The Beatles: Famous Chords
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The Beatles: Famous Chords

The Beatles have used some unique chord progressions before. But sometimes it’s not the chord progression that makes the Beatle song unique. Sometimes it’s the chord used that makes the Beatles the successful artists they are. The Beatles usually employ non standard chords in their songs. The way the chord is voiced is certainly different and unexpected; the Beatles employ various techniques including harmonies and melodies to make the chord work. These chords are instantly recognisable as a Beatle musical talent.

A Hard Day’s Night

The Beatles played a striking chord which baffled musicians for many years. Many musicians try to replicate the sound and try to find the actual name of the chord. The use of George Harrison’s 12 Stringed Rickenbacker provided a “ringing” effect to this Beatle opening chord. Paul McCartney and John played their instruments to voice the chord. After which certain Studio Effects were added to make the chord striking. George Martin also played a few notes on the Piano while the chord was played; this is buried deep inside the track and very hard to hear. Only the people who were with the Beatles knew that there was even a piano used on the Beatle track. Many years after the track was released many musicians asked the Beatles how they came up with the chord.

I Want to Hold your Hand

The whole chord progression of the song is very unique. No one would expect the harmony the Beatles played with the chords would fit and vice versa. The minor chord used was perfectly timed, starting a different chord progression. Musicians still argue whether what chord was used in the song on the progression. The verse starts with the G major chord then the D major chord then the E minor chord it then finishes with an unknown chord. Musicians argue whether the chord is a B minor chord or a B7 chord. The chord is not easily recognisable as John Lennon played an exciting rhythm on his Rickenbacker 325.  John Lennon is remembered for making sawdust fall of from his guitar, this guitar playing is influenced by John Lennon’s “anger”.

And I Love Her

The Beatles played a classical technique; the whole song was played in a minor key.  The final chord the Beatles played was surprisingly a D Major chord.

A Day in the Life

The piano is heavily used in this Beatle track. As the last orchestral “orgasm” finished the Beatles played the E Major chord on the piano and letting it ring out using various studio effects.

Oh Darling!

This Beatle track is in the key of A Major and surprisingly an E augmented chord is used.  Anyone hearing the first chord of progression which is the E augmented will instantly recognise this Beatle track.


Yesterday is one of the most popular Beatle tracks; it is the most covered track of the Beatles by various artists. It currently holds a world record of being the most frequently played song in media. Yesterday is the most covered track of all time. Yesterday might seem like a simple song in the key of F major but Paul McCartney played it on a guitar with a lowered tune meaning it is not in standard tuning. Paul McCartney played the song as if it was in the key of G major. Various musicians still do not know what to notate one of the chords used in the Beatle song if it was a D Minor chord or something else.

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Comments (2)

Exceptional feature on Beatles chord. Superb work Gerald.

Excellent article. You are an expert on the Beatles. Bravo Gerard!