Saturday, May 08, 2010

All hit songs have the same four chords

Thanks to Great Big Radio for turning me onto this. The Axis of Awesome is an Australian comedy group. They contend that every pop hit uses the same four chords... and they pretty much prove it.

13 comments:

Todd said...

They call themselves a "Comedy Rock Band".

Wasn't that title already taken by "AIR SUPPLY"?

Todd
www.whythesquirrelwontfry.com

Mike Bell said...

And I always thought the answer to everything was "three."

Canadian Lemming said...

But is it canon?

Chuckago said...

It seems very similar, yet less than (to me), Paravonian's rant. The Paravonian YouTube video says it's from 2006, but that is one of his signature pieces that he was doing as far back as 1992.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

A lot of early rock songs were done with C, Am, F, and G. But not all by any stretch of the imagination.

Whistleberry said...

Axis of Awesome was a last minute "fits with the schedule" choice for me at last year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe and they turned out to be the best comedy act I saw that year. Which is pretty good considering I saw around 50 acts.

Their comedy songs are pretty strong anyway, but what lifts them from the ordinary is the dynamics within the group - they remind me of the Reduced Shakespeare Company with their internal bickering. See them if you can - I saw them in a 200 seat venue - looks like they were in the big hall at the Comedy Festival where the video was shot.

TC said...

Reminds me of this article from the Boston Globe about 'the Sensitive Female Chord Progression': http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2008/12/31/striking_a_chord/

Jon88 said...

How humbling. I don't know more than a handful of these songs. (@Cap'n Bob: This rearrangement of those chords, C-G-Am-F, has the advantage of feeling a little more modal.)

Baylink said...

Well, I have ELO playing here, which pretty much puts paid to that idea... :-)

Baylink said...

After reading the comments, I will note that Amy and Emily Saliers and Melissa Etheridge seem to all be fond of the same few riffs, notably the one from Galileo, rolling on the Dmaj chord, which I've dubbed Lesbian Guitar Riff #3.

alan said...

It's interesting the songs that are popular with this audience I've never heard of. I've been listening to a lot of BBC 4 and I'm always surprised by how many cultural references are completely lost over here.

Ben in Melbourne said...

Very entertaining and interesting premise. But, not to be pedantic or any thing, they should have qualified it further by saying "rock hit records". When you start looking at hit records from other cultural backgrounds, to me their theory is blown right out the water, especially as a majority of the hit records since the mid-80s has not been of rock origin. I'm thinking of the influence of MTV, R&B, rap and latin. Entertaining and strong performance by the guys, nevertheless.

Anonymous said...

"My Lovely Horse" from the English sitcom, "Father Ted"

Does that have all the same four chords?