37 Easy Pop Songs On Guitar [With Tabs]

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“You Just Can’t Quit” by Ricky Nelson


He might not be as famous today, but in his heyday, Ricky Nelson was a household name. His music primarily floated around in country music circles, with many songs enjoying crossover pop success. 

The song, You Just Can’t Quit, is reportedly one of the very first songs that Ricky Nelson ever wrote. It features very simple chords along with a capo at the 1st fret.

You Just Can’t Quit is also ideal for starting to learn lead guitar concepts. This famous track features the iconic Telecaster master, James Burton, providing its signature melodies.

“California Dreamin’” by Mamas And The Papas


Vocal harmonies rose to new heights in popularity during the late 1960s. Unfortunately, it really was the last true era where vocal harmonies reigned supreme.

One of the best groups incorporating mixed vocal harmonies at the time was the Mamas And The Papas. California Dreamin’ remains to be one of their most enduring songs.

This track has an iconic fingerpicked guitar intro, relying on simple strumming throughout the rest of the song. You’ll want to get this song learned if you’re ever thinking of doing a duet. 

“Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison


Sometimes, there’s nothing more satisfying than learning a guitar riff that conveys so much information at once. Oh, Pretty Woman’s guitar melody is instantly recognizable, and yet, could mean different things depending on when it’s played.

For the most part, any beginner will be able to play Roy Orbison’s smash hit. The riff does take a little time to properly play, primarily because it takes place over multiple strings.

Even if you don’t learn this song, at least listen to the chord progressions used throughout. Orbison’s use of the minor tonality pushes this song into a sort of dreamy feeling consistent with infatuation.

“Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley


You might be a little surprised to see Bob Marley’s reggae hit, Three Little Birds, on this list. Reggae isn’t typically a sound that you might associate with pop music.

However, reggae did enjoy its brief time in the spotlight of mainstream music consumers. Bob Marley was the artist that gave reggae worldwide recognition.

Three Little Birds is insanely easy to play in terms of its underlying chords. It’s the rhythm pattern that you’ll need to spend the most time on in order to get that signature sound.

“Feel Good Inc.” by Gorillaz

“Feel Good Inc.” by Gorillaz


Fictitious bands are nothing new, and with the rise of computer technology, we’ll see even more of these groups. However, during the 2000s, the animated band, Gorillaz, was ruling the airwaves.

One of the group’s biggest hits is, Feel Good Inc., which rides on a signature bass groove. The guitar part primarily plays intervals of 6ths during the verses, using simple barre chords for the choruses. 

This song might be a little more difficult to pull off if it's just you playing the song. A loop pedal might come in handy so that you can at least incorporate that bass line. 

“Clint Eastwood” by Gorillaz


While Feel Good Inc. was a smashing success, the song Clint Eastwood might be the biggest Gorillaz hit. Just about everybody found something to appreciate with this track upon its release.

Musically, the song is relatively simple, relying on some simple chord stabs. While these weren’t recorded with the guitar, they can easily be adapted to the instrument.

For further research, check out the Trey Anastasio Band, who regularly performs a cover of this song. You’ll see just how well this song works for a live band setting. 

“Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel


What do you think is more popular, the popular film, The Graduate, or Simon & Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson? Both works of art are absolutely deserving of all the attention and praise over the last 50 years. 

It’s rare when a film and a song from its soundtrack become equally as big in their own way. Mrs. Robinson almost served as the perfect advertisement for the hit film featuring Dustin Hoffman. 

This is a fairly simple song when compared to other Simon & Garfunkel songs. You’ll primarily be working with some simple strumming of basic chord shapes.

“The Man Who Sold The World” by David Bowie


David Bowie has had one of the most pioneering careers in terms of exemplifying a pop star’s possibilities. While his early work was very much influenced by folk, Bowie reinvented his sound and persona time and again. 

Along the way, Bowie created a catalog full of classic songs waiting to be covered by the avid musician. The Man Who Sold The World is ideal for both singer-songwriters and those new to playing guitar solos. 

This track inevitably enjoyed a newfound interest after Nirvana famously covered it for their MTV Unplugged album. No matter what version you choose to replicate, this song is sure to be a hit with audiences.

“I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash


Does Johnny Cash technically count as a pop artist? He is, after all, most commonly associated with the sounds of country music.

However, you’d actually be surprised at just how popular Johnny Cash remains among the common populace. If we refer back to our brief definition of pop music, Johnny Cash is an artist that fits the bill. 

There are many worthwhile Johnny Cash tracks to add to your repertoire, but I Walk The Line is especially ideal. It’s the song from which the famous film featuring Joaquin Phoenix takes its name.

“Creep” by Radiohead


It’s almost comical how much distaste Radiohead eventually garnished for their hit song, Creep. But it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to be defined by one song released so early in their career. 

Nevertheless, at its core, you can’t deny that Creep is actually a fantastic song. Anyone who has ever felt like an outcast slightly left of normal can easily identify with the song’s lyrics.

Creep will introduce you to the power of the major/minor tonalities, especially when built from the same root note. The entire song is built primarily from a repeating chord progression. 

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana


We’re all probably very familiar with how Nirvana eventually took over nearly all forms of mainstream airwaves in the 1990s. Similarly, you probably have at least a vague understanding of the cultural significance of the song, Smells Like Teen Spirit. 

If you’re just starting out on the guitar, you might have this on your list of songs to learn. It’s actually ideal for beginners who are just starting to grasp the concept of power chords.

The verses rely on the usage of 2 notes, and the solo is melodic enough for anyone to figure out. Get this under your belt and you could spark the resurgence of another wave of grunge popularity. 

“I Love Rock ’N Roll” by Joan Jett And The Blackhearts


If you wrote a song attempting to sound like the pure essence of rock and roll, how would it sound? Many feel that Joan Jett hit the nail on the head with her track, I Love Rock ’N Roll.

This song is, fundamentally, a sort of hybrid between hard rock meeting the careless punk rock attitude. It’s incredibly simple, consisting of a few chords, but is pure rock and roll in its delivery.

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