A copious cascade of my cutting-edge chord chart creations…
James Blunt – You’re Beautiful – This was the #1 downloaded song on iTunes today. I bet Blunt sings this song to his bank statement.
Gladys Knight and the Pips – I Heard it Through the Grapevine – My first experience with a guitar—my mom’s 1952 Martin O-18—was figuring out the signature bass riff to this song on the 6th string (I knew the Creedence Clearwater Revival version, which features the bass playing the riff as an intro). A couple months ago, my friend (and soon-to-be Heartwood Guitar Instruction bass teacher) Brady taught me the verse bass line to the Gladys Knight version, played by Motown legend James Jamerson. It’s been fun to come full circle. Truly a “minute to learn, lifetime to master” song.
Ben Harper – Another Lonely Day
Lyle Lovett – If I Needed You – For years I listened with envy to my friend Justin fingerpick this Townes Van Zandt song. Then last winter, I decided to teach myself fingerpicking, and a few weeks ago I taught this song to a student, a song that for so long seemed beyond my grasp. Fingerpicking has been tough to learn, but it’s so fun that I don’t mind putting a lot of time into practicing. This version is Lyle’s cover of the tune.
Kevin McCue and Bruce Diehl – Borders – My student Gary requested this song. Here’s his story about contacting the songwriter:
I have a story I’ll bore you with about the song “Borders.” I wanted to hear “Rivers of Texas” just to hear how someone else sings it. So I used Alta Vista and went to the first web site I found that had Rivers of Texas on it—Bruce Diehl .
I listened to all the songs he (Bruce Diehl) had on his web site. I really liked Borders and Rivers of Texas, so I sent him an e-mail telling him how much I liked those 2 songs, and did he know their origins? He replied, confirming that “Rivers of Texas” is probably an old cowboy song (traditional) written in the 1880s. Then he said he was flattered that I like Borders. He wrote it. Actually he wrote the melody, and another guy (a childhood friend of his named Kevin McCue) wrote the words. They both e-mailed me, flattered that I like their song.
So I thought that was pretty neat: picking a site out of the blue; sending an e-mail asking about the origins of a song I like; and getting a “glad you like it, I wrote that” reply.
They Might Be Giants – Dr. Worm – One of my favorite bands. This is one of several songs of theirs where they give drummers a hard time. No wonder they used a drum machine for their first few albums.
John Williams – Imperial March – A simple tab of the melody to Darth Vader’s theme song, for my youngest student, little Sam. He likes to play it when his parents walk into the room.
Neil Young – Harvest Moon – Included are tabs for all the prominent guitar parts. I teach this song in my Jam Workshop.
Neil Young – Thrasher – I thought I’d heard every great song Young had written, but hadn’t heard Thrasher until a student requested it. What a wonderful gift—Young is one of my favorite songwriters, and after all these years, I can still discover more of his music.
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I’ve also corrected and/or spruced up a bunch of songs:
Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues
Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
Coldplay – Clocks
Coldplay – Warning Sign
Death Cab for Cutie – Crooked Teeth
Grateful Dead – Friend of the Devil
Grateful Dead – Ripple
Green Day – Good Riddance
Nirvana – All Apologies
Carly Simon – You’re So Vain
Lucinda Williams – 2 Kool 2 Be 4 Gotten (now with mp3’s the main guitar parts)
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Finally, you can find all 320 of my chord charts here.