Sitting around the campfire, listening to music can be one of the best evening activities at camp. But sometimes listening is just not good enough, so we’ve compiled a list of some classics that are well-suited to be played on guitar or sung around the fire. They may be old, they may be a little corny, but there’s a reason why these songs have stood the test of time for over 40 years.
1) “Blowin’ in the Wind” Written by Bob and released as a single in 1962 and then on Dylan’s 1963 album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. The song has been re-recorded hundreds of times and even featured in a scene in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump.
2) “Leaving on a Jet Plane” Written by John Denver, the most popular version was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary for their 1967 album, Album 1700, becoming that group’s biggest hit, the only Number 1 on the United States’ Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s a little sad and sweet but has a very catchy tune.
3) “Little Boxes” by Malvina Reynolds in 1962. A song, which on its surface simply highlights the uniformity of life in the suburbs of the United States, has sparked many philosophical discussions, was featured in AP US history textbooks in 2018, and was played on the TV show Weeds. We just think it’s a fun little song!
4) "Take Me Home, Country Roads" Another John Denver song, released in 1971, it made it to number 2 on Billboard's US Hot 100 singles that year. It is a tribute to the beauty of the state of West Virginia and is John Denver’s most downloaded song.
5) “Mr. Bojangles” Written by Jerry Jeff Walker in 1968, it’s most famous version was released by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1970. Walker said that he wrote the song after meeting a homeless man in jail who told the police his name was Mr. Bojangles, so that he could remain anonymous. The song has been recorded by dozens of artists including Billy Joel, John Denver, Neil Diamond, and Bob Dylan!
6) “California Dreamin'” – The most popular version, recorded by the Mamas & the Papas in 1965. Listed on the Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, it is intended to give warm visions of Los Angeles from the perspective of a colder New Yorker in winter.
7) “Let It Be” This famous Beatles song was written and sung by Paul McCartney, the last single before McCartney broke the news that he was leaving the band. As the title track for the album of the same name, “let It Be” held the record at the time of the highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100, starting at the number 6 spot.
If you play guitar and would like the lyrics and guitar chords to these and others, they can be readily found online. If you prefer, each of these songs is available for download or on streaming platforms, such as Spotify, so you can simply sit back, enjoy the campfire and stroll down memory lane.