If you have ever found yourself in an open jam, with musicians from varying background, you have likely found yourselves asking this question: “What song should we play?”
Some rock songs that may be common ground – Beatles songs familiar to many musicians — are complex in their construction.
Sometimes, the best songs to play are those that repeat the same chord sequence in both the verses and the chorus.
Take, for example, Radiohead’s “Creep.” It is a four-bar loop throughout, with regards to chordal harmony: G major, B major, C major, and C minor, one measure each. I-III-IV-iv. As a participant in a jam, it is comparatively easy to find your footing in “Creep.”
Here are 20 rock songs that repeat the same sequence throughout:
“All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan (later covered by Jimi Hendrix and others)
“Brain Stew” by Green Day
“Cortez the Killer” by Neil Young
“Creep” by Radiohead
“Cut Your Hair” by Pavement
“Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant
“Feelin’ Alright” by Traffic (later covered by Joe Cocker and others)
“Fire on the Mountain” by the Grateful Dead
“Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty
“Gigantic” by the Pixies
“Gloria” by Them (written by Van Morrison)
“Hey Joe” by Billy Roberts (later covered by Jimi Hendrix and others)
“Horse With No Name” by America
“Isn’t It a Pity” by George Harrison
“Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction
“Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry
“Knocking On Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan (covered by Eric Clapton and Guns N’ Roses)
“Sister Ray” by the Velvet Underground
“Wagon Wheel” by the Old Crow Medicine Show (covered by Darius Rucker)
“Zombie” by the Cranberries
Guitar Lessons Can Help!
In your guitar lessons, you may want to ask your teacher to show you the chords to some of these songs. It can feel quite satisfying to know a few chord sequences that are particularly welcoming to play with others who are newer to their instruments.