There are good reasons why the piano is the most popular instrument on the planet. The astounding power and dynamic range of the piano is nothing short of incredible, and with it, songwriters and performers are able to convey a wide range of moods, sounds, and emotions. Today, we’re going to show you how to play some popular piano songs, but first let’s talk about what the piano is and where it came from.

 

 

Piano Origins and Importance

 

popular piano songsThe international musical landscape changed forever after an Italian instrument-maker named Cristofori invented the piano in 1700. When he decided to add a system of small striking-hammers to a harpsichord, an instrument that used a plucked-string system, he almost certainly had no idea how large of an impact his new instrument would have on the world. Foot pedals allow pianists to control the dynamics of what they’re playing, and this is what makes the piano a unique instrument. No other instrument since has been able to combine the range and dynamic power like the piano does.

 

The piano’s role in modern songwriting is front and center in genres like rock, blues, and alternative, and many songwriters use the piano to write their songs whether the final product of what they’re creating features piano or not. The piano is not only an instrument, but also a visual representation of the way we understand music theory. The piano is the perfect place to learn how to build chords and modes. In this article, we’ll show you how to play the simplified versions of chords you’ll find in popular piano songs. Some of the chords in these songs feature alternative chord voicings, but we’ll show you the basic versions to help you get started.

 

“Sympathy For The Devil,” By The Rolling Stones

 

 

Written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, this seemingly upbeat song showcases The Rolling Stones’ ability to add a profound lyrical depth and meaning to their work. “Sympathy For The Devil” is sung from a first person narrator that sings about committing some of the world’s darkest atrocities. Because the song was written from the viewpoint of the devil, a rumor began circulating that the members of The Rolling Stones were devil worshipers. The band laughed off the allegations, but many fans and religious groups still believe the rumor to be true.

 

This is one of many great popular piano songs to learn for beginning piano students and is a great example of a song that manages to sound interesting despite how predictable and repetitive it is.

 

Popular piano songs rolling stones

 

E                       D
Please allow me to introduce myself
A                 E
I’m a man of wealth and taste
E                      D
I’ve been around for a long, long year
A                           E
Stole many a man’s soul and faith

E                     D
And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
A                   E
Had his moment of doubt and pain
D
Made damn sure that Pilate
A                    E
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

B
Pleased to meet you
E
Hope you guess my name
B
But what’s puzzling you
A            E
Is the nature of my game

E                  D
I stuck around St. Petersburg
A                       E
When I saw it was a time for a change
D
Killed the Czar and his ministers
A                 E
Anastasia screamed in vain

E
I rode a tank
D
Held a general’s rank
A
When the Blitzkrieg raged
E
And the bodies stank

B
Pleased to meet you
E
Hope you guess my name
B
But what’s puzzling you
A            E
Is the nature of my game
E
I watched with glee
D
While your kings and queens
A
Fought for ten decades
E
For the Gods they made

E
I shouted out
D
“Who killed the Kennedys?”
A
When after all
E
It was you and me

E                  D
Let me please introduce myself
A                 E
I’m a man of wealth and taste
D
And I laid traps for troubadours
A                             E
Who get killed before they reached Bombay

B
Pleased to meet you
E
Hope you guess my name
B
But what’s puzzling you
A            E
Is the nature of my game
oh yeah, get down, baby

(The previous chord progressions repeat until the end of the song)

 

 

“Two Weeks,” By Grizzly Bear

 

 

Though it was released in 2009, this song written by Brooklyn-based indie pop darlings Grizzly Bear boasts a sound and feel straight out 1960’s pop music. The song talks about a lover trying to save their strained relationship. Singer Ed Droste’s tenor crooning floats perfectly over simple staccato piano chords in a simple and effective display of contrasts. “Two Weeks” was one of indie rock’s most popular piano songs when it was released nearly a decade ago, and it’s still widely loved and recognized today. We recommend practicing the chord progressions in this song slowly to the click of a metronome first before attempting to play to the track if you’re new to the piano.

 

Piano chords for Two weeks

 

 

[Intro]

F Am C

[Verse]

F               Am   C
Save up all the days
F           Am    C
A routine relays
F               Am
Just like yesterday
C                F     Am C
I told you I would stay

[Chorus]

Bb      F C
Would you always
Bb         F C
Maybe sometimes
Bb        F C
Make it easy
Bb      F C
Take your time

[Instrumental]

F Am C

[Verse]
F                Am     C
Think of all the ways

F                Am    C
Momentary phase

F                Am    C
Just like yesterday

F                  Am    C
I told you I would stay
F                 Am   C
Every time you try

F                Am    C

Quarter half the mile

F                Am     C
Just like yesterday

F                 Am    C
I told you I would stay

[Chorus]

Bb      F C
Would you always
Bb         F C
Maybe sometimes
Bb        F C
Make it easy
Bb      F C
Take your time

 

 

“Hey Jude,” By The Beatles

 

 

 

This joyous song’s origins are steeped in loss, heartbreak, and sadness. In 1968, John Lennon and his wife Cynthia separated because John was caught having an affair with Yoko Ono.  After the breakup, McCartney drove down to visit Cynthia and her son Julian at their home and he wrote what would later become the ballad of “Hey Jude” in the car while driving. He wrote the song to comfort the young boy during the painful separation of his parents. The song was originally called, “Hey Jules,” but McCartney later changed it because he thought Jude “sounded better.”

 

The right hand of this song switches from playing the 3rd and 5th notes of the chords to playing the root notes.

 

piano chords for hey jude

 

 

[Verse 1]

F                C
Hey Jude don’t make it bad
C        C7   C7      C7       F
take a     sad       song  and make it better
Bb                           F
Remember to let her into your heart
C               F
and then you can start to make it better

[Verse 2]

F              C
Hey Jude don’t be afraid
C      C7   C7      C7       F
you were made    to  go    out and get her
Bb                            F
The minute you let her under your skin
C                F   Fmaj7 F7
then you begin to make it better

[Chorus]

Bb      Bb    Gm
And anytime you feel the pain hey Jude refrain
Gm7       C    C            F    Fmaj7 F7
don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
Bb      Bb      Gm
For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool
Gm7       C       C      F
by making his world  a little colder

[Interlude]

F    F7      C     C       C  F  C7
Da da da da da   Da   da    da    da

[Verse 3]

F               C
Hey Jude don’t let me down
C            C7         C7     C7       F
You have found    her      now go and get her
Bb                         F
Remember to let her into you heart
C                F   Fmaj7  F7
then you can start to make it better

[Chorus]

Bb     Bb   Gm
So let it out and let it in hey Jude begin
Gm7         C    C     F         Fmaj7  F7
you’re waiting for someone to perform with
Bb      Bb        Gm
And don’t you know that it’s just you hey jude you’ll do
Gm7         C       C         F
The movement you need is on your shoulders

[Interlude]

F  F7      C  C     C    C  F  C7
Da da da da da   da  da   da    da

[Verse 4]

F                C
Hey Jude don’t make it bad
F  C7   C7          C7      F
take a  sad   song  and make it better
Bb                            F
Remember to let her under your skin
C                F
and then you’ll begin to make it better

[Outro]

F  F7      Eb
Na na na   na na na na
Bb
Na na na na
F
Hey Jude
F  F7      Eb
Na na na   na na na na
Bb
Na na na na
F
Hey Jude

 

“Someone Like You,” By Adele

 

 

 

This song was released in 2011 on Adele’s second studio album 21. Like many popular piano songs, it tells the story of a person attempting to cope with a broken relationship. The song propelled Adele to a new level of stardom, and it helped her make history by becoming the first female British solo singer of the Billboard Hot 100 to have two number ones from the same album.

 

You can arpeggiate these chords the way that’s done in the recording, or you can simply play block chords along with the song.

 

Adele piano chords
[Intro]

A A/G# F#m D

[Verse]

A                A/G#
I heard that you’re settled down
F#m
That you found a girl
D
And you’re married now
A              A/G#
I heard that your dreams came true
F#m
Guess she gave you things
D
I didn’t give to you
A                   A/G#
Old friend why are you so shy
F#m
It ain’t like you to hold back
D
Or hide from life

[Bridge]

E                          F#m                D
I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited but

I couldn’t stay away I couldn’t fight it
E
I’d hoped you’d see my face
F#m                             D           D  D
And that you’d be reminded that for me it isn’t over

[Chorus]

A                E                 F#m D
Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
A               E        F#m D
I wish nothing but the best for you too
A           E        F#m        D
Don’t forget me I beg I re-member you said
A                 E                     F#m   D
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts in-stead
A                 E                     F#m   D
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead, yeah

[Verse]

A              A/G#
You’d know how time flies
F#m
Only yesterday
D
was the time of our lives
A
We were born and raised
A/G#
In a summer haze
F#m                    D
Bound by the surprise of our glory days

[Bridge]

E                          F#m                D
I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited but
D
I couldn’t stay away I couldn’t fight it
E
I’d hoped you’d see my face
F#m                            D             D
And that you’d be reminded that for me it isn’t over

[Chorus]

A                E                 F#m D
Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
A               E        F#m D
I wish nothing but the best for you too
A           E        F#m       D
Don’t forget me I beg I re-member you said
A                 E                     F#m   D
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts in-stead, yeah

[Break]

E
Nothing compares no worries or cares
F#m
Regrets and mistakes their memories make
D
Who would have known how
Bm    A       D   D
Bitter-sweet this would taste

[Chorus]

A              E                  F#m D
Never mind I’ll find someone like you
A               E        F#m D
I wish nothing but the best for you too
A           E        F#m       D
Don’t forget me I beg I re-member you said
A                 E                     F#m    D
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts in-stead

[Chorus]

A              E                  F#m D
Never mind I’ll find someone like you
A               E        F#m D
I wish nothing but the best for you too
A           E        F#m       D
Don’t forget me I beg I re-member you said
A                 E                     F#m    D
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts in-stead
A                 E                     F#m   D
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts in-stead
A                 E                     F#m    D
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead   Yeah Yeah
For help learning the full versions of these popular piano songs, we recommend working with a patient and experienced piano instructor. Remember, we’ve provided simplified chords for these songs, so feel free to add more details into your playing whenever you feel ready.

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