10 Classic Rock and Pop Songs

Introducing the Eb and Bb guitar chords

In the past articles we have discussed songs that you can play with just , three, , , and . We have stayed in the key of C major to keep it easy with the chords C, Dm, Em, F, G, and Am. Of course there are many songs out there that don't stay in one key, and some songs that have strange chords in them, but we are going to take the next logical step; B flat and E flat. Now why is this the next logical step in the Key of C? Well lots of songs use the Key of C blues scale, especially Rock N Roll and pop rock, which means these songs will have a flattened 3rd and flattened 7th. In the Key of C that flattened 3rd is Eb and the flattened 7th is Bb. Adding these two chords to your previous six (C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am) will greatly increase your song knowledge.

After all these chords that work in the Key of C, we have finally come to the two most difficult. For many guitar players the Eb and Bb chords are left to the very end. However, these flattened 3rd and 7th chords really add a whole new dimension to our playing. In the examples below you will notice the variety of classic rock and pop rock songs that can be covered with these two extra guitar chords!

Chords you need to know:

guitar chords for beginners songs: C G F Eb Bb major, A E D  minor

Barrè tip:If you find difficult playing the F major chord with full barrè (133211) you can always play it like this: XX3211

You Got It

The normal Bb chord is going to take some time to get used to, but a good starter song is You Got It, by Roy Orbison. This song was released shortly after his death and reminded everyone what a great contributor he was to Rock N Roll. Here he turns a simple rock progression into an emotional ballad, notice during the bridge and chorus you will be back into familiar chord territory.
Song Chords

Get Together

Here we have a simple C to Bb progression most of the time, switching between these chords will not be easy. This song made popular by the Youngblood’s is often used in movies and media when representing the the vibe of the 60’s. With good reason, it is a wonderful folk song to play around a campfire! Notice how the chorus switches all to major chords to give an uplifting feel after the verse.
Song Chords

Five O'clock World

The Vogues made this song popular back in the mid-60’s, a nice upbeat tune fitting for your guitar. The C to Bb progression mentioned above is actually very common in Rock N Roll, here we share a similar chorded song, but with an added C7. The C7 is a one finger difference and hopefully will, not throw you off!
Song Chords

Cats in the Cradle

Now if you thought Bb was hard to play, try adding Eb into the progression! Whether you play the Harry Chapin version above or the more recent Ugly Kid Joe, this is a great starter song adding in both of our difficult chords. Take your time in the beginning and it will slowly get easier.
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Hello I Love You

I hesitated to add this Doors classic in, it fits a perfect common progression of C-Bb-Eb-C. The big surprise is that the end of the song jumps up in key by half a step. However, notice that even in the slightly higher key it still follows the I-VIIb-IIIb-C pattern. As you progress in your song playing with Eb, Bb, and beyond; it is good to notice these patterns, it will help your future jamming abilities.
Song Chords

Rocky Mountain Way

Speaking of jamming this is a great blues-rock song by Joe Walsh to know, mostly utilizing a C-F-Eb-C chord progression. We already mentioned seeing 7th chords and here we see C7 again and F7, neither should be too difficult to play. At this point anything is easy compared to the Bb and Eb chords!
Song Chords

Hold On, I’m Comin

The great debut album had Sam and Dave with music by Booker T and the MG’s, all that talent together created this awesome song. If you notice this simply switches the Eb and F from the last song making this C-Eb-F-C, and again there are the same 7th chords.
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Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

This song uses a chorus progression of C-Eb-Bb-C (with a F6 and Fm thrown in, these are both easy if you switch from the F barre chord). This song was attributed to a band name Steam that didn't even exist! They were simply studio musicians who collaborated to make a one hit wonder.
Song Chords

It's Still Rock N Roll to Me

Normally Billy Joel songs work best on the piano, but this upbeat number makes a fine guitar cover. It takes us back to many of the chords we have learned in the past and with the Bb. Again and again we will see this flattened seventh in plenty of rock songs.
Song Chords

I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone

This last song was a hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders and The Monkees both. It is going to challenge you with one new chord and a progression that is hard to play, but worth the effort! Of all the chords we often see in rock songs along with Eb and Bb, it is common to see Ab. Before we learned that the vi chord was A minor in the key of C, well sometimes in rock they turn it to A major and flatten it! This VIb, is actually known as the Buddy Holly chord because he popularized it during the chorus of Peggy Sue. As you search for songs with the dreaded Eb and Bb you will often see this Ab thrown in the mix. So it can't hurt to learn it now on such a funky and fun song for your guitar.
Song Chords

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