Rock is a hybrid of both Black and White American music forms including Blues, R&B, Gospel, and Country & Western that emerged in the USA in the 1950's. The "I-IV-V" Rock and the Blues progressions were the basic building blocks of early Rock And Roll. The "I-IV-V" progression has that raw sound that helped define Rock And Roll. The Rock Progression, which is as simple as it is effective, has been used to write countless songs since Rock n Roll began.
As the classic "I-IV-V" Rock Progression became over used, songwriters soon found ways to breath new life into this progression by embellishing the three basic chords, using chord substitutions
, chord quality changes, and various chord inversions
as well as by changing the order the chords are played. Three-chord progressions allow six possible combinations if you Reverse and/or put the Middle Chords First. The chart below shows the six possible combinations for the Rock Progression with examples transposed to the Key of "E" to permit easier comparison and analysis. All of the examples cited in this lesson were taken from the book Money Chords - A Songwriter's Sourcebook of Popular Chord Progressions