Wednesday Question: Best Chord Progression Ever

Votes and nominations inside.

Ultimate Guitar
Wednesday Question: Best Chord Progression Ever

For this week's traditional Wednesday Question, we'd like to kindly ask you folks to think about chord progressions and answer this little thing right here:

What is the greatest chord progression ever?

  • Post only one suggestion per comment after checking that your favorite wasn't already nominated (Ctrl+F and all).
  • Multiple nominations of one progression create heavy confusion, since on one hand it's unfair to the given chord progression to take into consideration only the most upvoted nomination, but seeing that multiple nominations allow one user to give two or more votes to the same thing, it's also unfair to other nominees not to discard it.
  • Vote up the ideas you support and vote down the ones you dislike. 

We'll sum up your votes by Friday and bring you another traditional UG top list. Show us what you got now!

170 comments sorted by best / new / date

    E, E, E, E, E, E, etc.
    "Whoa, what an awful dream!  There were 'E's everywhere...and I think I saw a 'G'..." "It was just a dream, Bender.  There's no such thing as 'G'!"
    "Us and Them" - Pink Floyd No matter how many times I hear it, that third organ chord just gives me the chills.  
    Also wanted to throw an honorable mention here, not to vote on or anything, but just because we're on the subject.  Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" - the second chord in the verses always gets me.  Such a great progression, especially with the cheesy 80s synth choirs.  
    More like worst imo
    It's not about the progression itself. It's about what it symbolizes to me - the neverending plastic pop hit industry.
    if it's not the chord progression's fault, then i think the problem is you.
    A used up piece of trash may have been innocent to start out, but are you taking in trash from the street into your home? Likewise, this chord progression has been judged a used up piece of trash and only ignorant neeobs would have anything to do with it.
    This chord progression has been dialed back in recent years (since roughly this video came out - coincidence?) I'll still hear it in things like Disney tunes, but I have noticed it less and less with indie pop.  Compared to a couple of years ago when literally every genre on the radio was using it to no end.  
    The Django Reinhard standard 'Minor Swing' is ridiculously versatile in its simplicity, especially in more modern renditions: Am6 / Dm6 / E7 / Am6 / Dm6 / Am6 / E7 / Am6-E7
    Alice in Chains - Nutshell
    Great tune - took me a minute to get timing right.  Great album, AIC Unplugged arguably their best - 
    Definitely not an easy one to count out, I always play it by feel. Em7, G, D, and Cadd9 if I have it right. Sounds excellent!
    Am G F How hasn't it been mentioned yet? Ziggy Stardust, Stairway to Heaven, half of the Iron Maiden catalogue... etc.
    My thoughts exactly. And although it's a different key 'all along the watchtower' has the same progression out of c# I think?
    Call of Ktulu/Hanger 18 - D something, another D and maybe an A - I don't know, I use tabs.  
    Also the ever classic: G - D/F# - Em - C 
    Throw a D in before the C and you've got my vote!
    Well you can mix it up. I often will throw in a quick D/F# and change the C to a C/G for an end to the progression. Or, a quick D after the C as a transition chord. 
    Opeth - The Drapery Falls 
    Completely agreed. Something like Cm9 Bbm9  B6sus4 Bb Bb/F# Cm  if I remember correctly?
    That's just the intro!  Then theres the sexy verse where its like an Aminadd9.  Such a good song
    Led Zeppelin - The Rain Song
    Especially the outro, man. One of the raddest moments in music in general.
    The outro always amazes me. I get the thought: "hey, how awesome would it be to write something as magnificent as the Rain Song." Then the outro hits and I realise I will never be that skilled in songwriting or guitar-playing to produce something so off-the-cuff sounding but melodically fantastic. If you forgive my ramblings. But I've never heard anyone else talk up the outro. I love it. 
    The chord progression for Hey Joe ! It's really great and easy to improvise a great solo 
    You've got a friend in me - Randy Newman This part (capo 3) :  F - C - E7 - Am (x2)  then D7 -G - C - C7
    Aqualung by Jethro Tull
    Just playing that the other day.  The intro riff is just great no matter when or where.  If that riff don't put a smile on your jazz flutist faces, nothing will!
    How about the massive blues progression E G A. Insanely versatile since on hand it can sound like Purple Hazeby Hendrix, but on the other it can be Love Interruption by Jack White.
    Ending of 'Sir Psycho Sexy' by RHCP is pretty unique in that the progression starts in E minor and ends tonicizing C minor, but loops back around to E minor. Em-Eb-Bb-D-Ab-Eb-Cm-Ab-G7
    Octavarium. This song fools around with music theory like a boss.    [code]Fm | Fm | Fm | Fm | Cm | Bbm | Fm | Eb/G | Ab | C/E | Fm  Fm/Eb | Dm7b5 | Fdim | C/E | C/E Fm | C#m | Fm | C#m |[/code] [code]Fm       C#m           Fm                Abm       Eb   I never wanted to become someone like him, so secure   Ab                Cm                D content to live each day just like the last      Bm7b5 I was sure I knew that A        C#m     D9 This was not for me      A       C#m         C And I wanted so much more         Em             Bb  Dm Far beyond what I could see     C# So I swore that I'd Bb       Dm           F#m     F#m Never be someone like him[/code]
    G-Bm-Em ; The Beatles "A Day in The Life" Awesome and Haunting, one of my favorites!
    E-F-G Or the way I call it in my head, the Spanish chord progression. 
    I like to take that sort of thing and alternate it with an Em-Am-B7 part. Generic but it sounds nice.
    Very subjective question, this and the best chord one. How could anyone possibly think of ranking them? That's like ranking the best elements of the periodic table. There is no basis. Its' all far too abstract and nebulous.
    Almost any thing by Jeff Buckley or Nick Drake. But if I had to choose I'd say "Lover you should've come over" and "River Man" respectively.
    You can't nominate two songs at once, but I agree with you. So, for the votes : Jeff Buckley - Lover, you should've come over
    This is a weird question. Why are people just listing songs, though? At least write the chords from the song out.
    They might not know the chords, just like the way it sounds. Which kinda makes no sense, because whenever I here a song with a sweet chord progression, 99.99999% of the time, I look it up.
    But this is a guitar site, so the chord progression is the important part -- not necessarily what song it is. It's fine with songs like Hey Joe where they're clearly talking about C-G-D-A-E (or whatever key it is), since that's the only progression in the song. But most of the ones that don't get specific have songs that aren't just one progression. Plenty of them have more than one prominent progression, too.
    I'm not a fan of this question at all. Seriously, is that the best UG could think of? 
    I think the question is fine. I wouldn't have put it so close to the "favorite chord" list, but I think the bigger problem is that they didn't make it clear that they're not just asking for your favorite song.
    I6 - V - I. Cadential six fours are used so often in classical compositions and they always bring such a feeling of completion to the end of an overture
    To Live is to die, the intro.
    How about the Wave of Mutilation chords by the Pixies? F A Bb Gm Insanely catchy with the natural third chord.
    Only one chord needed and it's xx8060.  Hit it one note at a time and shine... on you, crazy diamond!