This is not a list of great acoustic songs – this is a list of great electric songs that have been done – by the original bands – acoustically, as in, unplugged. The whole “unplugged” trend started with the early recordings, like Nirvana and Peter Townsend, caught on, and has become a favorite with the most hardcore of rock fans. Well, OK – Lemmie hasn’t joined this bandwagon yet�
Here are some great renditions of great songs – unplugged.
11. 3 Doors Down
A song about a father and his relationship with his son, this is a poignant and hard hitting song. The acoustic version brings a whole lot of ripping emotion to surface of the song, whereas the electric version is more angry and screaming. This a real rock song turned into a ballad, and a job well done.
10. Alice In Chains
Layne Staley has the perfect voice for the edgy rock that Alice In Chains was best known for, and he sounds simply amazing with the acoustic band. RIP.
9. STP – Plush (1993)
The heavy rocking west-coast grunge band The Stone Temple Pilots broke new ground with their acoustic show in 1993, and one of their best known songs – Plush – was an instant favorite.
8. Eric Clapton – Unplugged
The master of the guitar – a god to players from hard classic Cream to blues to raggae – Clapton showed the world that he can really play. Tears In Heaven, about the death of his infant son, brought to tears to his fans.
7. Dave Grohl/Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl appears on this twice – once as a member of Nirvana and once with his next band, The Foo Fighters. So, in honour fo 2 appearances on the list, this one gets 2 songs….plus, I just couldn’t decide which because I like them both.
Not only do the Foo Fighters put on an amazing display of musicianship and soul with their unplugged songs, apparently this Dave Grohl guy knows how to write some pretty good songs
5. Nirvana Unplugged MTV
This concert was a landmark event in that it really brought the whole unplugged concept into the limelight. First they were instrumental in the birth of grunge – that garage band rock that we loved! – then they went the other way and brought their acoustic guitars into fashion. Check out Dave Grohl on the drums….and just watch Kurt – the music just flows out of him, no effort in his face – he is a vessel. RIP.
4. Rolling Stones – Stripped
Want to see some true musicians who really know their chops? Check out this video – the Stones are legends for a reason.
3. Chris Cornell
OK – tough question – how do you pick between Chris Cornell’s acoustic versions of Billy Jean, Black Hole Sun, Seasons or It Just Doesn’t Matter? HOW!!!
I don’t know, so here are a couple…
3. Pete Townshend – Secret Policeman’s Ball
This was early in the day – before Nirvana’s ground breaking album – in fact, it was for quite a while on only available on vinyl (remember record albums?). Not usually the man with the mic, Pete Townshend gave some really memorable acoustic versions of hits from his band, The Who. Though we are used to hearing Roger Daltry’s voice singing these tunes, Townshend gives them a whole new, cool flavour. And man, this guy is cool.
Pete Townshend – Drowned 1979
2. Led Zeppelin
And then came Zeppelin – in 1994 they added a Middle eastern flavour to their unplugged show with the Egyptian Ensemble and the London Metropolitan Orchestra.
1. Neil Young
The Godfather of Grunge, electric guitar shredder supreme and the King of the Acoustic guitar, Neil and his performance live at Massey Hall in 1971 showed the world that songs that rip when they are plugged in can also touch your soul when unplugged. One man with one soft guitar and a gentle voice holding the audience in complete rapture.
Just as his career defines him as a musician and artist, Neil Young was doing stuff before anyone could imagine it, and is still the master.