List of users

Path: Queen Songs - Forum - Song Analysis: The I > II > IV > I chord progressionBookmark and Share


--- Only registered users can post a message ---pages 1
PD: The I > II > IV > I chord progression25 Oct 2002 11:19
The "A Kind Of Magic" song opens with A > B > D > A chord progression.
The same with functions:
I > II > IV > I
It is characterized by the chromatic descending inner line:
E - D# - D - C#

This is a chord progression that is suspected to be used first by the Beatles in their song "Eight Days A Week" (late 1964). I too were searching for this progression but in exactly this form I could not find examples predating it. I could find things only like IV > II > I (Wonderful Land, Shadows), i > III > IV > VI (House Of The Rising Sun, Animals, see also "babe, i’m gonna leave you" by Led Zeppelin). Before the sixties the II chord was expected functioning always as V of V and followed strictly by V.
As Tears Go By (Rolling Stones) is another early example of I > II > IV ( > V ). Beach Boys' "Finders Keepers" from 1963:
(V > ) II > IV > I
Roy Orbison: In Dreams: I > II > ii > V
this progression is also close in terms of chromatic inner voice.
The Platters: Sae Of Love, IV > II > I, I > II > I

Beatles scholar Ian Hammond wrote an article on the discussed progression:

Back to Queen. Roger seems to have (re-)developed this particular chord progression step by step:
Modern Times RnR(1973): IV > V > bVII progression with mainly the same chromatic descent as in I > II > IV.
Action This Day(1982): those opening chords: G > A > C7 (> D*). The functions here aren't clear, but retrospectively it turns out to be bVII > I > bIII.
"A Kind of Magic" is the next stage. Note Roger uses not only I > II > IV > I
but also ( I > ) V > bVII > IV (E > G > D) whit a similar chromatic descent built in.

As for the other three members:
Misfire: I > II > IV > I
II > IV progreession (the heart of the discussed progression) can be found in
Need Your Loving and I Want To Break Free,
I Go Crazy contains I > II > IV > V progression

Some examples:
Procol Harum: Homburg
Donovan: Atlantis
GnR: Estranged
more to come later. If you can tell examples, especially ones before 1964, don't hesitate to reply here.

a related link
this title suggest lydian intrpretation which I don't agree with.
1.PD 06 Apr 2005 19:10
The quest for a pre-Beatles example is still going on at least by me.
OK it's maybe not the most important cliches of pop music, but very interesting.
I meet this progression here and there, but not really in hit songs.

So far the closest one that I've found is "Three Coins In The Fontain" sung by Frank Sinatra (1954).
It features the I > II > ii > I progression which has mainly the same chromatic descending inner line as the "Eight Days..." progression (note that ii is the relative minor chord of IV). Another interesting point the use of pedal bass also present in this Sinatra song.
"Rising Sun" also features the descending line.

She Loves You: vi > II > IV > I: this is also close but does not contain the complete chromatic line.

Another quest is going for the bVI > bVII > I progression (before PS. I Love You, 1963), which is far more widely used as the above one.
(See also in Play The Game, Crazy Little Thing, Drowse)
2.PD 14 Jul 2005 12:43
A recent disussion:
3.Sebastian 14 Jul 2005 21:04
> II > IV progreession (the heart of the discussed progression) can be found in Need Your Loving and I Want To Break Free.

Back Chat has a relative of that: i > IV > VI > VII in a minor key.
pages 1