Beginning Blues Guitar – Best Blues Songs to Learn To Play On the Guitar When Just Starting Out

by Smithsonian Institution

The choice of song to study and learn is crucial for those who are beginning blues guitar lessons. This will make it easier for you to understand how to learn playing blues guitar, as well as the music itself. Below are some of the recommended blues songs that you must study while starting out to speed up your transition from a novice to a blues expert.


Worried Life Blues (1941)

Maceo Merriweather wrote and recorded this song. The song took inspiration from Sleepy John Estes’ Someday Baby Blues but has since become one of the best known blues songs out there. In fact, many artists have covered this song to make their own version.


Smokestack Lightening

This song was written and recorded by famed blues artist Howling Wolf. When the song released to the UK in 1964 courtesy of Pye Records, the song reached the top 50 status. It also received a 1999 Grammy Hall of Fame award. The song does not contain chord changes and was inspired by a driving riff.


I Got My Mojo Working

The song was performed by Muddy Waters but was penned by Preston Foster. It is considered as one of the most popular blues songs in the UK and was covered by many artists, although Alexis Korner’s version was the most popular. Korner was also one of the first few to establish his own blues band in the UK.



Crossroads Blues

This song was originally released in 1937 by Robert Johnson, who was also the one who wrote the song. However, the song failed to gain popularity not when Cream released its own version over three decades later in 1968. The song also helped to propel the success of Cream as a band, as well as Eric Clapton’s musical career. Since then, the song’s catalogue from Robert Johnson caught the music industry’s attention and all blues fans.


Everybody Needs Somebody to Love

Solomon Burke wrote and recorded this song in 1964 and used to be performed as opening act to the Rolling Stones shows. However, the band opted to release a version of this song on their album “Got Live if you want it”, which helped to launch worldwide success for the band. The popularity of the band helped to generate a new awareness for blues music until the song ended up in Rolling Stone magazine’s All Time Greatest 500 Songs.


The Hound Dog

Jerry Leiber composed this classic 12 bar blues. Willie Mae Thornton recorded this song in the year 1952. Since then, she has been singing the song across various blues festivals in America and Britain. A remake of the song was released by Elvis Presley in 1956 until the song quickly reached the #1 spot to become his second chart-topping record.


Baby Please Don’t Go

The song was originally performed by Big Joe Williams and was later covered by “Them”. The song also became the first hit song by Van Morrison when it was released in 1964 and launched their world wide fame. It became more popular when used as a tune for “Ready Steady Go”.


You can take your pick from any of the above famous blues songs for an effective beginning blues guitar lesson and become a blues expert yourself in no time.


Want to become a legendary blues guitarist?

Becoming a great blues guitar player is not an easy ordeal. It takes time and patience! When beginning blues guitar there are many methods to help you learn. Learn the tricks and techniques used by the classic bluesmen.

If you’d like to play like the old masters read on at

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