Home Music Music Lists

The Ten Greatest Acoustic Takes on Beloved Rock Songs

Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Bruce Springsteen performing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 10, 1988.

'Born To Run' on 1988 Tunnel of Love Express tour

On 1988's Tunnel of Love tour, Bruce Springsteen had grown weary of his touring routine and decided to make some changes. He had the E Street Band reverse their standard spots onstage, and he played "Born to Run" solo acoustic. "When I sing it now I feel young and I feel old at the same time," he said. "The song kind of opens up and lets in all the years and breathes it in sort of gracefully."

Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty

The Who

Pete Townshend performing in Rotterdam, May 5, 1997.

'Won't Get Fooled Again,' Quadrophenia tour 1996

When the Who reformed in 1996 to play Quadrophenia, they decided that the encores shouldn't be familiar versions of their hits. Instead, they opted to do many of them in a dramatically stripped-down fashion. "Won't Get Fooled Again" was played by just Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, with John Entwistle joining in midway through on acoustic bass. With the drum solos and synths removed, Townshend's brilliant lyrics about the futility of revolution sounded even more bitingly cynical.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Simon & Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel performing in New York City, 1993.

'America,' Bridge School Benefit 1993

Simon & Garfunkel briefly buried the hatchet for a series of shows in 1993, in what Simon then characterized as farewell concerts. Their rendition of "America" at the 1993 Bridge School Benefit was so achingly gorgeous we're lucky he broke that promise a decade later — though none of those shows quite captured the magic of this singular performance.

Show Comments