The best Pop, Rock and Film Music backing tracks for the guitar
Although sufficient in itself in acoustic classical pieces, for example, the guitar is known as a solo instrument in an ensemble, particularly in modern music. So, how can you take full advantage of the joys of this instrument when playing alone? That's where backing tracks come into play. We'll explain everything in this article!
What is a backing track for the guitar?
A backing track is an audio recording of one or several instruments allowing you to play the guitar (or any other instrument) over this track and therefore to play accompanied, even when you're alone and you don't have a group or any flesh-and-blood musicians to perform with you!
Backing tracks are used in various contexts and in different formats: it might be a purely rhythmic accompaniment or inversely a full instrumental aimed at accompanying a singer and they are equally useful for practising alone at home as in the context of concerts and public performances.
A backing track for the guitar therefore often includes the bass guitar, drums, potentially the voices, keyboards, drums and additional guitar parts, but not the main guitar part. That's your role!
You can therefore play the solo guitar part yourself or improvise while the backing track takes care of playing all the other instruments. No more boring practising alone with your instrument! You have the opportunity to reproduce at home the same conditions as a live performance (almost!), to work on the evenness of your tempo, as well as your group-playing.
The Tomplay guitar catalogue is full of backing tracks! We offer sheet music with notes and tablatures in all styles and all levels to satisfy all your musical desires! As well as being able to play these scores with a professional recording of the rest of the group, our backing tracks are available in a multi-track format: start the backing track, add the voice and backing vocals and adjust the volume of each track to suit you.
The best pop, rock and film music backing tracks for the guitar
Still don't know which piece to choose? We're here to help! Browse our selection of the best pieces from the Tomplay catalogue for the guitar with backing tracks below, click on the links to access the sheet music including the notes and tablatures, choose your level of difficulty and start playing!
1. "Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T’s
"Hey There Delilah" is a song from the third album All That We Needed by the Pop Rock group Plain White T's. Shortly after its release, the title became their first hit in the United States, even being placed at the top of the Billboard Hot Top 100 in July 2007.
The group's singer, Tom Higgenson, wrote this song for the American athlete Delilah DiCrescenzo after having met her, even though there was never anything between them. He wanted to impress her, but in reality, he only succeeded in embarrassing her!
In August 2018, Tom Higginson announced the development of a potential series based on the song's history. It would be a romantic comedy telling the contemporary fairy tale of a long-distance flirt between a singer-songwriter and a student at New York University. The evening they meet, he composes a song for her which changes their lives.
The Tomplay backing tracks included in the sheet music of "Hey There Delilah" give you the possibility of separating the various audio tracks (bass, drums, guitar, lead vocal, click) and adjusting their volume to suit you thanks to the multi-track system.
2. "Careless Whisper" - George Michael
"Careless Whisper" was George Michael's first solo song. Written in 1981 with Andrew Ridgeley, the second member of Wham!, this ballad on the subject of infidelity became a hit particularly for its introductory riff, played on the saxophone by Steve Gregory.
George Michael affirmed that he had received more compliments on the writing of the saxophone solo than anything else he had ever composed! Ten different saxophones were auditioned to play this solo before Gregory proposed the sound Michael was looking for.
Contrary to popular belief, "Careless Whisper" is not based on a real event in George Michael's life. He was only 17 when he wrote this song and was taking the bus to go to work. The story is fiction, but the melody is excellent and the song was a great success.
Play "Careless Whisper" with the backing tracks included in the Tomplay scores: start the accompaniment, mute the main guitar, add the voice and backing vocals and adjust the volume of each track to suit you.
3. "Back to Black" - Amy Winehouse
Released in 2006 from the album of the same name, "Back to Black" is one of the most famous titles by Amy Winehouse. It is inspired by the song "Baby Love" by The Supremes, "Be My Baby" by The Ronettes and "Remember (Walking In The Sand)" by The Shangri-Las.
The video, recorded in black and white, depicts the funeral of the singer's heart and evokes her break-up with her boyfriend, who had left her for another. Like the album, this song was a worldwide success.
4. "Bella Ciao" - La Casa de Papel
A piece of music known all over the world is now closely linked to the cult series La Casa de Papel. “Bella Ciao”, a famous Italian partisan song born in the 20th century in anti-fascist communities during the Second World War, has over time become the resistance hymn of militants and protesters all over the world.
The story goes that, in Italy during the 1930s, a grandmother taught her granddaughter this song. She often sang it with the other “mondina” in the rice fields where the work was difficult and long. Later on, the young girl became a member of the resistance during the Second World War and, in 1944, the lyrics of the song became those that we know today: revolutionary words, symbolic of the struggle against oppression.
Still covered today by modern artists, you can often hear the melody of “Bella Ciao” being hummed by younger generations. Explore our sheet music of "Bella Ciao" for the guitar synchronised with the backing tracks of the orchestra to accompany you.
5. "Dust in the Wind" - Kansas
"Dust in the Wind" is a famous title by the American Progressive Rock group Kansas, released in 1977.
It was one of the group's first acoustic tracks. Its slow melody and melancholy lyrics are quite different from their other hits and the instrumental bridge in the song carries a melodic line on the viola.
This is the story of the inspiration behind "Dust in the Wind", as told by the guitarist Kerry Livgren: "One day, I was sitting at home between tours and my wife had heard me doing a piece of acoustic fingerpicking. She said "That sounds really good, you should make a song out of it." I said "No, it's just an exercise.
I was reading a book of American Indian poetry at the time and I came across this phrase: "All that we are is dust in the wind". This really struck me and I remembered it. I was humming this line along with the fingerpicking exercise and a quarter of an hour later, I had a song.
When I played it for the group, there was a stupefied silence. Sometimes the things which come from a simple inspiration are much more long-lasting than those you might work on endlessly."
Play "Dust in the Wind" with the backing tracks included in the Tomplay sheet music: start the backing track, mute the main guitar, add the voice and backing vocals and adjust the volume of each track to suit you.
6. "Perfect" - Ed Sheeran
"Perfect" is dedicated to Ed Sheeran's fiancée. Careful not to allow his career to be defined by his first hits, the singer was sure he had found a solid follow-up to his first hits in this romantic ballad, of which he is very proud.
Ed Sheeran has revealed that the lyrics came to him at James Blunt's home in Ibiza, where the two singers were listening to the piece "March Madness" by Future at 6 o'clock in the morning. He said: "Barefoot on the grass, we were dancing to our favourite song; I booked the studio for the day and finished "Perfect" that day. I knew it was special."
His brother Matthew Sheeran created the song's orchestration. It was the first time that they had collaborated on a piece of music, thus realising their grandmother's wish to see the two brothers working together before she died.
7. "Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door" - Bob Dylan
The Guns ‘n Roses version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is probably more well-known than the original, written and recorded by Bob Dylan for the trailer of the film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
The screenwriter knew Dylan and had asked him to write several songs for his film. He was conclusively won over hearing him sing “Billy” and even offered the singer a role.
There is no doubt that the song evokes a certain spirituality, but few agree about its real meaning. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is played when the sheriff, the hero Pat Garrett's friend, is mortally wounded during a gunfight with his childhood friend’s gang, both of them having grown up together but having taken different paths.
So, is it the sheriff’s last testament, regretting not having followed his heart into a life of crime? Or a pacifist song relating to the eternal question of travelling towards paradise or hell? Everyone has their own interpretation!
8. "The Sound of Silence" - Simon & Garfunkel
"The Sound of Silence" is a title from the first Simon and Garfunkel album Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, released in 1964. It was released under the name "Sounds of Silence".
The simplicity of the melody and lyrics are the key to this famous song. It is based on the theme of the lack of communication between mankind and his fellow beings and has been covered many times.
Paul Simon wrote "The Sound of Silence" at the age of 21, when he had just got his first job in the music industry. His work consisted of offering songs from a publishing house to the artists of recording companies. In six months, he wasn't able to place a single song.
Guilt-stricken, he started offering his own songs. He quit just before giving away "The Sound of Silence".
The Tomplay backing tracks included in the sheet music of "The Sound of Silence" give you the possibility of separating the various audio tracks (accompaniment, solo guitar, guitar 1, guitar 2, click) and adjusting their volume to suit you thanks to the multi-track system.
Which is the best guitar app with backing tracks?
There are many guitar apps and certainly some of them offer backing tracks, so which one should you choose?
We propose you check out Tomplay!
The Tomplay app contains hundreds of pieces with a choice of sheet music or tablatures arranged in several levels of difficulty for beginner, intermediate or advanced guitarists! Each piece has high-quality backing tracks allowing you to play with the rest of the group, as if the musicians were there with you!
Thanks to the multi-track system, you have the possibility to adjust the volume of each track to suit you. You can therefore choose to take out the solo guitar part from the audio accompaniment, leaving only the instruments and voice which you want to hear while you're playing.
Thanks to the many other Tomplay features, you can annotate your sheet music, repeat passages in a loop or even change the tempo of the backing track as you wish in order to adjust your guitar part to the backing tracks, at your own rhythm.
As well as being educational and fun to use, the Tomplay backing tracks allow you to work on the co-ordination of your instrument and the other instruments in the group, progressing more quickly and playing within a group, whether you've already tried that or not.
See you in the Tomplay Shop for guitar sheet music to check out our full catalogue and to play solo or in a group, without moderation!