Love songs have always held a special place in the world. And while playing a recording of a love song can be a special occasion, guitar players are uniquely equipped to connect with the special people in their lives. Even if you've only been playing a short time, you can impress and connect with a loved one with a heartfelt song. Here are our suggestions for the top guitar love songs to learn to play.
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The Top Guitar Love Songs to Learn
1. Can't Help Falling In Love With You - Elvis Presley
This love ballad might be one of the most famous love songs of all time. Songwriter George Weiss based it loosely on "Plaisir d'amour," a French love song from the 1700s. Though it has been performed and recorded by countless artists, "Can't Help Falling in Love" was initially made famous by Elvis Presley. This video (below left) shows him performing it live in 1970.
"Can't Help Falling in Love" was also featured in the movie Blue Hawaii. And even though it's known as a famous love song, Elvis's character in the movie doesn't sing it to a love interest -- he sings it to his grandmother.
This beautiful song isn't too hard to play, and this video (above right) teaches you both a strummed version and a fingerpicked version. Both use the same chords -- you'll need C, Em, Am, F, B7, A7, Dm, and G. You'll also need a capo on the second fret.
2. Forever Love - Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is one of the most celebrated artists in the country genre, and today she's also known for her philanthropy and activism. And though Dolly has written lots of widely popular songs, "Forever Love" has a special backstory. Dolly wrote it about her husband Carl Dean, to whom she's been married 50 years. This is the song she sang to Carl when the two renewed their vows. You can listen to Dolly's performance of the song here (below left).
Luckily, this peaceful and romantic song isn't too difficult to play. But if you aren't yet familiar with barre chords, you may need to practice playing them a bit beforehand. Check out this video lesson (above right) for an introduction to barre chords. "Forever Love" also has some unusual and challenging chords, so it isn't one of the easy songs on the list. You'll need B, E, D#, G#m, C#, F#, D#7, C#7, and G#.
3. When You Love Someone - Bryan Adams
This song's message is about the transformative nature of love. And specifically, it's about how loving someone can transform your whole worldview. It was written by Bryan Adams, a Grammy-winning Canadian singer-songwriter. This unique version (below left) of the song features Adam harmonizing with a recorded version of his own voice. His strong harmonies are impressive, and at one point he adds in a harmonica.
This video lesson (above - center) offers a step-by-step guide to playing the acoustic version. In terms of chords used, it isn't too complex -- you primarily will need Em7, G, D, and A, and there are a few slightly modified versions involved.
"When You Love Someone" is a great song to start practicing percussive techniques (video above right) on your acoustic guitar. Percussive playing adds another dimension to your guitar work. And when you're playing a heartfelt love song for someone special to you, incorporating both fingerpicking and percussive techniques is sure to make it memorable.
4. You're Beautiful - James Blunt
"You're Beautiful" is one of the more recent guitar songs on the list. And as love songs go, this one is relatively easy to play -- it involves open chord shapes, and the strumming pattern is fairly easy to follow. Lyrically, "You're Beautiful" captures the moment when the singer sees someone beautiful on a subway. Blunt himself has said that the song was written about his ex-girlfriend. If you're unfamiliar with the song, you can check out the official music video here (below left).
This video tutorial (above right) offers a helpful walkthrough of the song. If you want to improve your guitar skills, you can even learn the riff that goes along with the song. You'll need a capo on the eighth fret -- this is how James Blunt plays the song live, and it also gives you a focused, almost chimey sound. In terms of chords, you'll need G, Dadd11/F#, Em7, Cadd9, G, and Am. If you're a beginner, some of those chords may look unfamiliar. But don't worry -- each chord is relatively easy to play, and the lesson shows you each one.
Interestingly enough, even though "You're Beautiful" has won multiple awards and became very popular in both the U.K. and the U.S., James Blunt has said that he personally dislikes the song.
5. I Will Always Love You - Dolly Parton And Whitney Houston
If you want to do a vocal cover of this widely popular song, you'll need to be a talented singer. Luckily, it's a relatively easy song to pick up on guitar unless you're a very new beginner. You may know Whitney Houston's version of this song, but it was originally written and performed by Dolly Parton.
Although this beautiful melody is one of the world's most famous love songs, it doesn't have the conventional backstory of a love song. Dolly wrote it for her mentor, country star Porter Wagoner. As her career started to take off, Dolly stopped working with Wagoner. He saw her leaving as a betrayal of sorts, so Dolly wrote "I Will Always Love You" to show her appreciation and to tell him how she felt. Wagoner said it was the prettiest song he'd ever heard. This video (below left) shows Dolly performing it live in 1974.
Later, Whitney Houston performed an arrangement of the song for the movie The Bodyguard. Her version transformed the mellow but emotionally charged song into a power ballad. You can hear her stunning rendition of the song in this music video (above center).
This tutorial (above right) offers a detailed explanation of how to play the song. It may take some practice to get exactly right, but its unique chord progression makes it one of the most beautiful songs on the list. "I Will Always Love You" uses inversions of D#, E, and D. You'll also need D, A, F#m7, E, Amaj7sus2, Dmaj7, C#m7, Bm7, B, G#m, and F#. The heartfelt feelings behind the song are sure to come out when you play it for someone who's special to you.
6. John Mayer - Half Of My Heart
This country-tinged hit from John Mayer may be a little more ambivalent-sounding than most romantic guitar songs. If you go by the lyrics, though, the singer still seems to love someone despite his reservations. "Half of My Heart" is up-tempo and catchy, and it's not too hard to play on guitar. It's perfect to learn if you prefer catchy love songs. And if you want to perform with a loved one, it's also a duet -- it features backing vocals by Taylor Swift.
This love song opens with a catchy lick and includes a snappy strumming pattern. This video lesson will show you how to play through the song. The strumming pattern is fairly intuitive, but if you aren't too familiar with barre chords, the chord changes may take some practice. You'll need B flat, F, C, Dm, Am7, Cm7, and Gm.
If you know your scales, this just might be a great love song to start practicing playing lead -- that catchy opening lick is based on the F major pentatonic scale.
"Half of My Heart" may have inspired a real-life romance. After collaborating on the song, John Mayer and Taylor Swift started a relationship. That said, their relationship didn't last long.
7. Stay With Me - Sam Smith
Sam Smith's plaintive voice in "Stay With Me" gives it the feel of a sad song. And if you listen closely to the lyrics, this isn't a traditional love song, either. It offers a glimpse of (mostly) unrequited love -- the singer is aware that a one-night stand doesn't love him, but he asks them to stay anyway. Granted, most love songs don't have this exact premise. But "Stay With Me" has a beautiful melody, and it's also a great song to play to impress girls. If you're unfamiliar with the song, you can hear it in this official music video (below left).
You might notice that "Stay With Me" is a very short song -- it's under three minutes long. While that short length might make it easier to learn, it was also a deliberate choice made by Sam Smith and his producers. A shorter, simpler track highlighted Sam's soulful vocals. Sam and his production team stuck with this strategy for the entirety of In the Lonely Hour, Sam's debut album.
"Stay With Me" is one of those love songs you can play with a simple strumming pattern as you sing along. This quick video lesson (above right) gives you an introduction to the five chords you need to play it. This video only includes down strums, but you can easily mix up the pattern and find a rhythm that works for you. For this simplified version, you just need Am, F, C, D, and G. If you haven't yet mastered the challenging art of playing and singing at the same time, this is one of the best love songs to practice it on. And when you finally play it for someone special (or even someone you just want to impress), you'll see that your effort was worth it!
8. Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers
The song "Unchained Melody" got its unique name from the fact that it served as the theme song for a prison film called "Unchained." The song was initially written by Alex North and Hy Zaret, and it's been performed by countless artists over the years. The most famous rendition is the one performed by the Righteous Brothers.
The Righteous Brothers just might be one of the longest-lasting musical duos out there. Bill Medley and Bucky Heard formed the group in 1963, and the Righteous Brothers are still performing today. They were one of the earliest examples of "blue-eyed soul," paving the way for artists like Adele and Sam Smith. Check out the Righteous Brothers performing "Unchained Melody" live in this video (below left).
The lyrics to "Unchained Melody" make it especially applicable to a long-distance relationship. It's also one of the more poetic love songs on the list -- one memorable verse includes the words "Lonely rivers sigh, 'Wait for me, wait for me/I'll be coming home, wait for me.'"
Though you could choose a strumming pattern to go with this song, it sounds truly beautiful when fingerpicked. Plus, if you're playing guitar for someone you love, a fingerpicked song has a certain intimacy to it. This helpful video (above right) takes you through a beginner-friendly fingerpicked version. The fingerpicking pattern is easy to get the hang of, and in terms of chords, you'll primarily need C, Am, F, G, Fm, C7, Em, and E flat. And as you get more comfortable with the fingerpicking technique, you may want to add some of your own variations.
This classic love song is a great one to help you develop your guitar playing skills. It's also a great piano song, so if you're a multi-instrumentalist, you might want to try it on the piano, too.
9. I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
"I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz carries the same message of countless love songs before it -- the singer confesses his love to someone special. This song's romantic lyrics are a little more whimsical than some, making it one of the best love songs for people who prefer a lighthearted approach to love. The aesthetic of the music video, which you can watch here (below left), perfectly suits the song itself.
"I'm Yours" is a song that's bright and joyful, and its optimism is contagious. Jason Mraz has said that he doesn't even remember writing it -- the song "just came out of joy."
As you can likely tell just from listening, "I'm Yours" offers a great opportunity to practice palm muting on your down strums. You only need five chords to play it, too -- G, D/F#, Em, C, and A/C#. This video tutorial (above right) takes you through how to play it. It's the right song to learn to play on guitar if you want to hone your sense of rhythm -- as the instructor in the video notes, the song has a rhythm with a "shuffle" feel. And if you aspire to write your own love songs at some point, the interesting guitar techniques in this tutorial might give you a few ideas to use later.
10. Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
This sweet love song has lyrics that tell a relatively simple story -- a singer goes to a party with a beautiful woman, telling her she looks wonderful. But as is the case with many Eric Clapton songs, his guitar playing communicates more emotions than words can. This live version (below left) is slower than the radio version, and it gives you more time to absorb the feeling behind it.
This is a great first song to learn, and it's a good way to impress girls or to play for someone you love. If you're a more advanced guitarist, you can always make it more complex, but this video (above right) shows you an easy acoustic version with simple chords. You'll primarily need to use G, C, D, and Em. And if you're a newer player, it might teach you how to do a "walk" from G to Em -- it's simpler than it sounds. The strumming pattern is easy to do -- it's essentially down/down/up/down/up/down. And for very new beginners, it's a good way to practice alternating up and down strums.
"Wonderful Tonight" is more than just a romantic song -- it also offers some insight into the interconnectedness of the music community. Clapton wrote the song about Pattie Boyd, his girlfriend at the time. Pattie Boyd had been married to George Harrison of the Beatles, and she married Eric Clapton after their divorce. George Harrison even performed at their wedding!
11. I've Got You Under My Skin - Frank Sinatra
The legendary Frank Sinatra performed some of the most memorable love songs. One of them is "I've Got You Under My Skin." If you're unfamiliar with this catchy classic, check out this video (below left) of Frank performing it live in concert.
Though Frank widely popularized the song after first recording it in the 1950s, "I've Got You Under My Skin" is far older -- it was written by Cole Porter in 1936. It first appeared that year in a movie musical called Born to Dance, and it received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
After hearing this song played by a big swing band, you might not think it's well-suited to being played on guitar. However, as is the case with many complicated pieces of music, it tends to sound good in simplified, stripped-down settings, too. This song is great for newer beginners to learn because you only need three chords for the most part -- AM, D, and G. It's also a good choice to play if want to try out a swing-style love song. If you're looking for a helpful tutorial, this video (above right) will show you a fairly simple version with a catchy strumming pattern.
12. Fool In The Rain - Led Zeppelin
You probably don't think of Led Zeppelin when you think of love songs. After all, the band is more closely associated with heavy metal and rock music. But this decidedly up-tempo song is perfect to learn if you'd rather avoid slower love songs. It's very lyrically interesting -- depending on how you read it, the singer has either been stood up or was so excited and anxious for a date that he forgot where exactly to meet up. You can check out the entertaining music video (below left) for the song here.
Depending on how much guitar experience you have, this may be one of the more challenging love songs to learn on the list. Some of the chord shapes may be unfamiliar, and you do need to be able to move up and down the neck fairly quickly. However, much of "Fool in the Rain" involves playing the same riff repeatedly. Once you master it, you'll have most of the song. This video lesson (above center) takes you through how to play it on an electric guitar. To see it demonstrated on an acoustic guitar, check out this video (above right) too.
Ready to Learn?
Whether you already play guitar or want to get started, taking an online guitar course is a great way to ensure that you get a balanced musical education on your guitar journey. Plenty of people find free video lessons on YouTube and other sites, but they soon run into a problem -- without the structure of a course, it can become difficult to know what to learn next. With a good online guitar course, you can learn everything from simple chords to complex solos. And if you want to discover songwriting or learn to play some of your favorite songs, a guitar course can help you do that, too.
If you're in search of a beautiful love song to play for a special person in your life (or even if you're checking out song ideas for wedding celebrations), we hope our list has given you some ideas. What do you think? Are there any other songs we should have included? Let us know in the comments, and please don't forget to like and share if you found our list useful!