Whether you’re just starting to learn how to play the guitar or have a few years under your belt, learning a new rock song is always fun.
What’s great about rock music is that a lot of the time, the guitar riffs aren’t all that hard to play however they sound great and are perfect for impressing your friends.
There are literally hundreds of easy rock songs to choose from however I wanted to narrow this list down to what I personally believe are some of the best and easiest rock songs to learn and play.
A lot of these songs use power chords. If you aren’t yet familiar with these types of chord shapes, I would recommend checking out our power chords article to learn more before you dive into the song list.
This list is in no particular order so feel free to jump in wherever. Pick a song you like, and start learning how to play it.
What Are The Best Easy Rock Guitar Songs?
1. “Smoke On The Water” By Deep Purple
Smoke on the Water has one of the most iconic riffs in rock music. Deep Purple wrote it after a casino where Frank Zappa performed caught on fire, so even the lyrics are as genuine and brilliant as the licks.
It’s an excellent song to start learning guitar since nearly everyone has heard it at least once. The riffs are fairly simple, and the melodies are as catchy as they can be. Somewhere in the world, each minute a beginner is trying to learn the main verse of Smoke on the Water.
2. “Start Me Up” By The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones have been making hit after hit ever since 1962, and they’re still having a blast today.
Start Me Up is one of their most popular “feel-good” songs; the riffs are extremely catchy, the song is repetitive enough to be easy to memorize, and all members of this revolutionary band are at the top of their game.
Start Me Up is a brilliant rock tune that can easily be picked up by fans of any music genre.
3. “Seven Nation Army” By The White Stripes
The biggest and most recognizable bass intro of all time, the opening lick in Seven Nation Army is the reason why bands no longer struggle to find bass players so much.
The simplicity of the main lick, especially the fact that the entire arrangement is made around a couple of bass notes, is why this is one of the greatest songs ever written. Beginner musicians start with it before venturing to more challenging tunes while even professionals like to jam off to its great vibe.
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4. “T.N.T” By AC/DC
AC/DC has been reshaping the boundaries of rock for decades, and in just a couple of years, its “T.N.T.” (both album and song) will celebrate its 50th anniversary. If a single riff had to be declared an “all-time-classic”, I would probably choose T.N.T.
Not many artists can boast about creating such a powerful, yet simple guitar song that is still a prolific fan favorite after almost half a century. It’s far from being fast by any means, the main lick repeats over a dozen times throughout the song, and there are only a few basic guitar chord changes to keep the brain muscles working.
It’s a classic AC/DC tune covered by everyone – from Anthrax and Six Feet Under, to Hayseed Dixie, Puddle of Mudd, and thousands of bands around the globe.
5. “Iron Man” By Black Sabbath
Another oldie-goldie on the list, Black Sabbath’s Iron Man is a song that might be more popular than ever today, yet its rich history is one of the reasons why it’s considered among the best tunes of all time.
It predates Marvel’s superhero with the same name; it established the foundation of modern heavy metal with its ultra-heavy C-Standard arrangement, and each original lineup member demonstrated exemplary prowess on their respective instruments.
Iron Man is one of the first songs most rock guitarists learn because of its sluggish tempo. Aside from the solo, this song can easily be considered among more basic rock tunes.
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6. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” By Nirvana
The “flannel” grunge revolution began a couple of years before Nirvana came to the scene, but it was Smells Like Teen Spirit that helped it explode on the scene.
Aggressive, angst-filled licks, drums, and lyrics coupled with a somber atmosphere in this song helped it endure all tests of time.
If you learn the intro to Smells Like Teen Spirit, you essentially know the entire song. The original grunge bands were never known for complex songwriting after all.
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7. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” By The Rolling Stones
Merely three years after forming, The Rolling Stones made a song that would continue trending over five decades after its conception. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’s upbeat vibe, uniquely distorted guitars, and gritty drums coupled with Mick Jagger’s idiosyncratic voice form the recipe of a classic rock and roll tune.
Satisfaction features only a couple of riffs, both of which are stupidly simple and exceptionally catchy. If you heard it on the radio on your way home, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to play it as soon as you arrive (kidding… but it won’t take you very long to learn).
8. “Sunshine of Your Love” By Cream
When some of the most talented musicians and poets banded together, the Cream “of the crop” was formed (see that I did there?). It’s one of the first rock supergroups in the scene, and this song is an excellent example of what masters of the guitar, drums, and a microphone can do when they come together.
Sunshine of Your Love is easily one of the band’s most popular songs, famous for its catchy opening theme and deeplyrics. Compared to other tracks on the list, it’s slightly more technically demanding, but the repetitive riffs make it easily approachable for beginners.
9. “I Love Rock and Roll” By Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
The title of I Love Rock and Roll says it all. Joan Jett and her Blackhearts friends made a statement in 1981, and its powerful message still resounds.
Fun fact: This song was actually recorded by a British group called Arrows in 1975.
At its core, this song is a simple rock and roll sing-along tune with minimalistic guitars, a straightforward beat, and the robust voice of the legendary Joan Jett. When combined, these elements have created an R&R anthem that continues to be chanted today.
Riff-wise, though, I Love Rock and Roll is pretty dang simple and shouldn’t take you too long to master.
10. “Whole Lotta Love” By Led Zeppelin
The Led Zeppelin II is widely regarded as Zep’s finest piece of work, mainly because it features Whole Lotta Love as one of the grooviest rock tracks ever recorded. It changed the game for rock artists that came after Zeppelin, as it demonstrates a perfect blend of technique, talent, and a knack for sonic experimentation all Zeppelin members have.
Whole Lotta Love is among the easier Zeppelin songs, even though there are a couple of tricky time signatures (between the guitar and drums) and a rather unconventional bridge.
11. “Cocaine” By Eric Clapton
Easily the most prolific English guitarist, Eric Clapton has created a massive body of work, most of which is comprised of vastly different styles. From the Yardbirds and Cream to Blind Faith, Plastic Ono Band, and plenty of other bands, Mr. Clapton has hundreds of songs under his belt, yet Cocaine remains one of his most acclaimed songs.
It’s funkier than most love songs and more straightforward than a classic rock tune, and the binding tissue that ties it to both worlds is Eric’s unique writing and playing style. Aside from the solo, Cocaine is very easy to memorize as its riffs are fairly basic and slow.
12. “Beverly Hills” By Weezer
Featured on the “Make Believe” record, Weezer’s Beverly Hills is an excellent example of contemporary music crossing over into the party rock genre.
Bigger-than-life refrains and smooth-sailing verses followed by almost recited lyrics have taken rock into a different direction relative to the “classics”, and even though Weezer was not the first band to do it, their catchy riffs and danceable melodies helped them popularize this style.
This tune is more about the vibe than the music’s technicalities. Both riffs that comprise this song should be more than simple enough for any beginner to tackle.
13. “Wild Thing” By The Troggs
Another iconic song on the list, Wild Thing by The Troggs is a smashing rock love song full of energy and positive vibes. It’s vastly different from rock tunes composed during that time by featuring flute solos and remarkably groovy percussions that influenced generations of young rock artists.
The majority of tunes released in the late ‘60s were as straightforward as possible, and Wild Thing is not an exception. If you’ve just picked up a guitar, this tune should be a breeze to master.
14. “Blitzkrieg Bop” By Ramones
Blitzkrieg Bop is one of the most popular songs created by a band that helped tailor the old-school punk rock genre.
The infamous Ramones came to prominence by adding speed and (even more) angst into classic rock, and this tune describes the band’s message and vision to the letter.
Gritty vocals, deep lyrics, fast drums, overdriven bass, and loud guitars are at the core of Blitzkrieg Bop.
15. “Born In The U.S.A” By Bruce Springsteen
The legendary Bruce Springsteen has been gracing the world with outstanding rock music since 1972, although it took him a bit over a decade to create a hit that millions of fans will forever remember him for.
Born in the U.S.A. is the pinnacle of patriotic R&R, displaying Bruce’s exemplary singing capabilities, rock-solid guitar work, and passion for his music.
Aside from the fact that it’s barely over 2 minutes “long”, the minimalistic riffs in this tune make it one of the first things greenhorn musicians learn to play.
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16. “Cherry Bomb” By John Mellencamp
Saying Cherry Bomb is a beautiful rock ballad would be a huge understatement. It’s much more than a power rock duet backed by harmonicas and a mini-orchestra following John Mellencamp’s beautiful voice. In comparison to contemporary ‘80s rock tunes, it’s not as guitar-driven, but it is certainly as powerful and meaningful as any legendary song of that time.
Although there are more than a few filler instrument tracks on Cherry Bomb, the guitar work is quite plain. The same couple of riffs repeat throughout the song while there are minimal variations on the lead guitar.
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17. “You Really Got Me” By The Kinks
The Kinks are such an eclectic band that fitting them into a single category is almost impossible. One of their most popular tunes is You Really Got Me, which is rock & roll as it is punk and funk with a dash of jazz and folk. Catchy, easy-to-learn riffs and grainy, powerful vocals describe You Really Got Me the best.
The main riff does feature a chord change that is a little on the faster side but most beginners should be able to handle it quite easily.
18. “Runnin’ Down a Dream” By Tom Petty
Runnin’ Down a Dream is a song in which Tom sings about the joy of embracing new opportunities and possibilities, drifting from the default “party hard” theme stretched across the modern rock.
Released in 2007, this tune was pitted against the remnants of grunge, the rapidly advancing electronic music style, and everything but classic rock. Tom Petty’s brilliant guitar work and voice helped Runnin’ Down a Dream become and remain relevant and powerful as attention to guitar-driven rock music slowly dwindled.
19. “All Along the Watchtower” By Jimi Hendrix
A timeless masterpiece would be the words that best describe Jimi Hendrix’s legacy. All Along the Watchtower is rightfully considered one of his finest works, as it displays his unique voice and virtuosic soloing.
It defined the 70’s psychedelic rock scene and continues to inspire rock musicians to this day.
All Along the Watchtower features a couple of relatively simple solos that may be somewhat of a challenge for beginners. However, the song itself is quite straightforward, and the licks are as catchy as they are predictable.
20. “Simple Man” By Lynyrd Skynyrd
Simple Man is a powerful, deeply emotional rock ballad that shines with hopefulness. Though basic from a technical standpoint, the riffs in this Lynyrd Skynyrd tune are outstandingly powerful and cast a tall shadow above contemporary power ballads.
Soaring vocals, earth-splitting refrains, and inspiring lyrics are some of the many reasons why Simple Man withstood all tests of time for nearly half a century.
The clean parts in Simple Man require a degree of precision, but the reason why this song should be easy even for beginners is that learning the first couple of bars means that the player knows how to play the entire tune.
21. “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” By The Clash
The Clash is one of the founding pillars of British punk rock, and even people that somehow aren’t familiar with the band know its most impactful hit, Should I Stay or Should I Go.
This song is straightforward as far as riffs and technique are of concern, but its unique vibe, group vocals, and cheerful, upbeat tempo gave generations of later punk rock bands quite a homework.
Similar to most contemporary punk bands, The Clash, and especially Should I Stay Or Should I Go were never about technique or guitar prowess. Plain, repetitive riffs make this tune very easy for most, if not all guitar players.
22. “American Idiot” By Green Day
The history of modern punk rock started with Greenday, Offspring, and NOFX, or more precisely speaking, with the “American Idiot”.
Seamlessly blending political innuendos with party aspects of rock and fast, angst-fueled punk, Green Day created a tune that brought fans of different musical styles and opinions together with what remains the trendiest punk rock song of all time.
Basic guitar riffs and chords make American Idiot very catchy, so even if you never heard this track before, you can both memorize and learn how to play it with ease.
23. “Steady As She Goes” By The Raconteurs
Steady As She Goes is far removed from classic songs in that it features more deliberate vocal shapes, duet harmonies, and strong, yet danceable riffs.
Spread across multiple genres, the Raconteurs is better described as an indie rock group, and with “Steady As She Goes” they entered the big leagues of some of the best rock artists.
The “stop-go” guitar work in Steady As She Goes makes it minimally challenging in terms of technique; the same two riffs repeat on and off throughout the song, and it’s rightly considered among the easier rock tunes in contemporary music.
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24. “20th Century Boy” By T. Rex
T. Rex shared the stage with numerous iconic British rock legends, and most people remember the band for its massive success achieved with 20th Century Boy.
Cheerful, somewhat satiric, and genuinely fun to listen and dance to, this tune helped T. Rex shape a different path for British rock. The repeating melody line in 20th Century Boy comprises almost 80% of the song, making it an easy rock tune anyone can get into.
25. “Hair Of The Dog” By Nazareth
Rock music was wild in its early years, and Nazareth’s Hair of the Dog is a perfect example of a song that pushed the boundaries of what was accepted in the 1970s. Hair of the Dog is an ode to the hard-partying rock and roll lifestyle, focusing on how it can be both thrilling and dangerous.
Hair of the Dog made good use of the wah-wah pedal and added an ungodly amount of cowbell to the percussion section (I’m not knocking that by any means).
As far as guitar parts are of concern, there’s hardly anything difficult about Hair of the Dog.
26. “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” By Judas Priest
Featured on the “Screaming for Vengeance” record, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ is an unapologetic rock & roll masterpiece that paved the way for modern-day heavy metal.
With supercharged guitars, remarkable drumming, and the soaring vocals of the legendary Rob Halford, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ is still in heavy circulation on dozens of rock and metal radios and podcasts worldwide.
For rock and metal guitar players, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ is one of the simplest tunes out there; the only thing that is remotely difficult in this song is the galloping strumming hand technique.
27. “Lick It Up” By Kiss
Not all heroes wear masks, but some of the most iconic rock and roll legends do. Kiss changed the world of rock music with larger-than-life anthems, unique personas its members morphed into on stage, and undeniable proficiency on their respective instruments.
Lick It Up is a staple in Kiss’s catalog and rock music as a whole, featuring amazing guitar work, a thundering, yet steady bass, great solos, and the best vocals in the genre and beyond.
Although all players who ever performed (and still do) in Kiss are top-notch musicians, the slow-paced tempo and simplistic melodies in Lick It Up isn’t reflective of the band’s technical prowess. Most greenhorn rock guitarists can easily learn it in a couple of weeks of trying.
27 Easy Rock Guitar Songs [Infographic]
Hopefully, you enjoyed this list of easy rock songs and it has inspired you to learn a few of them. If you’ve felt that these songs are just a bit too easy for you, you might need to take it up a notch and learn some more challenging songs.
In that case, I’d recommend checking out our lists of:
- Top 35 Hardest Guitar Songs: A List for Aspiring Virtuosos
- 20 Hardest Guitar Solos That Will Impress Your Friends
Finding new songs to play can sometimes be challenging so whether you’re just practicing or looking for a few songs to play at your next open mic, this list should have you covered.
If you think I may have missed any great easy rock songs in the list above, don’t forget to leave a comment below. Let us know what your favorite easy rock song is!