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Great one-chord songs?

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Great one-chord songs?

Postby Mixedup » Sat May 07, 2016 8:39 am

Is anyone else fascinated by great songs that use the fewest chords possible?

I've always love the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want', for example, and that's really simple.

But what about songs that use only a single chord. Can they really work? There are plenty of examples of one-chord songs but most are awful (think Harry Nilson's 'Coconut'), or rely on the novelty of the production techniques to make them work (Beatles, 'Tomorrow Never Knows').

Personally, I think Bob Marley's 'Get Up, Stand Up' works really well; I love that track.

So... what others do people here appreciate and why?
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby blinddrew » Sat May 07, 2016 1:37 pm

If I recall rightly Stereo MCs' Connected was pretty much a one chord song wasn't it?
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby Wonks » Sat May 07, 2016 2:28 pm

Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning" is one riff all the way through, as is George Thorogood's "Bad to The Bone".
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby Wonks » Sat May 07, 2016 2:37 pm

Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools" sounds like a single chord song to me.
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby Mixedup » Sat May 07, 2016 3:12 pm

Yeah, there are loads of them. But do you like those you mentioned and if so what is it about them that you like?
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby blinddrew » Sat May 07, 2016 3:59 pm

Well, actually I find them all a bit dull after about 90 sec - 2 mins.

Well, all the ones listed in this thread - I'm not writing the whole canon off! ;)
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby Sam Inglis » Sat May 07, 2016 4:19 pm

Pablo Picasso, by The Modern Lovers. The best four minutes of E minor ever.
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby alexis » Sat May 07, 2016 4:35 pm

Whole Lotta Love.

(Ignore that 3 seconds
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby Wonks » Sat May 07, 2016 5:17 pm

I do really like the tracks I mentioned, plus Tomorrow Never Knows, except for the George Thorogood one, where I really want a chord change by about halfway through.
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby alexis » Sun May 08, 2016 4:42 am

Wonks wrote:Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools" sounds like a single chord song to me.

Great one! So good I never realized it was monochordal!
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby Wonks » Sun May 08, 2016 11:51 am

It's only when you've played it on guitar in a covers band that you realise that you just go 'chink' on the same chord al the way through.
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun May 08, 2016 3:54 pm

Some sources consider there are in fact TWO chords. Cm and Cm7. A bit like "We play Country AND Western" :-)

https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/a/aretha_franklin/chain_of_...


https://youtu.be/vS-zEH8YmiM
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby The Bunk » Mon May 09, 2016 5:53 pm

There's a great one on John Fogerty's first (eponymous) solo album called "The Wall". Really does chug along and never makes me feel like it needs a change. Highly recommended (as is the whole album).
Bruce Springsteen's "Seeds" which I've only ever heard on a live album/DVD. The guitar riff kind of involves some implied/different chords but the root's E all the way through.

Isn't Placebo's "Pure Morning" a one-chorder?
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby petev3.1 » Tue May 10, 2016 1:08 pm

Would Cliff Richard's 'Move It' count?
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue May 10, 2016 2:01 pm

I have always loved Donovan's 'There Is A Mountain', but he ruins it by introducing a second chord in the middle eight.
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby The Korff » Tue May 10, 2016 2:12 pm

The Bunk wrote:Isn't Placebo's "Pure Morning" a one-chorder?

Now that you mention it, yes, I think it is!

There's a Monster Magnet song, called 'Tab', that is one chord for the first 20 minutes or so (it goes up to the fourth after that for a few minutes, but then back to the original chord again for the last 10 or so).
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby Dude16 » Wed May 11, 2016 1:17 pm

How about these oldies?

1. "Jump Into the Fire" Harry Nillson (Nillson Schmillson)
2. "Electric Avenue" Eddie Grant
3. "When Doves Cry" Prince

I love 'em all. Very creative (yet different) ways to maintain interest over a "droning" harmony.
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby Dude16 » Wed May 11, 2016 1:21 pm

Sorry! It's Harry Nilsson - and "Nilsson [b]Schmilsson[b]"!
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby Ramirez » Wed May 11, 2016 3:02 pm

Bo Diddley's 'Who Do You Love'
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Re: Great one-chord songs?

Postby InactiveX » Sun May 22, 2016 11:12 am

blinddrew wrote:Well, actually I find them all a bit dull after about 90 sec - 2 mins.

Try "Spoonful" by Cream. :D
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