45 Popular Songs in 4/4 Time Signature (With Tuning, Tabs, and Videos)

A 4/4 is one of the most popular time signatures around, used in songs from across all kinds of genres. The biggest reason for that is that it’s a very stable rhythm pattern, both to play and to follow as a listener.

ZZ Top Playing One of the Most Popular Songs in 4/4 Time Signature
Photo by Brian Marks

And if you’re looking for a list of songs played in 4/4, then you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’re sharing 20 popular songs in 4/4 time signature from across many genres, be it rock, disco, pop, metal, grunge, and more. Scroll down for the full list!

20 Popular Songs in 4/4 Rhythm

1. We Will Rock You by Queen

Album News of the World
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Arena rock
Tabs See tabs for We Will Rock You

At the end of one of their gigs, members of the famous British rock band were stunned when the crowd started chanting a classic football anthem in unison. With an aim to recreate the same mercurial vibe in each of their live concerts, the band composed two of the most iconic anthems of all time-“We are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You.”

The latter is hands down the most engaging song by a rock band that relies more on body percussion than instruments to power its phenomenally catchy tune.

It is incredibly easy to figure out this track’s rhythm, which is in the most common meter of 4/4. It goes in a recurring 4 beat pattern in cycles of four. Stomp, stomp, clap, rest, stomp, stomp, clap, rest.

2. Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes

Album Elephant
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Alt-rock, garage rock
Tabs See tabs for Seven Nation Army

From the moment the bass drop kicks off this catchy garage rocker by the White Stripes, you know you’re in for a treat! A lively tune in 4/4 meter, simple yet groovy drumbeat, fantastic guitar riffs, and Jack White’s raspy vocals have placed “Seven Nation Army” in the league of all-time fan favorites.

The song is hailed as one of the best to come out of the 2000s decade! It enjoyed a solid run at the charts and won many accolades, including a Grammy for the “Best Rock Song” category.

Fun fact – the iconic bass intro was a combination of White’s Kay Semi-Hollow Guitar and a whammy pedal to distort and lower the pitch down an octave. Now that’s some inventive playing right there!

3. Highway to Hell by AC/DC

Album Highway to Hell
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Hard rock
Tabs See tabs for Highway to Hell

What makes AC/DC’s breakthrough hit “Highway to Hell” such an adrenaline-pumping fare? Every element from Ben Scott’s epic vocals to Angus and Malcolm Young’s devilishly awesome guitar riffs and Phil Rudd’s blood-thumping drum-work came together brilliantly in creating this generational song.

The song was written jointly by the Young brothers and Scott to vent out their frustration of always being on the road. Interestingly, the band had a highway in mind while penning down the song Canning Highway in Australia that housed many of Scott’s favorite haunts and hotels.

Like most rock classics, this too goes in a time signature of 4 beats per bar in a mid-paced tempo. You can count it out easily 1, 2, 3, 4/ 1, 2, 3, 4, so on and forth. The legendary Young brothers are known for belting out jaw-dropping guitar work, and this song is no exception. We’ve got some great tabs and tutorials linked up above to get you started.

4. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana

Album Nevermind
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Grunge
Tabs See tabs for Smells Like Teen Spirit

The music starts with a smashing guitar riff that’s become one of the most recognizable in the history of rock! It would be no exaggeration to call “Smells Like Teen Spirit” one of the ‘90s most ubiquitous rock anthems that exalted Kurt Cobain to legend status and made Nirvana a household name.

Even three decades later, this grunge cornerstone is enthralling fans and only recently clocked over a billion streams on Spotify. The track is in 4/4 time signature with the guitar part repeating after 4 counts. Cobain’s iconic riff has been built around four power chords in a syncopated sixteen note. It can easily be mastered by guitarists of all skill levels.

5. Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees

Album Saturday Night Fever
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Disco
Tabs See tabs for Stayin’ Alive

4/4 rhythm was so widely used in the disco hits of the ‘70s that it came to be known as four-on-the-floor music and 1977 earworm “Stayin’ Alive” is perhaps the best example of this style of music.

The Bee Gees’ criminally catchy and spunky song became a staple at the nightclub and party scenes, transforming the band into disco royalty. Check out John Travolta’s iconic walk from the opening credits of Saturday Night Fever with the groovy track playing in the background.

6. Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses

Album Appetite for Destruction
Tuning Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb
Genre Hard rock, glam metal
Tabs See tabs for Sweet Child O’ Mine

There’s a reason this influential track strikes a chord with anyone who hears it! Since its release, “Sweet Child O ’Mine developed a legacy that appeals to people of different age groups and musical tastes. In fact, every budding guitarist dreams of acing Slash’s breathtaking intro riffs and killer solo while hoping to channel an ounce of his magnetic stage aura.

Not surprisingly, the song has become a part of almost every best of and rankings list, with Guitar World placing it 37 on “100 Greatest Guitar Solos” and number 3 on Blender’s “500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born.”

It is written in a steady 4/4 time, and while Slash’s famous intro and solo are more suited for players of advanced level, rhythm can be easily tackled by anyone confident of basics. You can start by learning the chords in an open position in a straightforward strum pattern and slowly working your way up. Sweet Child O’ Mine is easily one of the most popular songs in 4/4 time signature.

7. Photograph by Ed Sheeran

Album x
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Folk pop
Tabs See tabs for Photograph

Every time I hear Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph,” it hits home on an emotional level. Bittersweet lyrics that describe the turmoil of being apart from your partner are wrapped in a spell-binding tune and Sheeran’s tender vocals. A win-win formula that keeps you hooked from start to finish!

The track was released in Sheeran’s 2015 album x and enjoyed a remarkable chart performance, cracking the top five in many countries. Sheeran plays the song in 4/4 meter and is heard using DADGAD tuning in the live performances to give the tune somewhat of a folksy, Celtic edge.

Sheeran has a knack for using basic chords and simple chord progressions and making them sound heavenly. The simplest way to play “Photograph” would be using a capo on the 2nd fret and playing open chords once you’ve learned that you can explore the palm-muted strumming, arpeggio, and other percussive tricks he employs in the original.

8. Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones

Album Let It Bleed
Tuning E B G# E B E (Open E tuning)
Genre Hard rock, blues rock
Tabs See tabs for Gimme Shelter

Easily one of the darker, intense, and emotionally layered songs from Rolling Stones’ vault, “Gimme Shelter” condemns war, race riots, political assassinations, and all that’s wrong with the world. The pain and anguish of the lyrics are amplified by Jagger’s aching voice and goosebumps-inducing guest vocals by Merry Clayton.

Accompanying the powerful vocals are Keith Richards’ bluesy licks and stunning melodies. The critically acclaimed song was ranked as number 13 on Rolling Stones’ 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.

The song is a great example of an Open E composition. It’ll be a good idea to explore the E major scale first before attempting Richard’s chords and shapes. This way, you’ll be able to make quick transitions that the song demands.

9. One Love by Bob Marley

Album Exodus
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Reggae
Tabs See tabs for One Love

Like pop and disco, most reggae is built around 4/4 meter, where the second and fourth beats are accentuated in each measure. In fact, Reggae style can only be played in either 4/4 or 2/4 time signature. Take Bob Marley’s “Jammin,” you can clearly feel the pulse on the second and the fourth beats. “One Love” is another excellent example of a 4/4 rhythm. The soul-stirring song was composed by Marley as a call for change and an appeal for peace and harmony in the world.

10. Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

Album Uptown Special
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Funk-pop, soul
Tabs See tabs for Uptown Funk

What happens when you combine Mark Ronson’s music shaping skills with Bruno Mars’ charismatic vocals? You get a solid groover that’s been rocking the dance floor since 2014. Energetic and infectious funky marvel “Uptown Funk” almost always pops up wherever there’s a crowd ready to party!

Its boogie, funky vibe has made it an international success and the biggest commercial hit of both Ronson and Mars’ career, including winning them a Grammy for nothing less than the Record of the Year!

The song is composed in a 4/4 time and sounds fantastic on an electric as it does on an acoustic. If you’re wondering how to get started with this one, check out its brilliant acoustic cover by a talented singer-guitarist. Trust me! You’ll be reaching for your guitar before you know it!

11. Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles

Album Abbey Road
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock, pop rock
Tabs See tabs for Here Comes the Sun

If I had to pick just one Beatles song to play on a loop till eternity, I’d go for this one. Bright and magical, “Here Comes the Sun ” stands out not just sonically but also because it is written by not the main songwriting duo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney but the band’s guitarist George Harrison. Sure, Lennon-McCartney wrote the band’s biggest hits, but Harrisson’s invaluable contribution cannot be overemphasized.

When it comes to playing, it is a tricky one! Take the time signature, even though most of it is in 4/4, at the end of each chorus, it goes 11/8 + 4/4 + 7/ 8. In the second half, the rhythm gets even more complex. It’s challenging, but with patience and practice, the results will be well worth your time!

12. Dust in the Wind by Kansas

Album Point of Know Return
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Soft rock
Tabs See tabs for Dust in the Wind

Fans of fingerpicking, add this classic to your repertoire if you haven’t already! Released in 1977 by American progressive rock group Kansas, “Dust in the Wind” is a sparse, spell-binding acoustic masterpiece. Heartfelt lyrics, beautifully intricate fingerstyle, befitting vocals make it a song for the ages.

The track is written in a standard meter of four beats per measure and is an excellent pick for intermediate and advanced players to take a crack at. The good news is once you’ve figured the chord progression and the basic fingerpicking pattern, it cycles throughout the song.

13. Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin

Album Led Zeppelin II
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Hard rock, blues rock
Tabs See tabs for Whole Lotta Love

Jimmy Page’s inventive, earth-shaking riffs had entire songs built around them. The career-defining riff in “Whole Lotta Love” took shape while sailing on a houseboat on the River Thames in the summer of 1968. So epic was this creation of Page’s that it became widely known as one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time!

This 4/4 rhythm single, alongside Page’s bluesy guitar work, also featured pretty sensational lyrics and vocals by Robert Plant and some top-notch drumming by John Bonham. Led Zeppelin’s first hit in the U.S., “Whole Lotta Love,” contributed immensely in kickstarting their mainstream journey, and the rest, as they say, is history! If you’re looking for 4/4 time signature songs this is one of my personal favorites.

14. Eruption by Van Halen

Album Van Halen
Tuning Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb
Genre Instrumental rock
Tabs See tabs for Eruption

Even though it’s used by more than 90% of songs ever composed, 4/4 meter can get as harmonically and melodically complex as you want it to. Built around this “common” time signature is an instrumental rock piece that features one of the most explosive, mind-bending solos in the history of music! Released in 1978, “Eruption” showcases the awe-inspiring genius of Eddie Van Halen that changed the sound of rock music forever.

It wasn’t the first time someone employed the two-handed finger tapping, but it certainly had never been used this way before! The incendiary solo has since become a rite of passage for anyone who wants to prove their guitaring skills.

15. Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 by Pink Floyd

Album The Wall
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Progressive rock, disco
Tabs See tabs for Another Brick in the Wall

You’re looking at one of the most iconic songs which with its critique of the rigidity of the traditional education system made history and continues to inspire us to not be just “another brick in the wall.” The protest anthem written by Pink Floyd’s bassist Roger Waters was made more potent in its message delivery by getting an entire school choir to record the verses. Everything from the steady disco-esque 4/4 pulse, a sing-along chorus, and a great guitar solo ensured the song got the attention it deserved. Here’s a fantastic tutorial to help you learn the guitar parts in the song.

16. I’m a Believer by The Monkees

Album More of the Monkees
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Pop
Tabs See tabs for I’m a Believer

Millennials might be more familiar with SmashMouth’s rendition of this pop classic, which was used as the soundtrack for popular animated flick Shrek. But this fun tune was first released way back in 1966 by the Monkees and yet sounds astonishingly fresh and contemporary! No wonder it became an instant hit, conquering charts and hearts the world over.

The song was written by Neil Diamond who wanted to rope in country singer Eddy Arnold to record it. He was pretty taken aback when the composition was handed over to the Monkees instead by prominent music publisher Don Kirshner.

The band’s version brought a burst of danceable energy to its listeners and managed to clock over 10 million physical copies in sales—a feat achieved by just a handful of singles in history. The crowd-puller goes in 4/4 time and can be played with just four basic chords G, C, D, and F.

17. Beat It by Michael Jackson

Album Thriller
Tuning Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb
Genre Hard rock, dance-rock
Tabs See tabs for Beat It

The next song on the list needs no introduction, for it is as iconic as the man behind it! With “Beat It,” Michael Jackson forayed into rock and took the world by storm! The catchy single was a delicious mix of the King of Pop’s foot-tapping pop with elements of arena rock. Not only that, but it also featured a memorable guitar solo by none other than the legendary Eddie Van Halen.

The song has been composed in the common time of 4/4. Listen to it closely. You would be able to tell that it goes 1, 2, 3, 4, over and over, quickly, in a repeatable pattern.

18. Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Album Pendulum
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Roots rock, country rock
Tabs See tabs for Have You Ever Seen the Rain

On a cursory listen, this 1971 CCR single might seem like a song describing a downpour on an otherwise sunny day. However, fans have speculated it to be John Fogerty’s take on the impending break up of the band and how, despite the riches and fame, the members were sad and lost. Some even think the lyrics draw a parallel to Vietnam War and the “rain” hints at the shower of bombs from the sky.

Whatever your interpretation may be, the song poignantly conveys how bright and sunny moments of your life can be suddenly downcast by something unpleasant and unexpected. It was re-released five decades later and proved its timelessness yet again by reaching no.1 on Billboard’s Rock Digital Song Sales Chart, the first CCR track to do so!

19. Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top

Album Eliminator
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Blues-Rock, Synth Pop
Tabs Tabs for Sharp-Dressed Man

Released by ZZ Top in 1983 as part of their album ‘Eliminator’, ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ is the kind of song you’d definitely want as part of your setlist. Its steady 4/4 rhythm and heavy riffs will make any rock fan’s head go bobbing up and down. Plus, it features a sensational solo for you to display your guitar chops with!

Even better, the power chords are pretty easy to grasp, and so is the rhythm pattern. You’ll be playingF5, Eb5, and C5 for its intro riff, which keeps showing up periodically throughout the sone, while the verses will involve playing Cm, Bb, F, and G. A solid, fun, dependable track for any occasion.

20. A Tout Le Monde by Megadeth

Album Youthanasia
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Heavy Metal
Tabs Tabs for A Tout Le Monde

Every metal fan worth his/her salt has heard ‘A Tout Le Monde’ by the metal giants Megadeth. This contemplative and poignant song, while being appreciated for its composition, was also a subject of controversy upon its release. People felt that its lyrical content and music video encouraged self-violence, and was banned by MTV. This has been categorically denied by Mustaine, who said that he wrote it as a tribute to his mother.

However, the track’s solid 4/4 rhythm, melodic quality, and performance still garnered a faithful following over the years, and it still continues to be a much-loved track by the iconic band.

21. Hound Dog by Elvis Presley

Album Love Me Tender
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock and roll
Tabs See Tabs for Hound Dog

Even though the original recording of “Hound Dog” by Big Mama Thorton was commercially successful, it couldn’t match up to the popularity of Elvis Presley’s rendition that came four years later, in 1956. While both versions were in 4/4 time, Elvis’s “Hound Dog” is a brighter, faster rock’n’roll piece compared to Thorton’s slower, bluesy original. Elvis’ spin also stood out because of Scotty Moore, one of the best session guitarists of that time.

The song follows the classic 12-bar blues pattern. For aspiring lead guitarists, there are two fantastic solos – an almost spontaneous bluesy one that kicks in at about 45 seconds into the track and a more percussive second solo. Also, the main riff in the song is a “Habanera rhythm” – a four-beat unit and why this song is insanely groovy!

22. Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson

Album Breakaway
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Pop rock
Tabs See tabs for Since U Been Gone

When Kelly Clarkson first heard Max Martin and Dr. Luke’s demo of “Since U Been Gone,” she wasn’t too impressed with its ultra-pop sound. So she decided to add heavier guitars and loud drums to revitalize the cheesier original. It was now catchier, rockier, and a perfect setting for Clarkson to use her jaw-dropping vocal chops to celebrate the end of a toxic relationship.

In true alt-rock style, the restrained verses made way for a crushingly powerful chorus. The single became a massive hit, ruling the charts and fetching Clarkson countless awards, including a Grammy. The song is set in the time signature of 4/4. And for those interested, here’s a lovely tutorial to help you nail the chords.

23. Rolling in the Deep by Adele

Album 21
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre R&B, Soul
Tabs See Tabs for Rolling in the Deep

This song can make an entire room come alive, and even those nowhere as gifted as Adele WILL sing their lungs out. The strumming guitar and pounding drums kick off the track, making its four-beats-per-bar time as clear as day. In “Rolling in the Deep,” the verses flow into the pre-chorus, and you feel the growing intensity with more and more instruments added to the mix. It feels like something fantastic is right around the corner. The moment the chorus begins, you know you were right all along.

“Rolling in the Deep” was the lead single off the British powerhouse’s second album 21. It spent 65 weeks on the charts, won three Grammies, and is one of the best-selling digital singles of all time. Guitar-wise, the chords are easy, and the strumming pattern’s easier, but you’ll need to practice palm muting and quick switches. This tutorial will break it down for you.

24. Cups (When I’m Gone) by Anna Kendricks

Album Pitch Perfect
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Folk-pop
Tabs See Tabs for Cups When I’m Gone 

This ludicrously popular song from Pitch Perfect soundtrack was never supposed to be a part of the movie! The filmmakers added it after Anna Kendrick’s audition, where she sang this catchy ditty. Kendrick’s version was based on a British band Lulu and the Lampshades’ cover of a folk song by A.P. Carter of the famous folk musical group – Carter Family.

The band gave it a fun twist by combining Carter’s lyrics with cup-clapping percussion as used in the cup game – a popular kids’ game played by tapping and hitting a cup in a 4/4 rhythm. The guitar arrangement of “Cups” is beginner-friendly, with basic chords like Am, C, F, G, and Dm.

25. Zombie by Cranberries

Album 1994
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Alt-rock
Tabs See Tabs for Zombie

This protest anthem in 4/4 time by the Cranberries took the world by storm, establishing Dolores O’Riordan as a formidable singer and songwriter. Written during the volatile Northern Irish Troubles, “Zombie” is a masterpiece not just sonically but also lyrically. O’Riordan’s anguishing vocals and gut-wrenching lyrics are backed by a grungy rhythm and punchy riffs.

Like many guitarists, this was the first track I learned on my electric. It has a repetitive chord progression, and you can breeze past the entire song using just C, D, G, and Em. There’s plenty to learn and explore even for more skilled guitarists – hammer-ons, pull-offs, and not to mention that iconic solo towards the end.

26. Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf

Album Steppenwolf
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Hard rock, Proto-metal
Tabs See Tabs for Born to be Wild

“Born to be Wild” is an enduring hard-rock classic used in several movies to show rebellion, especially when bikers are in the scene! The roaring guitar riff is enough to set your adrenaline racing. Quick trivia – “heavy metal thunder” in the lyrics was the first time the term “heavy metal” was used anywhere. It’s also why fans and critics believe this track to be the first-ever heavy metal song.

The song has been widely covered by music bigwigs, including Bruce Springsteen, Etta James, Slayer, and INXS, to name a few. Playing it is a fantastic workout for your pinky. To view the tabs for this killer track, just click on the link above.

27. Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis

Album What’s the Story Morning Glory
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Britpop, rock
Tabs See Tabs for Don’t Look Back in Anger

One of the most recognizable rock choruses of the 21st century belongs to Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” Noel Gallagher didn’t just write it but also lent his vocal pipes to it instead of his lead vocalist brother Liam. It was an attempt by Noel to compose an out-and-out arena rock anthem with inspiring lyrics and a rousing opening piano riff uncannily similar to the one in John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Many fans rate this single ahead of “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova,” and I am team “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” There’s a beautiful guitar solo in C major pentatonic scale and an equally amazing outro to add to your arsenal. You can check it all out on the tutorial link above.

28. Purple Rain by Prince

Album Purple Rain
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock, Gospel
Tabs See Tabs for Purple Rain

“Purple Rain” is heralded as one of the greatest rock songs of all time, and deservingly so. Prince’s guitar work in this track, especially the virtuosic solo in the second half, was genre-defining. This gospel-meets-arena rock ballad raced to number 2 but lost the top spot to a more mainstream “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham.

If you had to learn only one song from this 4/4 list, let it be this one. There’s plenty in it to engage guitarists of all levels. While beginners can start their lessons by tackling a simplified four-chord version, the more seasoned players should give the solos a go. Place a capo on the third fret if you want to play along with the original key.

29. Georgia by Vance Joy

Album Dream Your Life Away
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Indie pop
Tabs See Tabs for Georgia

Most people associate Australian singer Vance Joy with the chart-conquering hit “Riptide,” but “Georgia” is just as appealing. So, the story goes – after “Riptide’s” unexpected success in early 2013, Melbourne-based Joy went through a lull, failing to come up with a new song. Finally, in 2015, fans were rewarded for their patience with the groovy, emotional, and passionate “Georgia.” This four-beats-per-bar single stands out in Joy’s indie folk catalog. You’ll need a capo on the 4th fret to play the gorgeous fingerpicked riff that drives this acoustic tune.

30. Shape of You by Ed Sheeran

Album Divide
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Pop, Dancehall
Tabs See Tabs for Shape of You

Most reggae and dancehall-infused tunes like this one are written in 4/4 time meter with a strong backbeat – which is also why they’re so danceable. The groovy rhythm, buoyant beats, and Sheeran’s beautiful voice make “Shape of You” a perfect set opener. There’s no disputing Sheeran’s knack for writing hits with catchy hooks, but this one is arguably the best of the lot.

It didn’t take long for the single to climb to the top of the charts, that too in over 34 countries; frankly, I don’t think it’s ever been out of trend. There are barre chords in Sheeran’s four-chord original – C#m, F#m, A, and B. However, you can simplify it by using a capo. The video lesson and tabs will take you through both arrangements.

31. Angie by Rolling Stones

Album Goats Head Soup
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Soft rock
Tabs See Tabs for Angie

Despite the shared songwriting credits between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, “Angie” was Richards’ brainchild. He wrote it while detoxing at a Swiss rehab facility after recovering enough to strum the guitar. The iconic guitarist is hailed for jaw-dropping intros, and this acoustic-driven single is no exception. “Angie” became the legendary band’s 7th chart-topping in the US.

The soft, mellow breakup ballad is written in 4/4 timing. It’s a toughie if you want it to sound exactly like the band’s version – the intricate picking patterns, strumming, and embellishments are pretty challenging. There is a simplified way to perform it with a few nice and easy chords, all open. Click the tutorial to check the beginner-friendly version of “Angie.”

32. Yesterday by The Beatles

Album Help!
Tuning D G C F A D
Genre Chamber Pop
Tabs See Tabs for Yesterday

“Yesterday” has over 2200 cover versions, making it the most covered song in music history. It’s hands-down Paul McCartney’s finest contribution to the Beatles, even ahead of the best-selling “Hey Jude.” Fun fact- this gentle, melancholic ballad was composed by Macca in a dream. On waking up, he dashed to his piano and fortified the tune in his mind.

Powered by an acoustic, a string quartet, and Macca’s soothing voice, “Yesterday” is captivating from start to finish. Unlike some other Beatles songs with tricky time signatures, this one is a straight-up quadruple meter tune in 4/4 time. To play it along with the original, you’ll need to tune your guitar down one full step to D G C F A D (D-Standard). The tutorial here will show you how to do it.

33. Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day

Album American Idiot
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Alt-rock
Tabs See Tabs for Boulevard of Broken Dreams

The next 4/4 time signature song is sure to trigger nostalgia for those who grew up in the 2000s. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” dominated jam rooms, pubs, airplay, and charts thanks to its bleak yet relatable lyrics, catchy melody, and captivating vocal harmonies. The song was inspired by Billie Joel Armstrong’s lonely time in a new city. The theme was particularly comforting to the youth grappling with isolation and homesickness in big cities.

If you want to broaden your repertoire with punk rock tunes, start with this one. It sounds as impressive on an acoustic as on an electric. The original has two guitars – an acoustic in standard tuning with a capo on the first fret and an electric without a capo. You’ll need to add the tremolo effect to make your performance closer to the original. The lesson above will take you through all the guitar parts and techniques in the track.

34. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve

Album Urban Hymns
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Britpop
Tabs See Tabs for Bittersweet Symphony

I recently got reminded of The Verve’s dramatic “Bittersweet Symphony” after watching the season 5 trailer of the Netflix drama series The Crown. The British band based the melody on an orchestral riff sample for a forgotten Rolling Stones single, “The Last Time.” They reworked the riff by adding violins, guitar, percussion, steady drums, and existential lyrics to build one of the best anthems of the Britpop era.

What if I were to tell you that you can play the iconic riff with as few as four chords? It’s a super beginner-friendly track powered by four basic chords throughout – E, Esus4, Dsus2, and A. You can use an acoustic or an electric, whichever you see fit.

35. Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Album Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Alt-rock
Tabs See Tabs for Under the Bridge

The next 4/4 time signature song is RHCP’s lead guitarist John Frusciantge’s greatest contribution to the band’s catalog. The single became an instant hit, and the amount of buzz and popularity generated by it overwhelmed Frusciante to the point of quitting.

The track starts with a mesmerizing slow-paced intro inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.” The opening fingerpicked riff is followed by frontman Anthony Kiedis singing about his struggles with cocaine and heroin addiction. “Under the Bridge” is catchy to the core and considered one of the greatest guitar-led singles of all time.

36. Jingle Bell Rock

Album Jingle Bell Rock
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Christmas, Rockabilly
Tabs See Tabs for Jingle Bell Rock

This 1957 hit “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms remains the best-known version despite countless covers of the beloved Christmas tune. So charming and ubiquitous is Helms’ spin on the Christmas standard “Jingle Bells” that it enters charts and dominates airplay every holiday season.

The infectious tune has a rockabilly beat set in the common time. It also featured the prolific session vocalist Anita Kerr and her Quartet as backup singers, making it all the more vibrant. The intro lick always makes me feel like the holiday season is just around the corner. The song has an easy strumming pattern, but the chords and the tricky chord changes make it more suited for intermediate guitarists.

37. Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry

Album Chuck Berry is on Top
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock and Roll
Tabs See Tabs for Johnny B. Goode

“Johnny B. Goode” – The song cemented Chuck Berry’s status as a guitar giant and became a part of every aspiring guitarist’s wishlist. But many of you may not know that this classic was inspired by Louis Jordan’s “Ain’t That Just Like a Woman.” Berry’s version is a groove fest in 4/4 time and a bonafide guitar marvel with its electrifying licks and solos. It’s so good that even icons like Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis Presley, and Elton John couldn’t hold back from releasing their spins.

Let’s face it: Chuck Berry’s guitar is not easy to emulate. It’s best to attempt this track when you’re at the intermediate level with a fair number of techniques up your sleeve. I recommend learning the basic chord progression first before attempting the trickier parts.

38. Rebel Rebel by David Bowie

Album Diamond Dogs
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Glam rock, Proto-punk
Tabs See Tabs for Rebel Rebel

It’s been 50 years, but David Bowie’s mindblowing bluesy riff is entrenched in our collective memories. If you ever thought “Rebel Rebel” sounded a bit too “Rolling Stonesy,” it was because that’s exactly how Bowie wanted it to sound.

Until “Rebel Rebel,” most of Bowie’s tracks had Mick Ronson at the helm, guitar-wise. But since Ronson had quit the entourage, this song was purely Bowie’s work. It was a bid goodbye to glam metal, a genre he helped build. The entire track revolves around the opening melodic riff. The chords that power this tune are – D, E, A, and Bm.

39. Creep by Radiohead

Album Creep
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Alt-rock
Tabs See Tabs for Creep

Believe it or not. Radiohead’s breakout single “Creep” struggled to get a decent share of airplay at the time of its release. And not one member of the English rock band liked the track, thinking it to be a little too dull and bitter – a sentiment also shared by the British press at that time. The crowd, of course, was relentless, and the expletives and self-destructive vibe didn’t seem to bother them.

The backbone of “Creep” is the killer guitar parts that mirror Thom Yorke’s angsty vocals. There’s a shuffle between loud power chords in the chorus and arpeggiated chords in the verses as the track shifts gears in emotional intensity. The song is written in 4/4 time with a repetitive four-chord progression fuelling it. Check out the tutorial to learn about the techniques used in this Radiohead trippy classic.

40. It’s You by Ali Gatie

Album Who Hurt You
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Contemporary R&B
Tabs See Tabs for It’s You

Ali Gatie has delivered back-to-back hits in the last couple of years, proving that his viral breakout tune “It’s You” was no coincidence. It took the Iraqi-Canadian sensation all of 15 minutes to write his debut smash hit. Backed by a soft fingerpicked acoustic riff, Gatie croons about his vulnerability at starting a new relationship after a recent heartbreak – once bitten, twice shy.

If you’ve never played fingerstyle, now would be a great time to start. Besides learning an easy riff, this song will also help you master the muted slap technique. It’s easy to count the four beats per bar time signature in this one, with percussive slaps on every 2nd and 4th beat.

41. Yellow by Coldplay

Album Parachutes
Tuning E A B G B D#
Genre Post-Britpop
Tabs See Tabs for Yellow

Coldplay is a hit-making machine. And this hypnotic single from their debut, Parachutes, was a preview of two decades of undeniably catchy hooks that awaited us. In “Yellow,” Chris Martin croons about unrequited love and unflinching loyalty. For guitarists, there’s plenty to love and learn, especially the mesmerizing central riff. You can make out the time signature by paying attention to the beats – kick on 1 and 3 and snare on 2 and 4.

The studio version has a cool alternate tuning where you’ll have to detune to E A B G B D#. The strumming pattern won’t take as much time to master as the chords. Beginners can avoid barre chords and the odd tuning by picking up a capo and placing it on the 4th fret. This way, you’ll be able to play in the standard tuning with relatively easier chords.

42. To Be With You by Mr.Big

Album 1991
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Glam Metal
Tabs See Tabs for To Be With You

Here’s a fun, upbeat track to add to your repertoire. Released in 1991, “To Be With You” became the first chart-topper for the American rock band Mr. Big and the pinnacle of their careers. Well, blame it on the grunge wave triggered by Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit” for making the entire glam metal genre a thing of the past.

While Mr.Big drew inspiration from various genres for their catalog, strummy acoustic-led were few and far between. Even today, those not familiar with the band would have heard this song somewhere. It’s in common time but isn’t exactly a beginner-friendly tune, as you’ll need to work through key changes and a bunch of stretchy chords to play it.

43. Master of Puppets by Metallica

Album Master of Puppets
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Thrash Metal, Metal
Tabs See Tabs for Master of Puppets

In their early years, Metallica was a thrash metal band hailed by only those who appreciated the genre. This changed drastically with the release of their iconic Master of Puppets album. Suddenly the band started attracting fans from other genres. Their sound had become more refined, layered, and technically complex than in their earlier work.

“Master of Puppets” is a standout track in an already fantastic album – An adrenaline-pumping ride starting with the headbanging opening riff to the crushing yet melodic solos by James Hetfield and Kirk Hammet. The song’s time signature is not a straight-up 4/4 as some of the others on the list. It’s mostly in common time, with a 5/8 bar thrown in the verses for every 3 bars of 4/4.

44. Bellyache by Billie Eilish

Album Don’t Smile at Me
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Electro-pop
Tabs See Tabs for Bellyache

The sound of Billie Eilish’s ethereal voice is enough to send anyone into a swoon. Top it off with steady beats, a catchy melody, and her brother Finneas O’Connell’s masterful production – What you get is “Bellyache,” an electro-pop earworm that won’t budge from your mind and heart.

Despite the dark and unsettling lyrics, this single is arguably one of the young American pop star’s most popular records. The song uses one chord progression made up of just three chords throughout its entirety. What’s interesting is the different ways and strumming patterns in which this chord progression is played to avoid monotony. The chord progression is C – Am – Em – Em.

45. Say It Ain’t So by Weezer

Album Weezer
Tuning Eb Ab DB Gb Bb Eb
Genre Alternative/Indie, Pop
Tabs See Tabs for Say It Ain’t So

There’s more to Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” besides the famous riff that has made it a timeless classic. Here, I am referring to the touching lyrics inspired by personal events in frontman Rivers Cuomo’s difficult childhood. Cuomo uses the words to vent out the pain, bitterness, and insecurity and complements it with a riff that is so delightful that it makes you want to air guitar!

Surprisingly, this alt-rock anthem was a sleeper hit that didn’t even crack the top 100s at the time of release. “Say It Ain’t So” is one of those songs that sounds equally amazing on an acoustic and an electric guitar. It’s easy to play but before you begin the lesson, tune your guitar a half step down, as shown in this tutorial.

4/4 Time Signature Explained

If you count to 4, then you just counted one bar of 4/4/ rhythm! Simply put, a 4/4 time signature means that there are 4 quarter note beats in a single measure. Counting in a 4/4 song would go “1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,…” and so on. All the notes in each bar should always add up to 4 quarter notes. Having said that, a 4/4 song can be in any tempo, from the slowest to incredibly fast (you’ll find out soon enough as you scroll down). Widely considered the standard time signature, this rhythm is also called ‘four on the floor’! That’s because it’s the easiest beat to dance to.

While 4/4 beat is one of the most popular in western popular music, that doesn’t mean that it’s the default standard rhythm across the world. In fact, if you listen to Flamenco music, you’ll find a majority of songs in 3/4 and 6/8 time signatures as well.

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoy listening to (and learning to play!) this list of 4/4 guitar songs shared here. I know that 4/4 time signature may not feel uber-cool to some musicians who are more interested in the odd, quirkier rhythm patterns. However, it’s always a good idea to be strong in your fundamentals, that’s the beauty of learning the rules before you break them! If you’re looking for songs in some more unconventional patterns, then do take a look at our articles on the 20 songs in 3/4 time, 16 songs in 2/4 time, and 20 songs in 6/8 time. Happy learning!

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