While music can be a passive activity, it can also be one of the most communal experiences found on Earth. There are few things that are more communal than being in a group of people all singing the same song.
Though not all of them feature a guitar, these types of songs are excellent choices to play on the guitar. Playing these songs in front of a group of people is sure to result in people singing along.
“Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey
Have you ever been to a wedding reception where the entire party erupts into shamelessly singing a song’s every word? Journey’s enormous hit, Don’t Stop Believin’, is usually a common culprit in these scenarios.
This ballad about seeking connection in the night is stocked with memorable musicality and a melody that can’t be denied. Plus, its message is something that just about every human in the modern world can relate to on some level.
“Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond’s song, Sweet Caroline, is one of the most famous and enduring love songs that emerged in the 60s. While many people might find annoyance with it today, it is a beautiful combination of picturesque lyricism with catchy musicality.
Any annoyance that could come from this song playing is due to the fact that people often sing along. More often than not, people shout “bum” in a sequence of 3 to vocalize the descending melody during the chorus.
“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd’s music has stretched the gamut from experimental psychedelia to operatic progressive rock. Their willingness to evolve has made them more accessible to a wider audience, whose tastes all vary to unique degrees.
However, their track, Wish You Were Here, is a ballad that just about everyone is prone to singing along to. Everybody has someone in their life that they miss, and this song captures that feeling in a relatable way.
“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison
If you were alive in the 1980s, you probably couldn’t escape the long reach that Poison had on the mainstream. Their massive popularity was only increased when they released the power ballad, Every Rose Has Its Thorn.
This song became an anthem for many, and it certainly has one of the most iconic choruses of that decade. The track is all about how something so beautiful can be so detrimental at the same time.
“Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses
When Paradise City was released, it was clear that Guns N’ Roses had tapped into a potent songwriting formula. The track’s simplistic opening, featuring vocals and sparse drums, seemed to be the epitome of anthemic 80s music.
Paradise City’s chorus is immediately memorable, partly due to its straightforward and edgy lyricism. Throw in some classic guitar work by Slash, and you have suddenly made an entire room of fans go nuts.
“Good Riddance” by Green Day
Green Day has certainly traversed many evolutions of sonic landscapes in their long careers. While they have a plethora of hits, by far the most famous is Good Riddance, from the 1997 album, Nimrod.
You’ll typically hear this song at graduations or any other rites of passage ceremonies that celebrate a new era. This track’s guitar part is perhaps just as iconic as the lyrics are themselves.
People will definitely be singing along, although it might be a tad bittersweet at the same time.
“Hotel California” by Eagles
The 1970s proved that Eagles were an absolute hit factory. Love them or hate them, you have to admit that some of their songs are rock’s biggest releases in history.
Hotel California, while maybe a bit overplayed, is a masterpiece of compositional layering and memorable, cinematic lyricism. In some ways, being engaged with this song is almost like being in the middle of a movie.
“We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister
Let’s face it, throughout the entirety of humanity, there have been many instances of oppression. Eventually, the feeling of speaking out and standing up against oppression reaches a boiling point.
Twisted Sister’s song, We’re Not Gonna Take It, is a true anthem for this kind of feeling. It remains one of their most popular tracks, partly because so many people can’t help but sing along.
“Time Is On My Side” by The Rolling Stones
The 1960s saw The Rolling Stones demonstrating their knack for creating iconic hit songs. Time Is On My Side, from 1964, has a sleepy vibe with a very catchy chorus.
It seems as if many people (particularly in establishments serving alcohol) love to sing long and sustained vocal notes. If you find yourself in this situation, Time Is On My Side makes for a perfect choice.
Just be forewarned that the result of everyone singing along might not sound as pretty as you would imagine. Of course, that’s part of the fun, anyway.
“All The Young Dudes” by Mott The Hoople
Another song with long, sustained notes in the chorus is Mott The Hoople’s track, All The Young Dudes. If you didn’t know any better, you would probably mistake this song for being a David Bowie track.
You wouldn’t be too far off the mark, as actually did write the song. And, really, it is quite the iconic song that begs for legions of people to be singing along.
“Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles
There is likely a huge part of the population that can sing every word in every song The Beatles recorded. However, Yellow Submarine is a song that just about everybody feels the need to sing along with.
After all, the chorus itself is recorded with multiple people singing in unison. Many people take this as a signal that they, too, should be singing this fun and ridiculous chorus.
“Changes” by David Bowie
Even casual Bowie fans are apt to sing along to the chorus of the song, Changes. The repeated emphasis on the “ch” of “changes” provides a potency for which only Bowie’s genius could have the foresight.
Plus, just about everyone on earth can relate to the passage of time and the changes caused by it. Despite its ability to change us, time remains an unchangeable, consistent constancy in the reality of life.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
It might seem untrue, but it took Bohemian Rhapsody a little while to become the cultural phenomenon it is today. Thanks to the 90’s flick, Wayne’s World, Bohemian Rhapsody quickly became the song that people needed to sing together.
The song’s involvement in the film actually takes place during one of the most iconic scenes of its entirety. The characters in the scene comedically sing the song, which in turn, caused society to mimic the scene.
“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac
There has been no stone left unturned when it comes to talking about the hit album, Rumours. The melancholic song, Dreams, is one of its most enduring tracks and has continually gotten popular over time.
A big part of this song’s success is the incredibly memorable chorus involving a phrase about thunder and rain. Another would have to be the song’s overall musical tonality, which is both lush and understated.
“Killing In The Name” by Rage Against The Machine
If you were alive during the 1990s, you probably knew the lyrics to the song, Killing In The Name. Rage Against The Machine was an aggressive musical force that was unafraid of pointing out large injustices.
Killing In The Name became a bit of an anthem amongst those who appreciated the band’s aggressive edge. Most people just like to sing along to the chorus, which calls for an expletive to be shamelessly shouted.
“(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” by Beastie Boys
When their debut album dropped, Beastie Boys showed the world they had their best interests at heart. This song quickly became embedded in the fabric of culture and could be heard just about anywhere during the 1990s.
You could probably guess why people love to sing along to this track. Most people are just trying to have a good time, without the need to worry about someone else’s judgments.
“Die For The Government” by Anti-Flag
Die For The Government certainly isn’t the gargantuan hit that most of the other songs on this list are. However, anyone who was into punk, particularly in the early 2000s can tell you that it’s a true anthem.
As you might suspect, this song relates to being in an army and fighting in the pointless wars of others. It’s a subject that has been drawn upon countless times within rock music over the many decades of modern music.
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver
John Denver’s biggest hit only continues to grow in popularity. The melody of this song has found its way into many different pop culture references over the years.
Part of what makes this song so successful is the melody within the song’s chorus. It has the feeling of being an old folk song passed down from generation to generation.
“On The Road Again” by Willie Nelson
The 1980s saw Willie Nelson continue to capitalize on his prior successes. During this period, he released the monstrous hit, On The Road Again.
Country music is full of memorable choruses, and this one ranks up near the top. The song’s odd sense of timing also helps to give the song a fun boost in all the right places.
“American Pie” by Don McLean
American Pie was one of the biggest international hits released in the early 1970s. It’s also a song that has enjoyed countless lyrical interpretations and fan theories over the song’s meaning.
Regardless of interpretation, American Pie is a song that is sure to have people singing along. The recording itself features a singalong, with the song’s lyrics mentioning people singing the chorus together.
“Down On The Corner” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
The swampy sound of Creedence Clearwater Revival remains ever so infectious in today’s modern era. Down On The Corner is a song that has become a bit of a cultural favorite over the years.
Of course, the song does have a signature line played by the guitar and bass guitar an octave apart. Down On The Corner really does make one nostalgic for times long gone.
“What I Got” by Sublime
If there was 1 song from the 1990s epitomizing the sound of summer, What I Got, is a candidate. Sublime perfected the formula with this song, with interesting musicality and extremely memorable lyrics.
What I Got is just one of those songs that an innumerably massive number of people know the lyrics to. It’s a safe bet most of them can recite every word from the album, 40oz. To Freedom.
“Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Yes, Freebird, the world’s most jokingly requested song makes for an excellent song for others to sing along to. The probability is quite likely that, despite its joke status, the majority of people know the words to the song.
Even if you can’t play the solo, Freebird is a worthwhile song to learn on guitar. You can invite everyone to vocalize the solos, much like the band Phish does during their a cappella performances.
“Hey Jude” by The Beatles
There’s just something about powerful ballads that make people want to sing along. Hey Jude is, by far, one of the most anthemic tracks to be found in The Beatles’ catalog.
Not many people can resist singing the song’s chorus, which features sustained notes of “Na”. Plus, it has some of the most iconic musical passages to exist in recorded music.
“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
The tail end of the 1970s was marked by the disco-flavored song, I Will Survive. This track has become one of the most important songs in the history of all recorded music.
Many people (women especially) have identified with the lyrics of this song, which touch on the power of the individual. What many don’t know is that Gaynor was actually in a back brace when she recorded her emotionally-tinged vocals.
Best Sing Along Songs For Guitar, Final Thoughts
Songs that are embedded within the common nomenclature of pop culture make for great songs to learn on guitar. Whether you’re in a band, or you just play for friends, consider adding a few of these to your repertoire.
When played at the right time, it can provide a moment to be remembered by others for years to come. Music is all about connection, and these songs will help catalyze that connective link between you and an audience.