Songs Worth Learning - 14
There are certain songs that I think every guitar player should try to learn. Either they have cool guitar parts, or they will expand your playing skills, or they will introduce you to a style of music you may not have played before. I am going to recommend songs in several styles of music and explain why I think they should be added to your “play list.” Obviously, these are my choices, and no doubt, some will disagree with my choices. But each song has something good to offer so I think they are worth learning.
This will eventually be a huge list so I am going to post them one song at a time in no particular order. Take your time and enjoy each one.
The Girl From Ipanema - Getz/Gilberto
This song started a Bossa Nova craze in the U.S. in 1962 and in turn brought considerable latin influence to American music, especially jazz. It was also the last dying gasp of “jazz” as popular music before The Beatles changed what popular music meant.
Brazilian musician guitarist/singer João Gilberto played guitar and sang the Portuguese language vocals. Then thanks to a last minute decision to add an English language section he recruited his wife, Astrud, to sing the English-language vocals. She was chosen simply because she was the only Brazilian at the session who could speak English well. She was not a trained singer but her untrained voice fit the feel of the song perfectly, turning her into a star.
Considered to be the second most recorded song in history behind “Yesterday”, this song has a chord progression that is as cool as an ocean breeze and great fun to play. The “jazz” chords may be challenging for players not used to playing jazz chord voicings, as will the syncopated rhythms. But this is also what makes it valuable to learn. It is good to stretch yourself as a guitar player. Like playing chess against a better opponent forces you to improve your game.
You should also learn to the play the melody, which is also very rhythmic. While some now consider it “elevator music”, it is classic that should be played with the “coolness” it deserves.