20 of the Best Anthems For Air Guitar

Sometimes your sitting at your desk, bored at work and need a little pick-me-up. From your headphones comes a solid classic rock song, and you subtly strum under your desk. Before you know it, you’re standing on your chair, tickling the imaginary neck of your air guitar, rocking your heart out and Ron from HR is on his way to handle the complaints from your office mates. Ignore Ron, and keep jamming. Here are 20 of the best songs to air guitar too:

Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” – It starts off gently, with a few bars of plucked notes before adding drums and Brad Delp, then crescendos into a screaming riff and emotional ballad. This song about the power of music in your life is definitely worth air-guitaring your cares away to.

AC/DC’s “Shook Me All Night Long” – Ah, love. Psych yourself up or serenade your honey with this anthem to show you really care. It’ll be the best damn air guitar they had ever seen.

Guns ‘n Roses “Sweet Child O Mine” – Rumor has it Slash hated the first version of this song. It took one afternoon jam session to turn a few warm-up exercises into one of the most well-known guitar riffs in rock. Channel Slash and slay away.

Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” – This song has been a staple at almost every Led Zeppelin show after its release in 1975. Keep the legend alive with a little air guitar, and maybe recruit an air John Bonham.

Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” – Despite the bummer backstory, Rolling Stone numered “Say It Ain’t So” among the 100 Best Guitar Songs Of All Time. Frontman Rivers Cuomo wrote the tune after discovering a single bottle of beer in his family’s fridge, symbolizing the end of his parents’ marriage due to his father’s alcoholism. Don’t let that bring you down when you jam.

Neil Young’s “Down By The River” – Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield called “Down By The River” a “long, violent guitar jam,” but don’t let that deter you. This murder ballad’s length at just over nine minutes gives you plenty of time to play and contemplate the lyric’s plea.

Arcade Fire “Wake Up” – The intro to this song is enough to give any person with a heart and a sense of wonder chills, so channel that energy and power through the rest of the song. Let it carry you through and keep strumming.

The Darkness’s “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”– Whether or not you can hit the high notes is irrelevant when you’re jamming so hard to this glam rock classic. If you can cruise through the falsetto as well, go forth and belt it.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird”  – No air guitarist can resist a power ballad; it’s their time to shine. The guitar solos were actually written in to give vocalist Ronnie Van Zant a chance to rest. No rest for the wicked: Keep strumming.

Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – This song is modeled after the sound of Pixies and follows a verse-chorus form, meaning the same four chords are used in the introduction and the chorus. When it comes to air guitar though, that’s irrelevant. Just throw on your favorite flannel and go for it.

Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” – With a six-minute run time and four distinct sections, “Paranoid Android” is a fun one to air guitar. The song comes from three different songs written by different band members blended together, so you get to flex your air skills as not one but three musicians. 

The Rolling Stones’ “Jumping Jack Flash” – Over the Rolling Stones’ catalogue, you can track their style and influence. This song plays more to their bluesy side after a few psychedelic years, so enjoy the subtle funk while you air guitar the blues away. 

The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” – This irresistible intro will keep you hooked and jamming until the very end. Break out your air Whammy pedal and knock it down an octave and you’re good to go.

Aerosmith and Run DMC’s “Walk This Way” – When hip-hop and rock unite, everyone wins! You can absolutely go with the original if you’re an air guitar purist, but Run DMC’s adds a little more fun (and a Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap Single).

Eric Clapton’s “Layla” – Origianlly released with Derek and the Dominos, this love story is based on the poem The Story of Layla and Majnun from 5th-century Iran and given to Clapton by Islamic author Ian Dallas, now Abdalqadir as-Sufi. The song and poem tell the tale of a man who falls in love with an unavailable woman and subsequently goes insane. Keep your sanity and spread the love around by air-banding this ballad.

Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” – “Enter Sandman” was the first song the band wrote for their eponymous 1991 album Metallica, and 25 years later it’s still rocking. Lars Ulrich described it as “a one-riff song,” but that just makes it easier to air jam.

Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water” – A number of music publications like Rolling Stone, Total Guitar and Q Magazine have ranked “Smoke On The Water” as one of the greatest guitar tracks of all time. Luckily you don’t have to take their word for it; you can feel this riff in your bones. Strum it well, and make it proud.

Guns ‘n Roses “Paradise City” – Yes, Guns ‘n Roses make the list twice, but that’s because Slash has spoken: “Paradise City” is his favorite song. Can’t go wrong there.

Heart “Crazy On You” – This one is fun because of the intense build from acoustic strumming to electric and fast-paced. Buckle down and jam out with Ann and Nancy Wilson.

Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” – Real guitar or air guitar, any song from the Hendrix catalogue should make the cut on a list of guitar jams. “Purple Haze” is a no brainer, but dig a little deeper and you might find a new favorite riff to air out.

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