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Four Chord Pop Progressions - I V VI IV ( 1 5 6 4 )

PUBLISHED: Sep 16, 2013 UPDATED: Nov 27, 2020 • VIEWS: 76 • LESSON CODE: UL59g

Instruments: ANY ukulele Subjects: beginnerintermediateadvancedprogressionssongwritingrepertoire

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Four Chord Pop Progressions - I V VI IV ( 1 5 6 4 )

This is the most popular chord progression in use today. It has replaced the most common chord progression that was used in the 50s, the 1 6 2 5 chord progression.

In the key of C major this is: C G Am F.

In the Nashville Number System the sequence is:

1 5 6 4

A 2009 recording by the comedy group The Axis of Awesome, their “Four Chord Song”, in E major ( E B C#m A ), is a widely viewed clip on YouTube.

The V is often replaced by III. In the key of C major this is: C Em Am F.

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I V VI IV

In the key of C major this progression is: C G Am F.

A 2009 recording by the comedy group The Axis of Awesome, their "Four Chord Song", in E major (E B C#m A), is a widely viewed clip on YouTube .

The V is often replaced by III. In the key of C major this is: C Em Am F.

As you can see from the list below here there are quite a few songs that use this progression for the entire song or part of the song.

If the 1 5 6 4 progression where in the key of C major the 1 6 4 5 chords are: C G Am F. For the key of G major the 1 5 6 4 chords are: G D Em C.

  • Africa - Toto
  • Apologize - Timberland featuring One Republic
  • Auld Lang Syne - Robert Burns
  • Barbie Girl - Aqua
  • Beautiful - Akon
  • Behind These Hazel Eyes - Kelly Clarkson
  • Birdplane - The Axis of Awesome
  • Bullet With Butterfly Wings - The Smashing Pumpkins
  • Can You Feel The Love Tonight - Elton John (from The Lion King)
  • Complicated - Avril Lavigne
  • Dammit - Blink 182
  • Don't Matter - Akon
  • Don't Stop Believing - Journey
  • Double Rainbow - The Gregory Brothers
  • Forever Young - Alphaville
  • Hey Soul Sister - Train
  • I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
  • If I Were A Boy - Beyonce
  • In My Head - Jason DeRulo
  • It's My Life - Bon Jovi
  • Kids - MGMT
  • Land Down Under - Men At Work
  • Let It Be - The Beatles
  • Love the Way You Lie - Eminem featuring Rihanna
  • No Woman No Cry - Bob Marley
  • One Of Us - Joan Osborne
  • Otherside - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Paparazzi- Lady Gaga
  • Pictures of You - The Last Goodnight
  • Pokerface - Lady Gaga
  • Save Tonight - Eagle Eye Cherry
  • Scar - Missy Higgins
  • Self Esteem - The Offspring
  • Sex and Candy - Marcy Playground
  • She Will Be Loved - Maroon Fivev
  • Superman - Five for Fighting
  • Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
  • Take On Me - A Ha
  • Taylor - Jack Johnson
  • Theme from America's Funniest Home Videos
  • Time To Say Goodbye - Andrea Bocelli
  • Two Become One - Spice Girls
  • When I Come Around - Green Day
  • Where Is the Love - Black Eyed Peas
  • Wherever You Will Go - The Calling
  • With Or Without You - U2
  • You're Beautiful - James Blunt
  • You're Gonna Go Far Kid - The Offspring

Songs that part of the songs are using this progression.

  • American Pie - Don McLean
  • The Call - Regina Spektor
  • Say - John Mayer, from the movie "The Bucket List"
  • The Show - Lenka
  • Best Friend - Dog Party

Here's a web site that has links to videos of many of the songs on this list.

As you can see you can learn quite a few songs by simply learning this common chord progression in all 15 keys. Especially the common keys of C, G, D, E, A. And on ukulele F and Bb are also common.

All 15 Keys ( 1 5 6 4 )

  • |C | G/B* | Am | F |

Sharp Keys

  • |G | G | D/F# | Em | C |
  • |D | D | A/C# | Bm | G |
  • |A | A | E/G# | F#m | D |
  • |E | E | B/D# | C#m | A |
  • |B | B | F#/A# | G#m | E |
  • |F# | F# | C#/E# | D#m | B |
  • |C# | C# | G#/B# | A#m | F# |

Flat Keys

  • |F | F* | C/E | Dm | Bb |
  • |Bb | Bb | F/A# | Gm | Eb |
  • |Eb | Eb | Bb/D | Gm | Ab |
  • |Ab | Ab | Eb/G | Fm | Db |
  • |Db | Db | Ab/C | Bbm | Gb |
  • |Gb | Gb | Db/F | Ebm | Cb |
  • |Cb | Cb | Gb/Bb | Abm | Fb |

Slash Chords

Slash Chords - A slash chord is indication that a chord voicing with the note after the slash should be the bass note of the voicing. In the case of this common 1 5 6 4 progression is creates a descending bass line. On ukulele unless you using a low string four tuning slash chord are commonly ignored and the fundamental chord, the name before the slash are played.


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