I suppose “The Most Popular Chord Progression of All Time” may be a slightly pretentious title; however I think if you start looking into this a bit more, you’ll agree with me that the I – V – VI – IV progression is indeed incredibly popular.
You see, dozens and dozens of hit songs over the years have used these four chords, and although the key may change, the basic sound is always there. Look up “Four Chords by Axis of Awesome” on Youtube and you’ll see what I mean.
So I thought it might be useful for some people if I did a quick guitar lesson on exactly what those four chords are, in five different keys. Because this is one of the most popular chord progressions you’re likely to come across, it is well worth becoming familiar with it in all of it’s variations.
So learn the chords, recognize the interval similarities between each key (you can learn way more about the number system and guitar theory at my Unlocking I IV V website) and above all, have fun!
I mention this in the video, but in case you want a handy reference, the four chords in the five keys (key is the first chord in brackets) are as follows:
- (C) G Am F
- (A) E F#m D
- (G) D Em C
- (E) B C#m A
- (D) A Bm G
If you’re still unsure as to why these chords belong together, or how we go from one key to another, or finding which ones are sharp, and which ones are natural in the chord progression, then I highly recommend checking out my Unlocking I IV V guitar lesson as it reveals the answers to all these questions and more.
Also, you might like to checkout another lesson I did covering 10 Popular Chord Progressions.