José Feliciano

Light My Fire

He is called “the world's greatest living guitarist,” and with good reason. Born blind in Puerto Rico, José grew up to become a pop legend in both Latin America and the U.S. His Latino rendition of Light My Fire, originally composed by The Doors, launched him on his highly successful career in the U.S. José uses Latin rhythms and powerful vocals to great effect in this crossover hit.


The Animals

The House of the Rising Sun

A folk song of unclear origin, The House of the Rising Sun has served many generations of young aspiring guitar players as the proverbial “beginner's song”. The Animals picked this song up from relative obscurity, and turned it into a massive hit. Eric Burdon's soaring vocals, backed by a relentless guitar/organ combination, make you crank the volume up right to the edge of distortion. The perfect rock ballad — for the beginner with his first guitar, and the ageing rocker who has heard it all.


Joe Cocker

With a Little Help from My Friends

Only Joe Cocker can take this gentle Beatles favourite and stand it on its head with his growling, snarling and explosive interpretation. He sustains his raw energy and incredible vocals right through this live performance at the Woodstock festival. The female backup singers are the perfect counterpoint to his straight-from-the-gut delivery.


Foo Fighters

Skin and Bones

A guitar riff that keeps running in your head; an accordion and a violin that blend in like gentle streams; and the plaintive voice of Dave Grohl (formerly of Nirvana) singing I'm just skin and bones — I heard this song for the first time on a jet plane at 40,000 feet, and I was hooked. No power chords, no special effects — just a simple melody that refuses to let go. Alternative rock doesn't get any better than this.


Rolling Stones


Introduced by the Stones in their 1973 album Goats Head Soup, this song about a love that's coming to an end has become a standard feature in virtually all their concerts over the last several decades. Many other bands and singers have released cover versions, but the Rolling Stones are a hard act to follow — especially when they go acoustic.

Those that almost made it

The Beatles: In My Life

Gerry Rafferty: Baker Street

The Carpenters: Desperado

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Who'll Stop the Rain

Roger Whittaker: Mammy Blue

( Achal Raghavan is a strategy and business excellence consultant based at Bangalore. He also teaches strategy at IIMs. )

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