Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter and one of the greatest musicians of all time. His songs are popular, can be heard anywhere, and are easy to learn on guitar.
He released his debut album in 1962, and the following year, he released the second one. That’s when he made a breakthrough and erased limits in music generally. His songs became anthems for the anti-war movements and civil rights. He has received numerous awards and has been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Songwriters Hall Of Fame, and Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame. Because of his impact on popular music and creating new poetic expressions, he won The Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize In Literature.
Many of Dylan’s songs are easy to learn and play on guitar. That’s great because everyone can play it and enjoy his songs made of emotions – they speak to you as if he wrote them directly about your life.
Released on Dylan’s 1976 studio album Desire, and it’s a protest song about the imprisonment of Rubin Hurricane Carter. Dylan visited him in prison and began to write Hurricane to support him and fight for him because he was innocent. The song has many cover versions, including those by Ani DiFranco, Furthur, and the Milltown Brothers.
It’s a beginner song as it contains easy-to-play chords. A barre chord called F major can be a bit challenging to newbies, but time spent practicing will do the job for sure.
Blowin’ In The Wind
Written in 1962 by Bob Dylan and was released on his 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. It’s a protest song and talks about peace and freedom. It was inducted into the Hall Of Fame and instantly gained a lot of success. Blowin’ In The Wind has been sung in many churches and was included as poetry in some high-school books.
It’s in the key of D major, and it’s an absolute-beginner song, so you don’t have to be a pro to play it. You only have to know an easy G-C-D chord progression and an easy strumming pattern. For a more original sound, put a capo on the 7th fret.
Bob Dylan mainly played Folk music. If you are interested to learn some more, check out my other article Top 50 Famous & Easy Folk Guitar Songs – Tabs, Chords Included
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door is a song written by Bob Dylan and initially released by him in 1973. He wrote the song for the movie called Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid. It became a worldwide hit and was covered by many world stars, such as Guns N’ Roses and Eric Clapton. A Scottish musician wrote a new song version and dedicated it to schoolchildren and teachers who lost their lives in Dunblane Primary School.
The song is set in the key of G major, and it’s known for its simplicity – you only need G, D, Am, and C to play it. The strumming pattern varies – play down-down-down-up along with the G and D, and add up-down-up to it while playing Am and C.
Subterranean Homesick Blues
Recorded in 1965 as part of Dylan’s studio album Bringing It All Back Home. It was high on the UK and US charts and was ranked #187 on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. Numerous artists recorded a cover version of this song in many different genres.
It’s a folk-rock, blues rock, talking blues, and rock and roll song with a solid beat, catchy lyrics, and a wild guitar. It’s one of the most favorite Dylan songs, especially among beginners, as it includes four easy chords.
One More Cup Of Coffee
Published in 1976 as part of Dylan’s studio album called Desire. Some critics say the song is a tale about Dylan’s real life, more precisely his relationship with his then-wife, Sara Lownds. He wrote it during the 1975 summer in the nightclub. Tom Jones covered One More Cup Of Coffe in 2012 for his album Surrounded By Time.
It’s set in 4/4 time signature and includes four chords – Am, G, F, and E, along with an easy strumming pattern. You need neither a capo nor a specific guitar tuning for this song.
If you wish to learn some more easy acoustic guitar songs, check out my other article 50 Famous & Easy Acoustic Guitar Songs For Beginners
It’s a song released in 1965 as the closing track of Dylan’s album called Highway 61 Revisited. It is known as one of the greatest compositions of Bob Dylan. It was number 83 on the Rolling Stone’s list called 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. My Chemical Romance covered the song, and that cover was number one on the UK Rock And Metal chart.
This folk-rock song is beginner-friendly and includes three basic chords – D, G, and A. Transitions between chords are simple, and you can practice them first while playing downstrokes only and then start playing the whole song.
Shelter From The Storm
Written and recorded by Bob Dylan, the song soon became a hit. It was included on Dylan’s 1975 album called Blood On The Tracks. Statistics say he performed the song 370 times between 1976 and 2015, which is significant and good evidence of the song quality. It’s one of those songs that never gets old.
It’s a folk-rock song and set in common time. Play D, B, A, along with the down-down-down-up-down-up strumming pattern.
All Along The Watchtower
All Along The Watchtower initially appeared on Dylan’s album Joh Wesley Harding in 1967. He used to perform this song more than any of his other songs. It reached a huge success when Jimi Hendrix recorded his cover version, which received a Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2001.
It has both folk and rock elements, and it’s easy to play. To match the key of C#m of the studio recording, put a capo on the 4th fret.
Bob Dylan also played Country music. If you wish to learn some more, check my other list Top 70 Famous & Easy Country Guitar Songs – Tabs Included
The Man In Me
Released in 1970 as part of Dylan’s studio album New Morning. It’s in the 84th place of the list named 100 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs Of All Time, created by Rolling Stone magazine. It was featured in many movies and series, including The Simpsons, The Smash Brothers, The Big Lebowski, and How I Met Your Mother. The Man In Me is the most frequently performed song from the New Morning album.
The song elements belong to folk, blues, and country music, so the song’s genre is roots rock. It is set in common time and requires four chords – G, Am, D, and C. For a more original sound, put a capo on the 1st fret.
Girl From The North Country
Also known as Girl Od The North Country, the song was written by Bob Dylan and released as part of his 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan recorded the song as a duet five years after the initial release. Many artists also recorded their versions, including Rod Stewart, Sting, Joe Cocker, and Passenger.
It’s an absolute-beginner song and requires G, Em, C, D – chords that are learned on first guitar lessons. Therefore, you can add the song to your repertoire even if you are a newbie in the guitar world.
Changing Of The Guards
Changing Of The Guards is a 1978 song on the album Street Legal. It has been included on compilation albums – Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volume 3, released in 1994, and the Deluxe Edition of Dylan, released in 2007. The first known song performance is the one in Paris, in 1978.
Backing vocals and the sax give the song more beauty. Play Em, G, D, and C, with a capo on the 1st fret and enjoy this simple, beautiful song from Dylan’s huge repertoire.
If you wish to learn some more amazing acoustic guitar songs, check out my other list Top 50 Most Beautiful Acoustic Guitar Songs – Tabs Included
Visions Of Johanna
Released in 1966, along with Dylan’s studio album Blonde On Blonde. Critics say the song is one of greatest Dylan’s achievements when it comes to writing. Visions Of Johanna found its place on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. Artists who have covered the song include Chris Smither, Robyn Hitchcock, and Marianne Faithfull.
This seven-minute ballad is full of mystery, and critics often say it’s almost impossible to find out the background story. Chords are simple, and everyone can enjoy the song without a doubt.
It Ain’t Me Babe
It Ain’t Me Babe is a song included on Dylan’s 1964 album Another Side Of Bob Dylan. He wrote the song and found the inspiration in his then-girlfriend called Suze Rotolo. Dylan began writing the song while searching for her in Italy. Flat & Scruggs, Kesha, Crni Biseri, and Nancy Sinatra are some artists that recorded their versions of It Ain’t Me Babe.
This song has folk elements, and it’s one of the easiest Bob Dylan songs to learn and play. Learn an easy G-Am-C-D chord progression, and you’re ready for this amazing song!
Masters Of War
Written by Bob Dylan during the winter of 1963 and released that year as part of the album titled The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. It’s a protest song against the Cold War, and therefore, it gives a universal, powerful message to the world. Dylan performed the song at the 1991 Grammy Awards ceremony, where he received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The melody contains some traditional songs elements. Play Dm, C, Em, and Am with an easy strumming pattern and a capo on the 2nd fret.
House Of The Rising Sun
House Of The Rising Sun is a traditional folk song first collected in Appalachia in the 1930s. It talks about a person who lives in New Orleans. In 1961. Bob Dylan recorded his cover version of the song for his first album, released in 1962. Besides Dylan, The Animals and Dolly Parton also recorded their song covers.
It’s in the key of A major and requires a standard guitar tuning. Chords are pretty easy to learn and play, and all you need is a little bit of practice.
It’s All Over Now Baby Blue
Featured on Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home studio album, released in 1965. It has been covered by numerous artists, including The Byrds and Them. The song was also an inspiration for a short shorty, written by an American writer called Joyce Carol Oates.
It’s in the key of E major and is set in a pretty fast tempo. Put a capo on the 2nd fret, play D, A, G, Em, F#m, and an easy strumming pattern every guitarist can play.
Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts
It’s a 1975 song from Dylan’s album Blood On The Tracks has a complex structure as it’s a narrative ballad and includes many characters. Therefore, during his live performance in Salt Lake City, he wrote some of the lyrics on his sleeve in case he forgot them. There are two screenplays based on this song – one by John Kaye and another by James Byron.
This folk-rock song became popular because people found the whole story interesting. Also, it became popular among guitarists because this masterpiece is so easy to play. You need three basic chords called D, G, A, and that’s it.
Tomorrow Is A Long Time
Tomorrow Is A Long Time is a song released in 1971 along with the album Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II. The initial release was in 1963 as a live recording from the concert in New York’s Town Hall. A lot of singers decided to put their stamps on the song, so they recorded their versions. One of the most popular versions of Tomorrow Is A Long Time is Elvis Presley’s.
This folk song sounds great when you play C, F, and G with no capo or specific guitar tuning. Therefore, it’s popular among beginners, too.
Highway 61 Revisited
It’s a song of Dylan’s 1965 album under the same title, Highway 61 Revisited. It is written for Highway 61 that runs from Dylan’s home state of Minnesota down to New Orleans. It reached number 364 on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. Johnny Winter recorded the song and included it on the album, Second Winter.
Use a standard tuning and a capo on the 1st fret to play this song. Required chords are A5, D, E, and A.
My Back Pages
Bob Dylan wrote My Back Pages in 1964 and included it on his studio album called Another Side Of Bob Dylan. It has been covered by many stars, including The Byrds, The Ramones, Steve Earle, America, and Eric Johnson. The Byrds’ version reached number 30 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and gained a lot of success.
The song has traditional songs elements, and it’s similar to his earlier protest songs. Required chords for the song are G, C, Am, Em, and F. Which ones you should play vary from verse to verse.
Released in 1965 and included on Dylan’s album Bringing It All Back Home. It’s an update of the song Hard Times In The Country, adapted from The Bentley Brothers’ song called Penny’s Farm from the 1920s. Dylan decided to play Maggie’s Farm first at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.
It’s in the key of G major and includes only three chords – G, Em, and D. Transitions between chords are easy, so you don’t have to be a pro to include the song in your repertoire.
She Belongs To Me
Released in 1965 as part of Bringing It All Back Home studio album. Contrary to the title, the woman in a song is an independent, strong woman that belongs to no one. Critics couldn’t figure out who is the woman in the song and is she a real person from Dylan’s life.
The song is in a symmetrical 12-bar blues form and has a waltz-like rhythm, even though it’s in a 4/4 time signature. Play G, C, A with a capo on the 2nd fret.
Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Love Minus Zero is a song released in 1965, and it’s about Dylan’s feelings for his lover. He described them as a zen-like calm to the chaotic world he lives in. The original title of the song was Dime Store. The current title describes a fraction – Love Minus Zero on the top and No Limit on the bottom. Love Minus Zero was covered several times by many musicians, including The Leaves, The Turtles, and Eric Clapton.
It’s a folk-rock song that won many people’s hearts. Beginners often include it in their repertoire because it’s simple to play – you only need C, G, F, and Dm.
It’s a song from Dylan’s album Highway 61 Revisited. The lyrics are written in a surreal style, and that’s not unusual for Dylan. Also, they include some allusions to bible characters and historical events. The song appeared in a 2007 movie based on Dylan’s life, called I’m Not There.
Play two basic chords – E and A with a capo on the 2nd fret, and you will sound really good. Listen to the song a few times and play along with it to catch up with the right timing.
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll was released in 1964 as part of Bob Dylan’s album The Times They Are A-Changin’. The lyrics allude to the racism being present in the 1960s. Therefore, it sends a powerful message to the world.
The melody is based on a folk song called Mary Hamilton. It’s a topical song that is pretty easy to learn, as it includes C, Am, Em, G, and F.
When The Ship Comes In
When The Ship Comes In is a folk song created by Bob Dylan and released in 1964. It was inspired by the hotel clerk who didn’t want to allow Dylan a hotel room because of his ‘unwashed’ appearance. Peter, Paul, And Mary recorded a song cover, which Billboard marked as an outstanding performance.
It’s in the key of G major, and it’s one of the easiest Dylan’s songs to learn. It includes four basic open chords – G, C, D, and Em.
Every Grain Of Sand
Released in 1981 as part of the studio album called Shot Of Love. It appeared in the 1998 movie called Another Day In Paradise. Every Grain Of Sand talks about faith and spirituality and has Bible references.
This Christian rock song is the best to play on an acoustic guitar, but it will sound good on other guitar types too. Use a capo on the 1st fret for a more original sound.
Lay Down Your Weary Tune
Written in 1963 and recorded for the album called The Times They Are A-Changin’, but it was not released until 1985. Meanwhile, The Byrds recorded it for their 1965 album Turn! Turn! Turn!. The song also appears on Bob Dylan’s compilation Side Tracks.
It’s an American-folk song great for absolute beginners. It requires D, C, G, and Em, with a capo on the 2nd fret.
Let Me Die In My Footsteps
Let Me Die In My Footsteps is a song written by Dylan and inspired by an old Roy Acuff ballad and fallout shelters. It was recorded in 1962 and was released in 1991 on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare And Unreleased) 1961-1991.
This song requires an easy G-C-D chord progression and an easy strumming pattern. Put a capo on the 1st fret and enjoy this masterpiece.
North Country Blues
North Country Blues is a folk song released in 1964. The song starts as an ordinary tale, but it soon becomes darker and darker – each verse contains a specific tragical event. It’s actually a story about life in a mining community and its perils.
It has a simple structure accompanied by two basic chords – Am and G. You can put a capo on the 3rd fret for a recording version-like sound.
Bob Dylan is one of the greatest musicians of all time. His songs are popular, can be heard anywhere, and are easy to learn on guitar.
Dylan’s songs are easy to learn and play on guitar. You don’t have to be a pro for many of Dylan’s songs – you only need to know the basics.
Everyone can play it and enjoy his songs that speak to you as if he wrote them directly about your life.
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