often perform myself. With its upbeat summertime vibe and use of G chord with B in bass instead of regular G, you’re sure to please any crowd with its music. Plus it incorporates E minor and A minor chords for added variety!

C to Bb by The Vogues

Another fantastic song with five chords, this one adds A minor for an emotive and serious sound. Additionally, it utilizes the G/B chord, which simply features regular G chord with an extra B in its bass position; until you become comfortable with this change it is fine to continue playing the standard G chord!

This was a hit single from harmony pop vocal group The Vogues. Established in 1960 in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania and made famous through songs such as You’re the One and Five O’clock World; featured on both The Ed Sullivan Show and Tonight Show with Johnny Carson; current members are Troy Elich, Royce Taylor and Bo Wagner.

It’s All Over Now by Red Hot Chili Peppers

After their explosive “Mother’s Milk”, the Chili Peppers took things down a notch on Blood Sugar Sex Magik with this ballad by Kiedis about his drug habits, death of Dave Navarro and Hollywood lifestyle; its verses perfectly complimenting an acoustic arrangement by Flea and Smith that flew perfectly together.

Frusciante employed a Jaguar borrowed from engineer Jim Scott as part of his guitar part, mixing Public Enemy-esque funk with the kind of psychedelic jamming he learned from listening to Hendrix and Stevie Wonder. The result was an expertly understated hit that showed California dreaming isn’t always what it seems.

Power Ballad by Soul Asylum

This song’s use of power chords provides beginners with a great opportunity to practice strumming and matching their voices to the guitar, whether played acoustically or clean. For maximum effect, they should also be played on acoustic or clean guitar to achieve maximum results.

Dave Pirner’s skill at crafting catchy and thought-provoking songs is evident in “Misery.” The track serves both as an emotional rock anthem and Grammy-nominated pop culture standard; its blend of alternative and pop elements sets it apart from Soul Asylum’s other hits.

Soul Asylum’s biggest hit and music video to raise awareness for missing children was “When Will It End”. Its haunting chorus and video brought them national fame.

O Brother Where Art Thou

O Brother Where Art Thou is an entertaining film from the Coen brothers that blends comedy with Southern folklore, slapstick stunts, cinematic tributes, religious rituals, political satire and depression-era commentary into an entertaining adventure story. Additionally, T-Bone Burnett provides some great hillbilly music that adds another layer of authenticity.

Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney) scams his way off a chain gang and joins simple Delmar and maladjusted Pete on an incredible adventure to find freedom and 1.2 Million buried deep within the South – leading them through hilarious yet incredible situations on their quest.

The movie soundtrack featured traditional folk songs fitting for 1930s setting and proved an instantaneous hit, garnering multiple Grammy award wins as a result. Additionally, its popularity helped resurrect interest in bluegrass and folk music genres.