One-chord songs

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Karlos the Jackal
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One-chord songs

Post by Karlos the Jackal » Wed Jan 24, 2007 4:28 am

I like limitations: I was recently thinking about songs that are limited to one chord.

I'm aware of, like, old-school blues, and noise stuff that is "chord-free" entirely. But my main interest here is pop, and I'm having a hard time thinking of any pop songs with no chord changes.

(Songs that have chord changes only on, say, the bridge still do not count!)

So -- what is there?

--K

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curtiswyant
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Post by curtiswyant » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:24 am

Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows

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Babaluma
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Post by Babaluma » Wed Jan 24, 2007 5:25 am

neither really pop as such, but i can think of two off of the top of my head:

spacemen 3 - revolution (from the "playing with fire" album)

and

cluster - sowiesoso (from the album of the same name)

and loads more drone stuff, but then that's moving even further from pop...

Spark
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Post by Spark » Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:23 am

I was thinking the Trashmens Surfin Bird might be the closest I can think of, but I there are chord changes in the chorus.

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mjau
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Post by mjau » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:08 am

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Madeline Mary (A minor)

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;ivlunsdystf
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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:20 am

There's a one-chord song on Elvis Costello's "This Year's Model". I forget which one it is. I remember from the liner notes that he set out to write a one-chord song. Sorry to send you on a wild goose chase but I don't have a copy around right now.

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JGriffin
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Post by JGriffin » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:42 am

John Lee Hooker, "Boogie Chillun'."
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." ? Brian Eno

All the DWLB music is at http://dwlb.bandcamp.com/

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JGriffin
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Post by JGriffin » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:43 am

The Spark wrote:I was thinking the Trashmens Surfin Bird might be the closest I can think of, but I there are chord changes in the chorus.
Yeah, that's 12-bar blues with the first IV chord removed.
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." ? Brian Eno

All the DWLB music is at http://dwlb.bandcamp.com/

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pablotf
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Post by pablotf » Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:36 am

I think Sly and The Family Stone's "Everyday People" has two chords in it, but its bassline uses only one note.

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Post by percussion boy » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:40 pm

Well, there's all of Indian classical music . . . amazing singers, sitarists, and so forth wailing against the same open fifth drone for hours, while the drums play on . . .
"The world don't need no more songs." - Bob Dylan

"Why does the Creator send me such knuckleheads?" - Sun Ra
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Post by standup » Wed Jan 24, 2007 1:20 pm

Pop O'Pies -- Fascists Eat Donuts.

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alex matson
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Post by alex matson » Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:49 pm

Grant Lee Buffalo - It's the Life
The Verve - Make It Til Monday
You can hear the first one by searching on you tube. as a bonus, you get to see the drummer bury his drums on the beach!
REM - Bandwagon :wink:
Last edited by alex matson on Thu Jan 25, 2007 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by cgarges » Wed Jan 24, 2007 11:43 pm

pablotf wrote:Sly and The Family Stone's
"Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again"
"Dance To The Music" (except the vocal break near the top)

"Jean Pierre" (Miles Davis)

"Girlfriend Is Better" (Talking Heads)

"Voices Inside My Head" (The Police)

"The Funky Drummer" (James Brown)

Chris Garges
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lg
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Post by lg » Thu Jan 25, 2007 6:27 am

aretha: chain of fools

talking heads: crosseyed & painless

tom verlaine: present arrived, sleepwalkin', saucer crash...

bob marley: exodus

miles: shhh/peaceful

and of course,

war: low rider

lg
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Post by lg » Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:09 pm

one i forgot- and it's actually quite a nice little album: 'one of our girls has gone missing' by a. c. marias (angela conway, bruce gilbert, et al): almost every song is a one-chord wonder, with the exception of the title track, which finally breaks into a few changes. i always thought it was a fresh if somewhat delicate take on pop song structures. not much of a wire edge for gilbert, but you can hear it in some of the textures, fwiw.

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