Special Report

The Songs Americans Want to Learn How to Play the Most

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If you’ve ever wanted to pick up an instrument and belt out an instantly recognizable song for the pleasure (or agony) of family and friends, this list of the 25 most popular songs that Americans want to learn might inspire you to dust off – and tune up – that guitar in the back of your closet. 

To compile this list, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a study, conducted by Ukulele World, which analyzed over 1,000 songs based on searches for how to play them on guitar, piano, ukulele, violin, and cello. The ranking is based on the average number of monthly searches in the U.S. for all instruments, though here we only list searches for the two most popular – piano and guitar. 

Coming in at No. 25 is “Glimpse of Us,” a mawkish love ballad by singer-songwriter and former YouTube sketch comic George Kusunoki Miller, performing under his stage name Joji. After its release in 2022, the song became a Billboard Hot 100 top-10 single. (Also see, this is the biggest one hit wonder in music history.)

The list has two entrants from the rap genre, both featuring piano loops that most rap fans would quickly recognize. The first, “Still D.R.E.,” was released in 1999 by rapper-producer Dr. Dre (née Andre Romell Young), featuring Snoop Dogg (Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr.). The second, “Runaway,” is from Kanye West’s 2010 album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” (These are the most popular piano ballads according to Billboard.)

The most popular genre on this list is, well, pop music. There’s “Someone Like You,” the global superhit released in 2011 by British singer-songwriter Adele (Adele Laurie Blue Adkins) and “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars (Peter Gene Hernandez) released a year later. Both songs use a piano as the sole accompaniment and touch on the theme of lost love.

Though rock and roll has been utterly steamrolled by hip hop in recent decades, Americans are still trying to knock out “Bohemian Rhapsody” from the 1975 studio album “A Night at the Opera” by British rock band Queen — good luck trying to hit Freddie Mercury’s vocal high notes. Then there’s “Sweet Home Alabama” (1973) by Lynyrd Skynyrd, featuring that infectious guitar intro, and “Let It Be,” off The Beatles’ last album by the same name, released in 1970.

Eight of these 25 songs have been released since 2010, and five were composed before 1900: two classical works by Ludwig van Beethoven, two Christmas songs, and “Amazing Grace,” the Christian hymn published in 1779 by English Anglican priest and poet John Newton.

What’s leading the pack with nearly 49,000 monthly U.S.-based internet searches? That would be “Over the Rainbow,” the first song performed by Judy Garland as Dorthy Gale in the 1939 classic film “The Wizard of Oz,” composed by Great American Songbook contributor Harold Arlen, with lyrics by another famous composer from the Golden Age of Hollywood, Yip Harburg. In 2001, the song was voted the No. 1 American song of the 20th century by the Recording Industry of America Association and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Here are the most popular songs that Americans want to learn

25. Glimpse Of Us (2022) by Joji
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 11,472
> Searches to play on guitar: 1,975 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 8,911 on average a month

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24. A Thousand Years (2011) by Christina Perri
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 11,571
> Searches to play on guitar: 2,544 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 7,181 on average a month

23. When I Was Your Man (2012) by Bruno Mars
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 11,903
> Searches to play on guitar: 938 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 10,368 on average a month

22. Someone Like You (2011) by Adele
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 12,268
> Searches to play on guitar: 1,212 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 9,759 on average a month

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21. Stand By Me (1962) by Ben E. King
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 12,944
> Searches to play on guitar: 7,747 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 1,913 on average a month

20. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) by Joe Hisaishi
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 14,448
> Searches to play on guitar: 755 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 8,723 on average a month

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19. Hey There Delilah (2006) by Plain White T’s
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 15,350
> Searches to play on guitar: 9,942 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 1,798 on average a month

18. Sweet Home Alabama (1974) by Lynyrd Skynyrd
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 16,746
> Searches to play on guitar: 14,706 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 1,244 on average a month

17. You Are My Sunshine (1940) by Charles Mitchell and Jimmie Davis
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 16,920
> Searches to play on guitar: 6,173 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 3,868 on average a month

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16. Ode To Joy (1824) by Ludwig van Beethoven
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 17,029
> Searches to play on guitar: 3,123 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 10,539 on average a month

15. Wonderwall (1995) by Oasis
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 17,428
> Searches to play on guitar: 15,620 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 770 on average a month

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14. Silent Night (1818) by Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 18,025
> Searches to play on guitar: 5,094 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 9,508 on average a month

13. Runaway (2010) by Kanye West
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 18,835
> Searches to play on guitar: 385 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 18,316 on average a month

12. Let It Be (1970) by The Beatles
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 18,839
> Searches to play on guitar: 3,867 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 11,255 on average a month

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11. Can’t Help Falling In Love (1961) by Elvis Presley
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 19,028
> Searches to play on guitar: 4,398 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 4,823 on average a month

10. Bohemian Rhapsody (1975) by Queen
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 20,448
> Searches to play on guitar: 2,847 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 16,550 on average a month

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9. Still D.R.E. (1999) by Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 21,144
> Searches to play on guitar: 1,020 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 19,807 on average a month

8. Golden Hour (2022) by JVKE
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 21,265
> Searches to play on guitar: 782 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 18,932 on average a month

7. Amazing Grace (1779) by John Newton
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 25,005
> Searches to play on guitar: 9,511 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 11,514 on average a month

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6. All Of Me (2013) by John Legend
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 27,286
> Searches to play on guitar: 4,387 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 20,915 on average a month

5. Fur Elise (1810) by Ludwig van Beethoven
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 30,470
> Searches to play on guitar: 3,681 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 24,537 on average a month

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4. Hallelujah (1984) by Leonard Cohen
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 32,199
> Searches to play on guitar: 10,542 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 13,506 on average a month

3. Jingle Bells
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 44,753
> Searches to play on guitar: 9,633 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 28,330 on average a month

2. Riptide (2013) by Vance Joy
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 45,201
> Searches to play on guitar: 11,519 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 1,488 on average a month

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1. Over The Rainbow (1939) by Harold Arlen
> Total average monthly searches in the US: 48,961
> Searches to play on guitar: 5,050 on average a month
> Searches to pay on piano: 3,623 on average a month

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