Ten Easy Acoustic Guitar Songs for Summer

by Laura B. Whitmore
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at 12:00pm

It’s summer! Yahoo!!!

Time for sitting on the porch and strumming a tune or two, or three, or ten!

This is not a “best of” list, just a collection of great, easy to play songs that’ll put a smile on your face…and everyone’s around you, too!

So grab an iced tea, sit back and get your strum on!

“Three Little Birds” – Bob Marley and The Wailers

I love this song, for its simplicity and its message of optimism.

You know that every little thing is gonna be all right!

Long before Bobby McFerrin told us to, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” Bob Marley had it down.

The song appears on their 1977 album Exodus, and was released as a single in 1980.

“Three Little Birds” has been covered loads of times, including by artists like Billy Ocean, Connie Talbot, Jason Mraz and even Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Now it’s your turn! Check it out!

[Chorus]

A
Don't worry, about a thing

............D.......................................A
Cause' every little thing, gonna be alright

..............(A)
Singin' don't worry, about a thing

..............D........................................A
Cause' every little thing, gonna be alright

[Verse]

A
Rise up this mornin'

.........................E
Smile with the rising sun

.....................D........................A
Three little birds perch by my doorstep

...........(A)
Singin' sweet songs

......................E
Of melodies pure and true

............D..........................A
Sayin', this my message to you-oo-oo


“Hey There Delilah” – Plain White T’s

I know, this song has been played A LOT.

But it’s just the quintessential summer love song. Oh, it’s what you do to me. I mean, yeah!

The Plain White T’s released it in May 2006 as the third single from their third studio album All That We Needed.” It reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 2007.

Its message is timeless. Love can conquer all obstacles.

Here you go…in the key of D.

[Verse]
D ...................................... F#m
Hey there Delilah, What’s it like in New York City?
..........D.............................................. F#m
I’m a thousand miles away, But girl tonight you look so pretty,
........Bm.......G..........................A..........................Bm
Yes you do, Time Square can’t shine as bright as you,
....................A
I swear it’s true.

[Chorus]
D..................................Bm.....D.............................Bm
Oh it’s what you do to me, Oh it’s what you do to me,
D................................. Bm....D..............................Bm
Oh it’s what you do to me, Oh it’s what you do to me,
.........................D
What you do to me.


“59th Street Bridge Song – Feelin’ Groovy” - Simon and Garfunkel

I personally remember singing this as a teenager in the summer, so it’s tried and tested!

This song appeared on this iconic duo’s 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. A truly amazing album in its entirety. If you’re too young to have listened to it, check it out.

"59th Street Bridge" is the colloquial name of the Queensboro Bridge in New York City. The song's message is immediately delivered in its opening verse: "Slow down, you move too fast." Perfect for summer I would say!!

D.........A ...............Asus2......A....D..............A ............Asus2........A
Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last. Just
D..........A .............Asus2......A....D..............A ............Asus2........A
kickin' down the cobble stones, lookin' for fun and Feelin' Groovy.
D...A..Bm7..A


”Rude” – Magic!

This must be the summer song of this summer, 2014!

Yes, I’ve heard it about a billion times on the radio, but the fun reggae groove and heartfelt message have me singing along every time.

And why DOES he have to be SO RUDE?!

Apparently it is based on a real life situation, modified somewhat to fit a band vibe.

"Rude" is the debut single by Canadian band, Magic! "Rude" was written by Nasri Atweh, Adam Messinger, Mark Pellizzer, Ben Spivak and Alex Tanas, and produced by Adam Messinger.

It’s burning up the charts. I hear it several times a day. Oh, the injustice of it all!

Capo 6 and play as written

[Verse]
C..............D................................Em.............Em
Saturday morning jumped out of bed and put on my best suit
C..............D............................Em.....Em
Got in my car and raced like a jet, all the way to you
C.........................D...............................G.............. Em
Knocked on your door with heart in my hand to ask you a question
C..........................D .................................G ................Em
Cause I know that you're an old fashioned man yeah yeah

[Pre Chorus]

C................................................D
Can I have your daughter for the rest of my life?
..........G/B..........................Em
Say yes, say yes, ‘cause I need to know
....................C..........................................D
You say I'll never get your blessings till the day I die
.............G................................. Em
Tough luck my friend but the answer is no!

[Chorus]

C..................... D.............. G........................... Em
Why you gotta be so rude? Don't you know I'm human too
C..................... D.............. G................Em
Why you gotta be so rude? I'm gonna marry her anyway
C....................D
Marry that girl (marry her anyway)
G .......................... Em
Marry that girl (yeah no matter what you say)
C..........................D
Marry that girl (and we'll be a family)
G......................Em..........C.....D .....G....Em
Why you gotta be so rude?


“Ventura Highway” – America

I used to be so in love with the songs from the band America, and “Ventura Highway” was no exception.

Those lilting, longing lyrics, the driving acoustic strum. “You wanna go, I kno-oo-o-oo-o-oo-ow.”

This song appeared on the band’s 1972 Homecoming album.

The song’s vocalist and writer Dewey Bunnell had this to say about the song’s inspiration in the booklet for the band’s boxed set. The song “reminds me of the time I lived in Omaha as a kid and how we'd walk through cornfields and chew on pieces of grass. There were cold winters, and I had images of going to California. So I think in the song I'm talking to myself, frankly: 'How long you gonna stay here, Joe?' I really believe that 'Ventura Highway' has the most lasting power of all my songs. It's not just the words — the song and the track have a certain fresh, vibrant, optimistic quality that I can still respond to."

The song went to #8 on the Billboard Top 40 Pop Charts for America, spending nine weeks on the charts after debuting on November 4, 1972.

For this one, capo 2 and play as written. Easy.

Capo 2

[Verse]
Fmaj7 ............................................................Cmaj7
Chewin' on a piece of grass walkin' down the road
Fmaj7 ...................................................Cmaj7
Tell me, how long you gonna stay here Joe?
Fmaj7..................................................Cmaj7
Some people say this town don't look good in snow
Fmaj7 ....................Cmaj7
You don't care, I know.

[Chorus]
Fmaj7...............................Cmaj7
Ventura Highway, in the sunshine
...................Fmaj7............................................................Cmaj7
Where the days are longer The nights are stronger than moonshine
Fmaj7 .................... Cmaj7
You're gonna go I know ooo-oh ooo-o-ooo-oh ooo-oh ooo-o-ooo-oh
.................Dm7...................... Em
Cause the free wind is blowin' through your hair
............. Dm7 ......................Em
And the day surrounds your daylight there
Dm7 ...................Em
Season's crying, no despair
....... Dm7............ Em .....................Fmaj7
Alligator, lizards in the air, in the air


“The Boys of Summer” – Don Henley

For some reason I have America and the Eagles in my head when I think of summer.

And that lead’s me to Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer,” which was released in 1984.

The lyrics were written by Henley and music was composed by Henley and Mike Campbell.

It is the lead track and first single from Henley's album Building the Perfect Beast and reached the top five in the United States as well as the top position on the Top Rock Tracks chart and number 12 in the UK Singles Chart.

In a 1987 interview with Rolling Stone, Henley explained that the song is more about aging and questioning the past—a recurring theme in Henley's lyrics.

In 1986, Henley won the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for the song.

I remember hearing this song for the first time way back when. The distinct riff and the interaction of the melody and lyric caught me right away.
It’s super easy. Check it out.

[Verse]
Em
Nobody on the road, nobody on the beach.
C
I feel it in the air, the summer's out of reach.
D
Empty lake, empty streets, the sun goes down alone.
C
I'm driving by your house, though I know your not home.

[Chorus]
G..............................D
But I can see you, your brown skin shining in the sun.
........................C
You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby.
G ............................D
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
................. C
After the boys of summer have gone.


“Upside Down” – Jack Johnson

Maybe just being laid back is what summer means to me.

And this song has an endearing patter to it that just feels good.

It was written, co-produced, and performed by Jack Johnson for the film Curious George, so perhaps that’s why it feels so sweet. It is the first track and only single on the album Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George, which was released in February 2006.

It peaked at #38 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was Johnson's sole US Top 40 hit until "You and Your Heart" in 2010. It has been certified Platinum by the RIAA for sales of over 1,000,000 in the US alone.

[Intro]
E..E..F#m..F#m

[Verse]
E
Who's to say
E
What's impossible
F#m
Well they forgot
F#m
This world keeps spinning
.................E
And with each new day
E .....................F#m..............F#m
I can feel a change in everything
......................E ........................E
And as the surface breaks reflections fade
..................F#m ..........................F#m
But in some ways they remain the same
.................. E..........................E
And as my mind begins to spread its wings
.....................F#m
There's no stopping curiosity

[Chorus]

F#M .............................. ........E.............F#m
I want to turn the whole thing upside down
A........B.................................E........... F#m
All finer things they say just can't be found
A.........B.............................E.......... F#m
I'll share this love I find with everyone
A .............B ...............................E...............F#m
We'll sing and dance to Mother Nature's songs
A.....................B ........................ E
I don't want this feeling to go away


“Baker Street” – Gerry Rafferty

OK, this isn’t a happy, sunshiny song.

But it’s the groove that puts it on here.

Pair that with an undeniable sense of longing and an unforgettable saxophone riff and you’ve got it going on.

"Baker Street" was written and first recorded by Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty. Released as a single in 1978, it reached #1 in Cash Box and #2 in Billboard - where it held for six weeks.

In October 2010 the song was recognized by BMI for surpassing 5 million performances worldwide.

[Verse]
A
Winding your way down on Baker Street

Light in your head, and dead on your feet
.............Em.............................G
Well another crazy day, you drink the night away
...............D
And forget about everything

A
This city desert makes you feel so cold, it’s got

So many people but its got no soul
................Em.........................G
And its taken you so long to find out you were wrong
..................D
When you thought it held everything.

[Chorus]
Dm7 .......................................Am7
You used to think that it was so easy
Dm7.....................................Am7
You used to say that it was so easy
.............C .............G ..............D
But you're tryin, you're tryin now
Dm7.....................................Am7
Another year and then you'd be happy
Dm7...............................................Am7
Just one more year and then you'd be happy
..........C.................G.................A
But you're cryin', you're cryin now


“Blister in the Sun” – Violent Femmes

If you want to get your punk on for some summer fun, you’ve picked the right song.

Released by the Violent Femmes it appeared on their 1983 self-titled debut album.

The song has appeared in several commercials for brands like Wendy’s and Foster’s Lager, and in the film Grosse Pointe Blank, but we still like it anyway.

Can you play G, C and Em? You’ve got it made.

[Verse]
G...............C ..........G ............C.........G............C ..........G
When I'm a walkin' I strut my stuff, then I'm so strung out.
.........G..........C .....G ......C.........G..........C ..........G
I'm high as a kite, I just might stop to check you out.

[Chorus]
.................Em..............C
Let me go on, like a blister in the sun.
................Em............C..............................D
Let me go on, big hands I know your the one.


“Hey Soul Sister” – Train

Love this song. It’s neat ukulele feel. It’s fun lyric. It’s bouncy groove.

"Hey, Soul Sister" was released as the lead single from the band's fifth studio album, Save Me, San Francisco.
The song reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is their highest charting song to date and has sold over 6 million digital copies in the US.

The live iTunes version of "Hey, Soul Sister" garnered a Grammy Award for Train at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.

For this version, capo 4 and play as written.

[Verse]
C..........G ........................Am........................F
Hey-ay, Hey-ay-AY-ay-ay, Hey-ay-AY-ay-ay
..........C ..............................G ......................Am ..........F
Your lipstick stains on the front lobe of my left side brains
................................C.................. G....................Am.....................F........G
I knew I wouldn't forget you and so I went and let you blow my mind
.............C...............G ........................ Am................. F
Your sweet moonbeam the smell of you in every single dream I dream
...............................C............................................G....................Am.......F.......G
I knew when we collided you're the one I have decided who's one of my kind

F................G .......C......................G....................F
Hey soul sister ain't that mister mister on the radio stereo
...........G.........................C...........G
The way you move aint fair you know
F................G........C..................G.....................F..............G
Hey soul sister I don't want to miss a single thing you do
..........C ..........G....................Am .........................F
Tonight Hey-ay, Hey-ay-AY-ay-ay, Hey-ay-AY-ay-ay