If you haven’t seen the music video Four Chords, watch it! It is hilarious.
In this video, the Australian Band, Axis of Awesome, creates a parody of 36 pop hits from the 1960’s until today, all using the same chord progression. This progression is called the Pop-Rock Chord Progression and it uses the following chords: I, vi, IV, V. On the ukulele these four chords are: C, A Minor, F and G. For fun, I’ve arranged my own version of Four Chords using the following songs:
- Heart and Soul
- Let It Be
- Take My Home Country Roads
- Blowin’ in the Wind
- Don’t Stop Believin’
- Hey Soul Sister
- I’m Yours
A Popular Progression
This chords progression has been used in many songs. Wikipedia lists over 250 pop hits that have used this progression! Melody, rhythm, voices, instrumentation are all musical elements that make a song sound unique to us. The four chords theme is so funny because such different songs from different eras can be sung next to each other without changing the chords.
For this parody, I keep the chords the same, but occasionally change the tempo and the strumming patterns to fit the songs. Here is my parody of 4 chords.
I start with Heart and Soul, which has more than four chords if you include the bridge of the song (middle part) This song is iconoclastic for me. As a child growing up in the 1960’s everyone I knew would play Heart and Soul on every piano they could find everywhere. It was a way for the kids who did not take piano lessons to still show off.
Nowadays children no longer know these two songs and are excited to learn them in a General Music keyboard class. They are still extremely surprised (as I was) to learn that Heart and Soul is a real song. The progression is iconoclastic and if you’ve ever played it on a keyboard, Heart and Soul will help you to get a handle on the I, vi, IV, V chord progression. For more about chord progressions check out What is a Chord Progression?
By the way, I also simplified a few of the songs, to make the 4 chords progression work. I wanted to choose songs I know and are likely to be familiar to you.
Enjoy my parody of 4 Chord Songs and happy strumming!