Worked on this great, upbeat song by Gord Downie. I have been as faithful as I can to the placement of chords over where they should be played in order to duplicate this iconic piece. Red indicates mostly words that were multitonal or timing alerts for the performer. The body of the song can be played to this YouTube version.
I put it together like this to teach it to a large group of folk musicians in a short time.
The intro is simplified. The first four bars of the intro riff are actually the following riff repeated twice:
You change from Am to G on the seventh beat (blue) of the first bar. Hope the colour helps.
In the strum pattern at the top of the lead sheet, U is up, D is downward, and the dash indicates a beat that is not sounded (a rest). It is a strum pattern that can be used to cover fast calypso or soca pieces.
The Hip is part of my children’s generation, not mine. But, like so many other Canadians last summer, I found myself at a summer cottage with my friend, his daughter and son-in-law on a beach near Perth (not too far from Kingston) on August 20th watching, live, the wonderful concert of The Tragically Hip.
For this song, another great one by Lionel Ritchie that was requested by a patient at the hospital where I volunteer, I owe the excellent chording to this great link on the ultimate-guitar.com website. All I did was do a little editing on the lead sheet (minor changes and placing the chords as close as possible over the syllables that match the changes – plus changing the font to Times New Roman – the genius here is in the work shown on ultimate-guitar.com. It saved me a lot of work on a beautifully arranged piece made famous by this masterful interpretation by Kenny Rogers. You can play along with Kenny if you capo up one fret:
Here’s another great performance of the song by Lionel and Kenny – there’s a wonderful, hilarious prelude on how the song was written told by Kenny, who appeared to be roasting Richie on MGM’s Red Carpet.
I volunteer at a local hospital twice a week singing for wonderful patients in the palliative and complex care wards who are too ill to leave their ward or their room. When I get requests for songs I don’t already know I put a lead sheet together. This is a recent addition to my repertoire:
If you capo up 1 fret you can play along with Lionel Ritchie’s official video of Say You Say Me.
Some of my adaptations are meant for my own interpretation of the song, and the chords ending the last chorus in particular don’t follow the video. For the most part this lead sheet is faithful to Lionel Ritchie’s version. If you find this helpful, please let me know with a comment or a like on this page.
This is a challenging piece to play and learn, but, if you have a good musical ear the chords aren’t hard. I dedicate this effort as an essay in hope.
The timing from line four on is 7 beats per bar. Once I figured that out the learning became easier. The song is in Tamil and sung by Jayashri Ramnath, one of India’s most hypnotic and drop dead beautiful voices. It is an example of Carnatic music in a classical south Indian style and does not easily lend itself to Western notation. I have sometimes indicated the timing of a chord using dots after the chord – three dots equals three beats, four dots equals four beats, etc. This is a common Carnatic usage, so I thought it appropriate. I have indicated the ornamented syllables by typing them in red. The song is in concert A flat major, so I have used the chords in the key of G and if you capo up one fret on your guitar you will be able to play along with this YouTube version from the soundtrack of the Life of Pi film based on the great book by Canadian, Yann Martel. The film’s music was the responsibility of the Canadian film composer, Mychael Danna, who interpreted this piece with wonderful sensitivity and skill. If you listen carefully you will be struck by the genius in the orchestration and timing that sets off “Bombay Jayashri”‘s magnificent rendition of her song.
The final, and magical, scene of Good Morning, Vietnam (released in 1987) included Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World. That’s when I realized it is one of the best “prayers” in existence. As Arlo Guthrie said in his crazy song, I Don’t Want A Pickle,
I learnt it right away.
Here is the lead sheet I use when playing it. Can’t remember where I found the chords – I have played it for a long while. The good thing is that this sheet is written in the key of F major – the same one Satchmo used in this wonderful arrangement. – so you can play along with the video. It’ll be pretty close, if not right on. I’ve included the chords tablature for the ones I use in the song at the bottom. It is number 235 in my personal, haphazard songbook – which holds songs I haven’t/hadn’t completely memorized. Hope you get as much enjoyment out of this song as I do. If this helped you, please let me know.