8 Tip Top Campfire Songs
Most people look forward to camping because they can go on a walkabout around the bush and see both animals and nature in all its glory.
One other thing they particularly think about is sitting around the campfire with their friends and family and having a ripper of a time.
They can tell a few yarns, get into some beers, and, of course, sing some campfire songs. But what songs should you sing? There are some many songs to choose from, but we’ve made it simple for you.
Here are some tip-top camping songs for you guys to sing along to. If you can, bring along an acoustic guitar and strum out these golden oldies while you and everyone else sing it. We’ve got some real golden oldies as well as some fair dinkum Aussie songs from way back when.
‘Waltzing Matilda’ – Banjo Patterson
All Aussies know what comes after hearing the words “Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong” being sung. This bush ballad is often called Australia’s unofficial national anthem, and with its talk of outback life, you can see why.
The song’s lyrics were written by Banjo Patterson, an Aussie poet whom many of you may be familiar with because you had to study it at school. While studying his poems probably sleeping, ‘Waltzing Matilda’ has been an Australian staple for donkey’s years.
Banjo was staying at a sheep and cattle station around Winton in Queensland when he wrote this ballad back in 1895. He was in the actual Aussie bush when he wrote it, making it extra fitting for people to sing it while camping.
The song’s lyrics are actually a bit depressing if you actually listen to them. It’s about a swagman who’s running away from the coppers for hunting and eating a farmer’s sheep and offs himself by drowning in a billabong.
Also, the words “waltzing Matilda” don’t mean he’s dancing with a sheila named Matilda. “Waltzing” means to travel around for work, and “Matilda” is the name given to the swagman’s bundle.
However, the fact is most people just sing along anyway and enjoy themselves, not paying any real attention to what the lyrics are actually saying. And Banjo Patterson’s not alive to correct anyone, so who cares?
‘Sweet Caroline’ – Neil Diamond
Girls all over the globe hear this song and wish their name was Caroline when they think about (insert lame girly voice) “how romantic it is, oh my god”.
So, if there are any fellas reading this, Mr Diamond’s crooning may be able to help you get your missus in a good mood.
Besides all that lovey-dovey rubbish, ‘Sweet Caroline’ is great to sing around the campfire. You’re bound to have heard it being drunkenly sung aloud in pubs or parties, so why should campfires be any different?
It brings everyone together to have fun (the grog certainly helps though). It gets people feeling warm and fuzzy, or as Neil himself says, “Good times never seemed so good” (bloody oath!).
‘American Pie’ – Don McLean
Not to be confused with the movie, Don McLean’s ballad was made nearly 30 years before that movie. While the title of the song obviously points out that it’s an American song, the fact people can sing along to it so easily makes it universal.
Strumming along to the chorus of this song with a guitar is sure to get campers in a tip-top mood. You could kinda say that ‘American Pie’ is an American version of ‘Waltzing Matilda’. They’re both old and have depressing lyrics, but they get people singing along and happy.
One of the lyrics goes “the day the music died”, referring to the plane crash that killed ‘50s crooners Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper.
But fortunately, that doesn’t mean the music has to die at the campfire, so sing away! This grimness is why most people just sing the chorus, and also its eight-minute length!
‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ – Hunters & Collectors
A lot of songs get called “Aussie anthems”, but not many of them get people randomly singing along to them at campfires. The Hunters & Collectors hit ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ is one such song.
Whenever this song plays around a campfire, everyone literately gets their arms around each other. It’s one of those songs that brings everyone together in unity. The song’s over 30 years old, but there’s something simply sublime about it that’s unreal.
‘Brown Eyed Girl’ – Van Morrison
No, not that brown eye! Don’t be gross! The song legit means some lovely sheila’s captivating brown eyes. Van Morrison’s ‘60s hit is about two young people experiencing a summer romance.
The song is catchy and one that people can easily sing along to around the campfire. It’s easy to sing “sha la la la la la la la la la la te da” bit played a big part in what made it a hit single, to begin with that’s still being sung by people young and old all these years later.
Some youngins going on a camping trip with their parents may meet and have a fling, making this song very relatable to them. So, mum and dad, keep your eyes out for some hand-holding (if you’re really lucky, it’ll just be hand holding).
‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ – The Tokens
Most people know this song because of The Lion King, but it’s been around a lot bloody longer than that. The fact you’re out in nature where animals live adds to singing about lions and how they act like they’re the king of the bloody jungle.
Although you may not be camping in Africa and be sleeping near lions (it’s probably for the best that you aren’t though), this song fits camping like a glove.
But remember, you’re not singing the Gunners classics ‘Welcome To The Jungle’. You don’t have to get pumped up because of psycho animals.
Just relax to The Tokens’ soothing humming and join in on everyone else giving it a crack. It’s easy to sing along to. (Seriously, who could muck up singing “a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh”?)
‘Give Me A Home Among The Gum Trees’ – John Williamson
If you’re after a really Aussie campfire song, you’d be hard pressed to find one more dinky-di than this. Gum trees are some of this country’s most well-known trees, mainly because koalas live in them and eat the gum leaves (and get stoned off them while they’re at it!).
Country singer John Williamson helped to keep gum trees in the public’s mind thanks to this song.
The song references most of Australia’s most treasured animals, from kangaroos, kookaburras, sheep, and (ahem) rabbits. Since many campers hope to see these little critters while they’re going bush, it makes perfect sense to sing this song while you’re in the bush.
Now granted, this song gets sung more so when there are kids around, but the nostalgia of childhood alone will get everyone going. The first line of the chorus alone, “Give me a home among the gum trees”, is guaranteed to put a smile of recognition on any Aussie’s face.
‘Wonderwall’ – Oasis
Some people may be a bit iffy about this one since it came from a Pommy band, but since Aussies did originally come from Britain, we should give a bit of leeway here.
This song is a staple in pubs all over the world, especially in Pommyland, and Australia is no exception. This song’s influence also extends to the bush and campfires.
Really, anywhere where someone’s playing a guitar, they’re more than likely gonna start singing “Today’s going to the be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to you”.
Yes, hearing the song whenever someone’s playing a guitar is a cliché now, but that’s because it’s a great song. Its simplicity and catchiness helped make it both a pub and a campfire staple.
It’s guaranteed to get everyone singing along in harmony and putting everyone in a top mood, especially after they’ve had a few bevvies. (If only the Gallagher brothers could follow their own example and just stop bagging each other!)
If you’re thinking of going camping anytime soon with your family or friends, speak to Mars Campers about getting yourself a camper trailer. Call 1300 667 868 today to give yourself a grouse camping trip.