75+ School-Appropriate Rock Songs for Your Rock Group Ranked from Very Easy to Difficult (2022)
Updated: Jan 28
This list includes the song name, artist name, chords, and skills learned from each song. It is mostly catered to guitar players, but unless otherwise stated, you can assume that the keyboard, bass, drums, and vocals are pretty straightforward. This means that drums will play a straight up rock groove variation, bass will play root notes more or less, and piano will play chords that basically follow the guitar, as well as easy vocal melodies. It is also important to note that the chords listed are not necessarily in order.
Using Chapter 4 from Rock Coach, some of my resources on TpT as a guide and through experimenting on your own, knowing how to simplify many of these songs will become easier. Sometimes we don’t perform the songs as they are on the recording. We may create our own arrangements by taking out a section to simplify it or there have been times where we have only performed what we know of a challenging project song. For me, it is about the process here—we rarely perform a song only once and if a song is only half learned, the next performance will be the entire song or an arrangement that works. This also creates lower stress levels for learners and facilitators.
This level includes songs that have two or three, sometimes four chords only or a basic, repetitive riff for all instruments. They may also be primarily power chords but can be easily simplified by playing only the root notes. Drums will play a basic rock groove or blues variation or will work with a basic rock groove or basic blues groove. Sections of songs may be a little more of a challenge but, for the most part, are attainable or will still work with that section removed:
Never Tear Us Apart by INXS (mostly keyboard: C/A, Csus4/F, Dm, F, G) triplet feel, guitar is minimal. Chance for minor pentatonic or blues solo.
Best Day of My Life by The American Authors (D, G) with easy guitar riff in the chorus. Beginning banjo riff can be omitted. This song has a very short Bm chord it it but can be omitted and still work.
Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash (D, G, A7, G/F). Drums may find this difficult in chorus.
Stompa by Serena Ryder (C, G, Am, Em, A7, B7 in bridge only). Easy riff based song in Em. Bridge is easy but may be difficult to remember because there is no obvious pattern. Bass drum part in the drums could be a challenge for a beginner drummer. However, a straight 4/4 rock groove is fine.
Blitzkrieg Bop by The Ramones (power chords, I–IV–V–I progression). Could be quick for the drummers. Key of A
Songbird by Oasis (G, Em).
Good Riddance by Green Day (G [with added 5th], Csus2, Dsus4, Emadd 7). The chord progression will make much more sense when you listen to it.
All Day and All of the Night by The Kinks (power chords: F, G, B , A, C, D). Good one for improvising on G blues.
Lean on Me by Bill Withers (C, F, G7). Very easy for all instruments, can be a little low for singers. Easy root position chords in parallel motion for the keyboard. Riff based.
You Really Got Me by The Kinks (power chords: F, G, A, C, D). This song presents a great opportunity to improvise in G minor pentatonic.
Eye of the Tiger by Survivor (power chords: C, Bb, G, A , easy barring). Can be easily simplified, fits female voices nicely, keyboard has the following progression in the verse: Cm, Ab, Bb, Cmsus2 all in root position.
Last Kiss by Pearl Jam (G, Em, C, D). This can be done with or without the strumming pattern.
SONGS THAT ARE DIFFICULT BUT CAN BE EASILY SIMPLIFIED
Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd (D, C, G, one F chord). Without picking patterns or solos this is very easy to play.
Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns n’ Roses (D, C, G). No down-tuning, no solos and this song can be easily played.
This level includes basic chords, scales and concepts as well as some easy solos. Players who have had some lessons or experience, or are a quick learn and know the Main 7 chords would be able to handle most of these songs. They may have started learning some power chords and barre chords but are still somewhat uncomfortable with them. Drums may have basic fills or an easy groove variation:
Believer by Imagine Dragons (Bb, Gb, A, power chords). The ‘bouncy’ guitar part throughout the song can be a challenge for a guitar player. If your guitar players are struggling with it at first, have your keyboard player do it. There are some neat choir sounds in this one that can be done on a good sounding keyboard or electronic piano. Drums are very easy in this one.
Zombie by The Cranberries (Em, CM7, G, D). Repetitive chord progression. A pretty easy guitar solo in the pre-verses. Might be a bit low for some of your younger singers but can easily be transposed.
Up We Go by Lights (A, D, E). Any instrument can do the keyboard licks but if you have a synth, this song can work really well.
Song 2 by Blur (drop D power chords, one-finger power chords). Repetitive riff-based pattern throughout. Changes once in the chorus.