It’s almost shameful how simple some of the most popular songs in the world are. It’s something that all the successful songwriters know – simplicity is often the thing that grabs people the quickest. Taylor Swift is unarguably one of the biggest pop stars in the world right now, and you would be hard pressed to find one of her songs with more than four chords in it. Most of them are some variation of the same chords too!
Here are 10 songs with less than four chords.
George Ezra – “Budapest” | Tab
This song is only three chords! The hammering on the strings makes it sound fancy, but the verses are just an F chord the whole time.
Vance Joy – “Riptide” | Tab
This was one of the biggest songs of 2014 and, for 99% of the song, it’s the same three chords over and over.
MGMT – “Kids” | Tab
This song does have a few more chords when they play the bridge, but for the entire song it’s just the same four chords repeated, including in the chorus.
Lou Reed – “Take A Walk on the Wild Side” | Tab
Lou Reed once said: “One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.” This song has three total.
America – “Horse With No Name” | Tab
This song famously has only two chords for the verse and two chords for the chorus. It’s a very easy song to play on the guitar too because on top of its simplicity, the chords for the most part are simple variations of each other.
Boy and Bear – “Southern Sun” | Tab
Boy and Bear wanted to write a simple song around two chords just like “Horse With No Name” and “Southern Sun” is what they came up with. For the most part it only has three chords.
Imagine Dragons – “Demons” | Tab
This song spent over year on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. You wouldn’t recognize it because of the soft piano, but it’s the exact same four chords over and over throughout the song.
U2 – “With or Without You” | Tab
The Edge always uses a lot of effects and it makes their music sound more complex than it actually is. This song’s built around a bass riff, but if you played it on guitar, it’s another song where the same four chords repeat the whole song.
Jane’s Addiction – “Jane Says” | Tab
This is another one of the easiest songs in the world to play on guitar. It’s basically two chords played over and over.
Johnny Cash – “Ring of Fire” | Tab
To write a song that spans genres and generations, all that was needed was two chords during the verse and a third for the chorus.