Chord References

This is a rough draft, with spelling errors, and really unformatted. It's only for my own personal reference really, but if you stumble across it and find it useful, more power to ya.

Chord Formulas

Chord Progressions

I IV V vi - Based Progressions

Examples in a few keys:
A: A, E, F#, G#m
C: C, F, G, Am
D: D, G, A, Bm
E: E, A, B, C#m

I IV V vi
- The Warrior - Scandal (Chorus)

I IV vi V
- 1985 - SR71/BFS
- Dirty Little Secret - All American Rejects (Chorus)
- Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Bentar (Intro/Choruses)
- More Than A Feeling - Boston
- She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals (most of the song)

I V vi IV (super common and used in tons of shit)
- Any Way You Want It - Journey (entire song)
- Dammit - Blink 182 (supposedly most of their catalog is this progression)
- Don't Stop Believing - Journey (choruses, with verses alternating I V vi IV and I V iii IV)
- Glycerine - Bush (basically the entire song except for when he says "Glycerine" I V IV)
- Hurts So Good - John Cougar Mellancamp (verses)
- Let It Be by the Beatles (first half of verse, second half is I V IV I)
- Machinehead - Bush - (chorus, in E)
- My Sacrifice - Creed (Chorus is I V (first inversion) vi IV)
- Push - Matchbox 20 (first part of verses)
- Right Here Waiting - Richard Marx (chorus, and it's in C major)
- Right Now - SR71 (Chorus, verse is I vi V IV)
- Swing Swing - All American Rejects (chorus)
- When I Come Around - Green Day (most of the song)
- With Or Without You - U2 (whole song)
- Spiderwebs - No Doubt

I - Sorry I'm not home right now
V - working in the spiderwebs
vi - leave a message and I'll call
IV - you back

I vi V IV
- Purple Rain - Prince (verses)
- Right Now - SR71 (verses, chorus is I V vi IV)
- Surrender - Cheap Trick
- Country Roads - John Denver (verses)
- You're A God - Vertical Horizon (Chorus, and everything but pre-chorus and solo)
- Two Princes - Spin Doctors (verses)

I vi IV V ("Blue Moon", Doo Wop, 50s progression)
- Blue Moon
- Complicated (verses)
- D'yer Make - Led Zep (verses)
- Earth Angel
- Eternal Flame - Bangles (first part of verses)
- Hold Me Now - Thompson Twins (verses and choruses)
- In The Still Of The Night
- Just Like A Pill - Pink (Chorus)
- Last Kiss
- Please Mr Postman
- Runaround Sue
- Runaway (just the end of the choruses, verses are minor key and choruses are parallel major)
- Stand By Me

IV I vi V
- ???

IV I V vi (minor version is VI III VII i)
- What's My Age Again - Blink 182 (verses)

V vi IV I
- Wannabe - Spice Girls (verses and choruses)

vi IV I V (sensative woman) (if minor it's i VI III VII)
- It's My Life by Bon Jovi
- Live and Learn by Crush 40 (verse)
- What If God Was One Of Us - Prince, Sinead O Connor
- Complicated - Avril Lavigne (chorus, verse is I vi IV V)
- Disarm - Smashing Pumpkins (verses are vi IV I V)
- Self Esteem - Offspring (entire song) (and a lot of other Offspring tunes)
- Africa by Toto

I ii IV V - Based Progressions

C, Dm, F, G
A, Bm, D, E

ii IV I V (aka 2000's cliche progression)
- Alive - Pearl Jam (chorus)
- How You Remind Me - Nickelback (chorus)
- Wonderwall - Oasis (verse)
- Mad World - Tears For Fears (verse is 4x the ii IV I V, rest is basically ii V)

vi IV I ii
- ???

I IV ii V
- Mandy - Barry Manilow (chorus)
- More Than This - Roxy Music (verses)
- Run Around - Blues Traveler (entire song)

I V ii IV
- Believe - Cher (chorus)
- Closing Time - Semisonic (almost the whole song except bridge)
- Our House - Madness (variation I v ii iv, C C Gm Dm Fm D D Am Em Gm B B F F#m C#m Em)
- Somewhere Out There - Our Lady Piece (chorus)

Other Chord Progressions Of 3-4 Chords

I V iii IV
- Don't Stop Believing - Journey ( parts of choruses are I V vi V, verses alternate between I V vi IV and I V iii V )
- The World Has Turned And Left Me Here - Weezer

I vi ii V (similar to doowop/50s progression)
- Big Girls Don't Cry
- Goodnight Sweetheart
- Heart And Soul
- Return To Sender (verses)
- Sh-Boom
- Sherry (most of the song, except bridge)

I IV V IV (aka the "Wild Thing" progression)
- Beverly Hills - Weezer (choruses are I IV V IV I IV V, verses are I IV I IV I IV V)
- Closer To Free - Bodeans (verses)
- Don't Come Around Here No More - Tom Petty (verses)
- Get Off My Cloud - Rolling Stones (verses)
- Good Lovin' - The Young Rascals
- La Bamba - Ricie Valens (whole song)
- Louie Louie (actually, the V is a v, so it's I IV v IV)
- Walking On Sunshine - Katrina and the Waves (verses)
- Wild Thing - The Troggs (verses)

I I7 IV iv (this is usually followed by I V I, decent is usually in treble I, b7, 6, b6)
- Desperado - Eagles (intro and verses)
- It's My Party And I'll Cry If I Want To (chorus is I I7 IV iv, followed by I V I)
- Joy To The World (Jeramiah Was A Bullfrog) - from joy to the fishes in D (I I7 IV iv I V I)
- Nobody Does It Better (chorus)

- More Than A Feeling - Boston (intro + verses, chorus mostly I IV vi V)
- Sweet Home Alabama - Skynard (most of the song)

- Communication Breakdown - Led Zep (Intro, verses, solo)
- Fortunate Son - CCR (verses)
- Hey Jude - Beatles (outro (na na nananana na))
- Manic Depression - Hendrix
- Sweet Child O Mine - GNR (verses)
- Takin' Care Of Business - BTO (verses, choruses, solo)

vi V IV III (really i bVII bVI V)
- Feels Like The First Time - Foreigner (bridge)
- Happy Together - The Turtles (verses)
- Hit The Road Jack - Ray Charles
- Runaway (???)

Other Common Progressions

12 Bar Blues
(one bar each of...)

I V vi iii IV I IV V The Pachebal
- Baseketcase - Green Day (sort of, it's I V vi iii (no 3rd), IV I V V)
- Canon
- Cryin' - Aerosmith (same as basketcase)

I vi ii VI vi ii V I I7 IV iv I V I

I III IV iv - Creep by Radiohead

I IV bIII bVI - Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana

vi ii V I - called circle progression (for circle of fifths)
in C this would be Am, Dm, G, C
major version would be I IV viio iii vi ii V I

Circle Of Fifths

The circle of fifths works like this...

you go up or down by 5 notes
up (C to G, G, to D, etc)
down (C to F, F to Bb, etc)

I also find myself thinking of C to F (for example) as going up 4 even though we'd be going down 5.

So basically if we start at C...
- the next key up (one added sharp (#)) would be G. As five notes away from C going forward is G (C-D-E-F-G)
- the next key down (one added flat (b)) would be F. As five notes away from C in reverse is F. (C-B-A-G-F)
- We can also think of going backwards as just four notes away. So instead of "counting" our letters backwards we'd just go up four. So going down the next key from C would be F (C-D-E-F)

let's try with another key...

A, up would be E, down would be D (did this by thinking backwards 4), but forwards it's A-G-F#-E-D