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35 Best Campfire Songs of All Time

December 27, 2023
Best campfire songs

I’ve gathered the best campfire songs of all time, a collection perfect for enhancing those memorable nights under the stars.

These timeless tracks are chosen to bring warmth and camaraderie to any outdoor gathering.

Table of Contents

Top campfire songs of all time

  • “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals
  • “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
  • “Let It Be” by The Beatles
  • “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes
  • “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • “Ring Of Fire” by Johnny Cash
  • “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve
  • “Livin’ On a Prayer” by Bon Jovi
  • “One Day Like This” by Elbow

1. “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals

This traditional folk song became popular after The Animals recorded the song in 1964. 

The song is about a New Orleans women’s prison known as Orleans Parish women’s prison that had a gate with a rising sun artwork. 

It speaks about the ill times of New Orleans and this explains the “ball and chain” in the song’s lyrics. 

This is a popular campfire sing-along song for beginner guitarists as the chords aren’t too challenging. 

2. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote this song to express their impressions about Alabama, and it was also a tribute to the musicians at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.

Sweet Home Alabama” has become one of the most popular and iconic songs that have defined the country rock genre. 

One of the things that make this one of the best camp sing-along songs is the simplicity of its chords, which make it easy for anyone to play the song. 

3. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

This song speaks both to the old and young and gives them hope and optimism in hard times. 

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s rendition became a global hit ten years after its release, eventually selling over 5 million copies. 

The song’s popularity is credited to its inclusion in heartbreaking scenes in TV shows like ER. 

This song was originally played on a ukulele, but you can grab a guitar and play it the next time you go camping. 

4. “Let It Be” by The Beatles

Released in May 1970, this song was the group’s twelfth and final album, Let it Be, and it was released a month after the group’s break up. 

However, on the album, the song is credited to McCartney-Lennon (a songwriting partnership between John Lennon and Paul McCartney). 

The campfire song lyrics are easy to learn, and so are the basic guitar chords, making it a good addition to your list. 

Check out our list of the best Beatles songs.

5. “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes

There are certain times when you just need to stop, take a deep breath, and then scream, “What’s going on!”

That’s how Linda Perry of the 4 Non Blondes felt when she wrote this song. 

“What’s Up” was the first song by an openly lesbian group to hit the Top 40. 

There’s no better way of spending your camping night than singing around a campfire and shouting, “What’s going on!”

6. “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

This is one of the best sing-along campfire songs with bitter-sweet memories due to it being Bob Marley’s last single released before his death. 

The song sums up Marley’s life and what he stood for—redemption and freedom. 

Bob Marley drew this song from the works of Marcus Garvey, a civil rights campaigner. 

7. “Ring Of Fire” by Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire” single appeared in his 1963 album, Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash.

The song was written by singer-songwriter Merle Kilgore and Cash’s wife, June Carter Cash, and it talks about Johnny and June’s relationship. 

June said that she felt like a “Ring Of Fire” was surrounding her whenever she was around Johnny, and that’s why she wrote the song. 

8. “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve

This song is based on the 1965 version of the song “The Last Time” by the Andrew Oldham Orchestra. 

It was the first song on Verve’s third album, Urban Hymns, released in 1997. 

Bitter Sweet Symphony” is about the beautiful and tragic moments of life—from our constant confusion about capitalism to adherence to money and our need for love and acceptance. 

9. “Livin’ On a Prayer” by Bon Jovi

This song tells the story of two kids—Gina and Tommy, who strive to make it on their own regardless of the constant challenges they face. 

The song became a favorite of the American youth, particularly the ones from New Jersey. 

“Livin’ on a Prayer” became Bon Jovi’s second consecutive #1 hit after “You Give Love a Bad Name.”

10. “One Day Like This” by Elbow

The song is about falling in love or the morning after falling in love—when you start pondering about it. 

One of the group members said that they wanted to do a song that was very positive and uplifting during an interview. 

“One Day like This” was used as the 2008 Beijing Olympics soundtrack, as well as in different adverts and nature documentaries for the National Geographic channel.

11. “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?” by Travis

This song was the band’s third single from their second studio album, The Man Who

The bonfire song was written by Fran Healy, a lead singer in the band, while on vacation in Israel.

In 2000, Healy received two awards at the Ivor Novello Awards for Best Contemporary Song and Best Songwriter.  

12. “Angie” by The Rolling Stones

Angie” was the first single to be released from the group’s album Goat’s Head Soup

It is said that the song was inspired by David Bowie’s wife and Keith’s daughter.

The song was The Rolling Stones’ 24th single in the US and 18th in Britain. 

13. “Hotel California” by The Eagles

This song is one of the all-time best acoustic songs performed by The Eagles, and it’s about greediness and extravagance. 

The song was released in 1977, and it remains to be the most popular song by the band. 

It’s sung on key B#, and a guitar capo is used on the 2nd fret.

14. “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen wrote this song in 1984. 

The song tells a story of true love, broken love mourned and remembered penance, guilt, and finding peace. 

Listening to this song can take you through a journey of pain, suffering, celebration, and joy. 

“Hallelujah” is an easy song to learn, making it the perfect campfire sing-along song. 

15. “American Pie” by Don McLean

Don McLean, an American singer-songwriter, wrote and released this song in 1971 following the death of Buddy Holly. 

The song is a tribute to Holly, as well as a commentary on the evolution of rock and roll music after his death. 

In the song, McLean laments the lack of danceable rock and roll music, and he attributes this to the absence of Holly. 

16. “With Or Without You” by U2

Released in 1987, “With Or Without You” is the band’s second most popular song on the third track of their album, The Joshua Tree.

Bono, the songwriter, said that he needed to write a song that dealt with real-life issues. 

Although U2 didn’t release an acoustic version of the song, it’s a very simple camping song to learn and a great addition to your list. 

17. “Good Riddance” by Green Day

“Good Riddance” is the song that brought Green Day back to the center of the global music stage.

It’s a very moving song and very popular at camping nights, weddings, and graduations, despite its title, “Good Riddance.”

The song is about trying to remain cool and accepting that people take different directions in life. 

It won Best Alternative Video at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards. 

18. “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band

The Zac Brown Band first recorded this song in 2005 for their Home Grown album. 

However, the band re-recorded the song three years later for their album, The Foundation, and this version was the band’s first single to get into the Hot 100. 

“Chicken Fried” is mostly about southern living—a basic list of all the good things about the South and the key elements that make the Southerners who they are. 

19. “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz

Jason Mraz says that “I’m Yours” is about giving in love and life’s possibilities. 

The song became an instant hit when it was released in 2008, and it’s one of the most commonly sung songs in campfire settings. 

Besides, it has a very simple progression, and you can add a few extra chords to make if you want to make it interesting. 

20. “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King

This is the song that gave Ben E. King good status as a solo artist. 

The song was recorded in 1960, and it has come to be one of those camping songs that were made to be played under the stars. 

And, in case people fail to sing along to the song’s chorus, “darling, darling, stand by me,” you should just call it a night and go to bed. 

21. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver

This song was written by John Denver, describing West Virginia and its natural landmarks and giving one the feeling of homesickness. 

And this makes it a must for you to try out this classic during your next campfire gathering. 

Make sure that everyone sings a bit of “West Virginia, mountain mama” if you don’t want them to get bored along the way. 

22. “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond

If you love campfire songs about good times, “Sweet Caroline” is a must-try. 

The song isn’t hard to sing and does not become over-complicated—thanks to the many sing-along stanzas in the song. 

This song can easily get you pumped up because of its catchy chorus—so don’t be surprised if people don’t want to stop singing it. 

23. “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show

“Wagon Wheel” is about a man who travels along the southern coast playing music, beaten down and broken. 

The song was released in 2004 and has become permanently imprinted into the country’s musical landscape. 

It’s particularly great if played on a banjo or blues acoustic guitar, and it’s a must-learn for anyone who loves camp songs. 

24. “Wonderwall” by Oasis

Wonderwall” is about a friend who acts as a pillar in your life and gives you a shoulder to lean on in times of trouble. 

The song is a good crowd-pleaser that you shouldn’t miss in your songs for camping. 

Also, it helps to condition your audience to more obscure songs. 

25. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd

This song is about the detached feeling that most people experience, and it was inspired by Syd Barret, a founding member of Pink Floyd who was struggling with schizophrenia. 

Floyd sings about how we cope with the world by withdrawing emotionally, mentally, and physically. 

The song remains to be the group’s most acclaimed and known song, and it’s ideal for campfire sing-alongs. 

26. “Yellow” by Coldplay

Coldplay released “Yellow” in the summer of 2000, and it went on to become their first major hit which is how the group gained international recognition. 

The song is about being devoted and willing to do anything for someone. 

Considering that “Yellow” is one of Coldplay’s famous tracks, it can be a worthy addition to your camping songs list.

27. “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor

James Taylor wrote this song in 1968 when he was battling drug addiction, and it talks about the highs and lows of his life during that period.

It has three verses with one of them being about his friend who committed suicide. 

The second verse is about his addiction to heroin, while the third verse is about a mental hospital and a brand that he started known as The Flying Machine. 

28. “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Frank Sinatra

Written in 1967, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” is an old-time classic camping song about the heartbreak that comes from being away from the person you love. 

In the song, Frank Sinatra is about to start an extended tour and wants to guarantee his girlfriend that he is committed to her. 

The song is simple to play, and its lyrics are not hard, making it a good campfire song. 

29. “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas and the Papas

Written by John and Michelle, this song is about the desire to be in another place, and it is Michelle’s homesickness that inspired the song. 

This camping music lyrics are great, and you can use two guitars—one playing rhythm and the other the lead part. 

Also, the song has a flute solo—so you can incorporate it if you have someone who knows how to play it. 

30. “Man On The Moon” by R.E.M.

This song was written as a tribute to the late Andy Kaufman, who was an actor, comedian, and performing artist. 

It’s a quirky pop campfire song that you can challenge yourself with. 

Please note that the song is a bit challenging to play—so you must practice before trying it out. 

But, once you master how to play it, then you have an opportunity to shine as you showcase your skills. 

31. “High and Dry” by Radiohead

Radiohead is one of the most respected rock bands. 

They released the song in their 1995 album, The Bends, it’s about a person telling their friend not to kill herself and leave him high dry. 

The band has made a major contribution to modern music, despite being formed over 20 years ago. 

That’s why we had to pick this song, as it’s not hard to play, and it’s a good sing-along campfire song. 

32. “Good People” by Jack Johnson

Whether you like or dislike him, Jack Johnson writes amazingly catchy music—and that’s something that most people love. 

So, if you are planning to play a campfire gig, make sure you include “Good People” in your list. 

This is a protest song that Johnson uses to make social commentary.

The song has a catchy and solid chorus, and your audience is guaranteed to fall in love with the song. 

33. “Edelweiss” by Richard Rodgers

This song is a bit different from most campfire songs—thanks to its musical roots. 

The song was performed by Richard Rodgers for The Sound of Music movie. 

Most people love this song, especially if they want to slow things down at the end of their camping night. 

34. “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty

This is one song that showcases Tom Petty’s songwriting and singing skills. 

In 1989, this song reached #7 on the Top 100 Billboard—a position that many guitarists envy. 

The song’s lyrics follow a thread of inspiration and times from the American landscape, making it a must-include in your list of campfire songs. 

Any musical camper is bound to join you in singing the song once you start it. 

35. “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver

Bon Iver is an American indie-folk band characterized by haunting vocals and simple acoustic rhythms. 

“Skinny Love” was the band’s first single release from their 2007 For Emma, Forever Ago album. 

The song is in key Am and has some open chords that add an interesting sound to the camp song. 

Best Campfire Songs – Final Thoughts

While there are hundreds of good campfire songs that you can practice for your next camping nights, these are some of the best songs that you should consider learning. 

These songs are very catchy, and you are guaranteed to keep your friends singing and entertained all night long. 

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Best Road Trip Songs

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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