10 Best Campfire Guitar Songs In 2017

Were you ever sat round a campfire and forced to listen to someone play an awful song on their guitar?

Horrible isn't it.

There are so many great, easy to play campfire guitar songs to choose from that it's really a travesty not to get it right.

We're going to show you 10 popular campfire songs to learn and play next time someone hands you a guitar and says 'hey, you play guitar, play us something!'.

Let's crack on....

10 Best Campfire Guitar Songs...

#1: WAGON WHEEL - Old Crow Medicine Show

This little treasure is one absolute monster of a campfire song! It oozes old country blues, with catchy lyrics and is instantly recognisable even if it's the first time you've heard it. Written by master songwriter Bob Dylan, the song is pure genius. If you were to only learn one song from this list, choose this one. You're camping audience are going to love it. (Bob Dylan wrote the song, but never actually released a version himself. Scroll to the bottom of this article to hear his version - it's pretty cool too)

Awesome isn't it. Here are the ​lyrics and chords to give it a go

#2: OLD MAN - Neil Young

Keeping with the old country feel, this Neil Young song is a classic. With a catchy chorus that many will know, and even if they don't will soon pick up, and a superb opening riff, Old Man is another instant crowd pleaser... 'I need someone to love me the whole day through, ah one look in my eye and you tell that's true'. They'll love it!

Here are the lyrics and chords. Easy peasy.


This song has to go on the list because it's an absolute gem. It satisfies everything a good guitar campfire song needs to be: catchy, familiar and you can sing along to it. It's a slower number too, to mix things up. 

Here's a lovely acoustic version:​

Here's the chords and lyrics

#4: CHASING CARS - Snow Patrol

"If I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world".

What a great lyric for a campfire! ​It works particularly well with two guitars (one playing the lead bit and the other the rhythm) but it can be played fine on one guitar too.  

Here are the lyrics and chords

#5: FREE FALLIN' - Tom Petty

Everybody love a bit of Tom Petty. Free fallin' is an instant foot-tapper and you're pretty much guaranteed a sing-along for the chorus..."because I'm freeeeeee...free fallin".

Here's a nice acoustic version by John Mayer:

Here are the lyrics and chords

#6: STAND BY ME - Ben E. King

"When the night has come, and the land is dark, and the moon is the only light we'll see"

This song was made for playing under the stars! And the chorus, if people don't sing along to 'and darling, darling, stand by me' then you've got a seriously tough audience!

Here's a great version of the song to get you in the groove:

Chords and Lyrics

#7: COUNTRY ROADS - John Denver

John Denver's classic is a must for any campfire gathering.

I mean who in their right mind isn't going to enjoy a bit of 'west virginia, mountain mama'! In fact I'd be surprised if you got past the first verse without people joining in!

Here's a great cover by Michael Liebler:

Chords and lyrics

#8: THE JOKER - Steve Miller Band

For a bit of fun, why not throw in Steve Miller's 'The Joker'. It's got that distinctive opening riff that's easy to play and the chords are simple as anything. 

Everyone appears to have the lyrics of this song indelibly printed in their brains, and will join in effortlessly on the seminal line: "I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight toker"! 

Here are three guys having a blast with it:​

Chords and lyrics

#9: GRACELAND - Paul Simon

Paul Simon's 1980's classic 'Graceland' (from the album of the same name) is a fantastic song to play. Great chords that are pretty simple, wonderful words, and most important a super catchy chorus. 

Here's a brilliant interpretation of Graceland by internet sensation Josh Turner:

Here are the lyrics and chords

#10: NO WOMAN, NO CRY - Bob Marley

The Bob Marley anthem No Woman No Cry adds a nice mellow groove to your song list. The opening line 'I remember when we used to sing...' is powerful and will get people hooked. 

Here are the lyrics and chords

Some considerations before you decide to play at your next campfire:

1. You have to be able to play it by yourself and it sound right.

2. Probably needs to be at least somewhat mellow.

3. Should have some kind of outdoors/nature related theme, or at least be somewhat happy, with a sing-along type of feel.

4. No crazy stuff... the low lighting and sometimes awkward sitting positions of a campfire scene is not a good time to show off.

5. You need to be able to sing it. Just because you know how to play along with a song on your CD doesn't mean that it will sound meaningful to anybody at all when you're out in the woods. Therefore, pick songs with vocals that you know is in your range.

6. You are probably not going to be bringing your best guitar out into the woods, so don't pick songs that you can only play well with your best guitar, due to lower action or whatever.

7. Quite obvious, but it needs to be something that will sound good on an acoustic.

8. No complex tuning on multiple strings... retuning in the dark out in the woods would kinda suck.

These tips originally appeared on a thread in an Ultimate Guitar Forum


So there you have it. Ten absolute monster songs that any generation is going to like. Give them a try and let us know how you get on. Remember to have fun, it's only a campfire remember! By the way, if you're looking to upgrade your guitar to play these songs on, check our our articles on best acoustic guitars, best guitars for blues and awesome fingerpicking guitars


Bob Dylan, the writer of Wagon Wheel (see above), wrote the song during his recording of his album Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, but never released an official version. Listen to a rough version here from the cutting room floor>>


Ged is our editor in chief at Zingstruments and a self-confessed music fanatic. He has a particular thing for Guitars, but also dabbles with Harmonica, Ukulele, various percussion instruments (notably the Surdu!) and fancies himself as a bit of a singer :-)

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