“Four Chord Song”

Posted by AJ Harbison at 9:22 am

Thanks to my friend Jessica (@jesserface) for this one: A video by Australian musical comedy trio Axis of Awesome where the keyboardist quips, “We’ve never had a hit because we’ve never written a four chord song.” They then proceed to show how every pop song ever written uses the same four chords: I – V – vi – IV (in the video A, E, F-sharp minor and D). The list of songs included below the video is from the YouTube page, so I take no responsibility for any grammatical or punctuational or capitalizational errors (and just to be sure, I encased it all in quotation marks).

Funny? Yes. True? Yes. Sad? You decide.

“Songs Included are :
You’re beautiful by James Blunt,
Forever young by the Alphaville (covered by Youth Group),
I’m yours by Jason Mraz,
Amazing by Alex Lloyd,
Wherever you go by the Calling,
Can you feel the love tonight by Elton John,
She will be loved by Maroon 5,
Pictures of you by the Last Goodnight,
Cigarettes will kill you by Ben Lee,
With or without you by U2,
Fall at your feet by Crowded House,
Am I not pretty enough? by Kasey Chambers,
Let it be by The Beatles,
Under the bridge by RHCP,
Horses by Darryl Braithwaite,
Down under by Men at Work,
Waltzing Matilda,
Old Australia’s funniest Homevideos intro,
Taylor by Jack Johnson,
2 become 1 by the Spice Girls,
Take on me by A-ha,
When I come around by Green Day,
Save tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry,
Africa by Toto,
If I Were A Boy by Beyonce,
Self Esteem by the Offspring,
Apologize by One Republic,
U + Ur Hand by P!nk,
Pokerface by Lady Gaga,
Barbie Girl by Aqua,
Kids by MGMT,
Scar by Missy Higgins,
Thats all it takes to be a star by Axis Of Awesome.”



  1. Gravatar

    Jessica on 09.12.2009

    …and you used real quotation marks not inch marks! I am so proud! ^.^

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    Ryan Fleming on 09.14.2009

    That was freakin’ awesome!!

    The funny thing is that I really like most of the songs that were mentioned. I really am a fan of four chord songs because those four chords are just so darn good sounding. I think the reason that most pop songs are comprised of these four chords is because it really satisfies the ear and leaves the listener feeling content. If another chord were thrown in the mix it would sound off and out of place. However, when an artist can use a new and unique chord structure that “works” it is really great, but this can be very hard to accomplish given that these four chords are what we are used to and what we like.

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    Mark Harbison on 09.14.2009

    While it was of course well-done and hilarious, I feel like I’ve seen it done better somewhere else before . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM

    Slightly different theme, I suppose, but the same basic idea.

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    Mike Morabito on 09.17.2009

    Perhaps less means more with art?

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    Rachel on 09.19.2009

    My friend Anna-Grace showed me that video, too. We had a good laugh. I love the Funniest Home Videos theme.
    Some musical theatre friends of mine have noticed that a certain chord progression fits with practically any musical number, but I don’t remember what that progression is so I suppose this comment is of no use.

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    zach on 06.06.2012

    You left out paparazzi by lady gaga.

  7. Gravatar

    zach on 06.06.2012

    And you forgot complicated by avril lavigne.

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