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Rock (I-IV-V) Progressions

Rich Scott (693) · [archive]
Style: Rock/Pop · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 140
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24





The I-IV-V Progression



I-IV-V-I Variations:

This progression is similar to the Classic I-IV-V Progression except that the "I" chord is tagged on to the end in order to complete a musical thought or phrase. Examples of the I-IV-V-I progression are Words of Love verse (1957), Summertime Blues verse (1958), Little Bit O'Soul verse (1967), Lay Down Sally chorus (1978), Old Time Rock and Roll (1979), and Give Me One Reason verse (1996).

Chord Substitutions:

Below are several well-known songs created by applying chord substitutions to the I-IV-V-I Variation Progression.

E-A6-A-B7-E = Good Time Charlie's Got THe Blues verse (1972)
E-A7-B7-E = That's All Right, Mama verse (1954) and Heartbreak Hotel verse (1956)
E-E7-A-B7-E = Your Cheatin' Heart verse (1952) and If You Wanna Be Happy chorus (1963)
Em7-Am9-B7-Em7 = Elenore verse (1968)

The following chart shows a comparison of these progressions:

E-   A6-A-B7-E
E-   A7-  B7-E
E-E7-A-   B7-E
Em7- Am9- B7-Em7


The Turtles' verse to Elenore takes the I-IV-V-I Variation and substitutes a "i7" chord for the "I" chord and a "iv9" chord for the "IV" chord, creating the chord progression below. [ Note the effective use of the "bVI-V7" one bar Turnaround. ] The substitution of a Minor for a Major chord is a great way to add interest to a well-worn progression. This approach was used to write the verse to the 1959 Sleep Walk where the "IV" chord of the Rock Ballad Progression was substituted by the "iv" chord.

Rock (I-IV-V) Progressions - Page 7