Songs Every Rock Musician Should Know

Have you ever tried to jam with a musician, but neither of you know any of the same songs? Well, look no further, because Evews333's List of Songs Every Rocker Should Know is here to help!

Ultimate Guitar

(Note: This list is aimed mainly at beginning musicians, but intermediate and advanced players can benefit from it as well. If this goes over well, I will try to write a similar article for more proficient rockers.)

Picture this: you and some of your other musical friends are all pumped and ready to jam your little hearts out, but when you try to decide on what songs to play, you guys run into a problem: none of you know any of the same songs! And to think that you practiced that awesome solo until your fingers bled! You know the one I'm talking about, it's the one with that totally hard technique-thingy. You've have to have heard it! Whatever, you'll know it when you hear it. The point is, I've compiled a list of songs that every rock musician should know. These songs span multiple decades, and are incredibly fun to play. Alright then, let's take the plunge into the wonderful world of Rock n Roll!


Instrumentation: This section lists what instruments are needed to play these songs. They can be swapped out as needed to change the sound, but these are the instruments used in the songs' most basic form.

Difficulty: A general rating (On a scale of 1 to 5) of how difficult the song is for the band as a whole.

Description: A summary of who recorded this song, what individual parts to watch out for, etc.

SEVEN NATION ARMY by The White Stripes

Instrumentation: Drums, Guitar, Bass, Vocals

Difficulty: 1

Description: Let me begin by saying that yes, everyone knows that the low, grumbling riff that acts as this song's hook is not really played on a bass, but a guitar with an octave pedal. (If this is news to you, I'm sorry to come on so strongly.) But honestly, who doesn't love that riff? Bum, bum BUM bum bum, bum. This is one of those songs that are very hard to play badly, so it is great for beginners. For the guitarists, make sure to break out the crazy distortion on that solo!


Instrumentation: Drums, Guitar, Bass, Vocals

Difficulty: 2

Description: This is the song that brought grunge into the mainstream back in the 90's. (Ironically, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was never too fond of the song and came to despise it.) For the record, it is impossible to play this song too loudly and with too much angst. So, "Load up on guns and briiiiiiiing your friends...


Instrumentation: Drums, Bass, Guitar, Vocals

Difficulty: 3

Description: This song, when played well, is pretty much an instant crowd pleaser, which makes it very useful for trying to appeal to large audiences. Guitarists, watch out for those runs in between the main riffs, and vocalists, castration may be necessary to rival the shouts that Brian Johnson emits on this 1980 classic.

WIPE OUT by The Surfaris

Instrumentation: Drums, Bass, Guitar

Difficulty: 3

Description: This one's for all of the instrumental bands out there. If you need a bright summery song to lighten the mood, or you just want your crowd dancing like its 1963, this is the song for you. Drummers, that opening solo is your time to shine. Guitarists have a nice little solo section in here too.

BASKET CASE by Green Day

Difficulty: 2

Instrumentation: Drums, Bass, Guitar, Vocals

Description: WARNING!!! Playing this song will most definitely cause the nearest punk listener to corner you and proceed to bombard you with ramblings of how old Green Day material is "so hardcore" and how they've become "too pop." Aside from that, this is a song that isn't entirely difficult on any part. The song does feature rather long instrumental sections (for a punk song), so stay alert and don't let you playing get too sloppy.

Well, that about sums it up. For tabs of these songs, you can search right here on, or, if you want an extra challenge, you could figure them out by ear. Now, what are you waiting for? Grab some friends, your gear, and crank it up to 11!

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    My list Seven Nation Army Smells Like Teen Spirit Back in Black Blues in E,A and G I Wanna Be Sedated With these songs, endless jamming is possible.
    I would add Louie Louie. Just for the sheer fact that it's insanely easy to play and it's a classic.