Campfires. The word alone is enough to conjure an image of warmth and excitement. After all, what could possibly be better than sitting under a sky full of stars, surrounded by those you love and adore, roasting marshmallows, sharing recipes, and spooky stories?
And who can forget the campfire songs that hit you right in the feels? Certainly not us!
Campfire songs have enjoyed the status usually accorded to traditions and culture. While it would be difficult to pinpoint the exact point of time the first campfire song was sung, we can rest easy knowing the chain was never broken. From school children to teenagers, from age-old friends to seasoned campers, everyone has found delight in campfire songs.
And we’re here to share the joy with you. Here’s our list of 5 of the best campfire songs to bond over on your next campfire trip.
Otis Redding - (Sittin’ On) Dock of the Bay
Everybody loves a classic, especially one that calls out to your very soul. Written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper, Dock of the Bay is a musical masterpiece.
Whether you’re the one singing or the one in the crowd enraptured by the singer, get ready to put your whistling talent on the show when you approach the solo. Don’t forget to cut your vocals loose for the midsection.
The song became Redding’s first million-seller. It went on to achieve a level of popularity few Otis Redding songs could ever come close to. Unfortunately, the singer never really got to revel in the masterpiece he created. He died in a plane crash shortly after the song’s release.
Steve Miller Band - The Joker
Released in 1973, The Joker has remained a cult favorite with campers for more than four decades.
The bass line of The Joker is simple, and when paired with the poetic lyrics and upbeat tune, it’s definitely one of the best sing-along campfire songs to ever exist.
The melodic smooth rock song proved to be a transition from the band's previous psychedelic-oriented music. Filled with good vibes all while keeping things relaxed and easygoing, The Joker proved to be the turning point of Steve Miller's career.
Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl
Every campfire song has its fair share of admirers and adversaries. After all, can you really expect to please a full crowd of people with differing tastes and preferences? With Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ that becomes a possibility.
There’s something about the tone and lyrics of the song that resonates with just about everyone. The young summer love vibe it projects will have you belting the chorus at the top of your voice. First released in May 1967, Brown Eyed Girl quickly gained popularity as a love anthem and then as a campfire song. There’s been no looking back since!
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
Sweet Home Alabama is the type of song you just can’t get enough of. You’ll be belting it in the shower, on the way to school, while making mac and cheese - the possibilities are endless.
First appearing in 1974, the song quickly climbed the U.S. charts to reach the number 8 position after its release. It’s THE country-rock riff that personalizes America. One can even go so far as to say that Sweet Home Alabama is nothing short of an American anthem. This classic rock song is so popular with the masses that it even made its way into an Alabama license plate design!
The thing is, Sweet Home Alabama is more than just a catchy song. Once you get truly familiar with the lyrics, you’ll begin to understand why this song was at once both a national sensation and a storehouse of controversies. Lightly put, it talks about what it’s like to feel bad about feeling proud.
Tom Petty - Free Fallin’
Free Fallin’, written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lyne, is the opening track of Tom Petty’s 1989 solo album, Full Moon Fever. The co-writer, Jeff Lynne features backing vocals.
The easy laid-back tune runs an iconic strum through the entire length of the song. It’s safe to see why it peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles a year later.
This dynamic song proves to be just the perfect fit for your campfire song playlist. So, what are you waiting for? Learn to play the cottage hit that’s a #1 with most guitar players, if not all.
The Wrap Up
Before you go camping, familiarize yourself with the best campfire songs to amp up the experience. Enlisted above are 5 of the best hits of all time. Learn to strum your guitar to the tunes of your favorite song and get singing.
If you’re not familiar with the tune and the lyrics, browse the internet. Websites like YouTube and Google offer a plethora of resources that can prove to be all the ammunition you need to learn a timeless campfire classic.
So next time you’re out there in the wild, get music to wash you over.