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Doo-Wop Progression

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A chord progression and Sub-Trope of The Four Chords of Pop, very commonly used in Doo-wop, hence the name, consisting of the following: I-vi-IV-V. If that didn't make sense to you, try playing the following chords: C major, A minor, F major, G major. Repeat.

Also known as the "50s progression". Possibly most famously occurring in the songs "Heart and Soul"—which starred for years on the TV commercials of Quaker Oats—and "Stand by Me". In fact, the progression is also called either the "'Heart and Soul' chords" or the "'Stand by Me' changes" because of its famous use in these songs. The 1934 hit "Blue Moon" may well be the Trope Maker and probably inspired a lot of the examples listed below (which makes composer Richard Rodgers sort of an unexpected secret Father of Rock & Roll).


Closely related to the "Humoresque" Progression, which instead has I at the end.


  • Ace of Base - "The Sign"
  • Air Supply - "Making Love out of Nothing at All"
  • AJJ - “Brave as a Noun”
  • Alan Jackson - "Remember When"
  • Albert Hammond (Covered Up by Rockell) - "When I'm Gone (verses)
  • Alice Deejay - "Back in My Life"
  • Alicia Keys - "Girl On Fire"
  • Amber - "Above The Clouds" (chorus)
  • Anders Lundqvist - "Stratosphere" (second phrase of C-section), "Unknown Destination"(B-section, substitutes VII♭ for IV)
  • Aura Qualic (DJ Lizz) - "Moon Light, Stars in Heaven"
  • Barry Manilow - "Mandy"
  • Barry Mann - "Who Put The Bomp (In The Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)"
  • Barry McGuire - "Eve of Destruction"
  • Bay City Rollers - "Saturday Night"
  • The Beach Boys: "Surfer Girl" (although Brian Wilson extends it to I-vi-IV-V-iii-I-IV-iv), the intro to "In My Room".
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  • The Beatles - "Octopus's Garden", "Oh! Darling" (from Abbey Road), "I'm So Tired", the final section of "Happiness is a Warm Gun" (from The White Album), "I've Just Seen a Face" (from Help!), "This Boy" (from Past Masters), "Free as a Bird" (from The Beatles Anthology)
  • Ben E. King - "Stand By Me"
  • Justin Bieber - "Baby"
  • Billy Currington - "Love Done Gone"
  • Billy Joel - "Uptown Girl"— the first four bars of the B section
  • The chorus to Bobby Darin's "Dream Lover"
  • Bobby "Boris" Pickett - "Monster Mash"
  • The chorus to Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart."
  • Brand New - "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows"
  • Brian McKnight - "Back at One"
  • Buddy Holly - "Everyday"
  • Burt Bacharach - "Magic Moments" (verses)
  • Bye Bye Birdie - "One Boy" (as a recurring tag only; note the Girl Group-style harmonizing)
  • Captain & Tennille - "Do That to Me One More Time"
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  • Carly Rae Jepsen- "Call Me Maybe"
  • The Casinos — "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye"
  • The Chords - Sh-Boom (was also a hit for The Crew Cuts)
  • Charles Trenet - "La Mer" also covered by Django Reinhardt and Covered Up in English as "Beyond The Sea" by Bobby Darin
  • Christopher Tin - "Baba Yetu" (Civilization IV title music) (chorus)
  • Chubby Checker - "Let's Twist Again"
  • Closer Than Ever - "Miss Byrd" (the A section of each ABAC verse, and under the ad lib. scatting)
  • Concrete Blonde - "Joey"
  • In the Creature from the Black Lagoon pinball machine, the music that plays after the Match Sequence does this, in keeping with the "1950s drive-in theater" theme.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Looking Out My Back Door"
  • David Bowie - "Ashes to Ashes" (from Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps))
  • Dead Kennedys - "Kill the Poor" (from Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables)
  • Die Toten Hosen - "Verschwende deine Zeit"
  • Dion and the Belmonts - "Runaround Sue", "A Teenager in Love"
  • Dolly Parton - "I Will Always Love You" (chorus)
  • Drifters - "Up on the Roof", "This Magic Moment"
  • Dusty Springfield - "I Only Wanna Be with You"
  • Earthbound Beginnings - "Wisdom of the World" features this progression twice for the first half of the chorus.
  • The Edsels - "Rama Lama Ding Dong"
  • Ed Sheeran — The verse in "Perfect". The chorus also uses the minor version of The Four Chords of Pop.
  • Electric Light Orchestra - "Don't Walk Away"note  from the movie Xanadu
  • Electric Youth - "Tomorrow", "A Real Hero"
  • Elton John - "Crocodile Rock" (during the verses and the "la la la la la" part)
  • Emilie Autumn - "Find Me a Man"
  • Erasure - "She Won't Be Home" (chorus)
  • Eric Clapton - "I've Got a Rock & Roll Heart" (chorus)
  • Eureeka's Castle has segments in its episodes intended to fill in the time between other segments (with the animated "winding key" segment being the most frequently used one), but there are at least two of them featuring the Fishtones (a group of singing fish statues) that sing brief doo wop like jingles that use this progression.
  • Eurhythmics - "Shame"
  • The Everly Brothers - "Love Hurts"
  • Faith Hill — "I Can't Do That Anymore" (first half of verses)
  • Fleetwood Mac - "Sara" (verse)
  • Frank Zappa - "Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder" (from Freak Out! and Cruising with Ruben & the Jets)
  • fun. - "We Are Young"
  • "Gary's Theme" (aka Gadget Room) from Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force
  • Gene Chandler - "Duke of Earl"
  • Gerard Joling - "Love is in Your Eyes", "Read My Lips", "Together Again"
  • Gouryella - "Walhalla"
  • The score of Grease is a homage to 1950s rock 'n' roll, so of course this progression turns up in such songs as "Mooning," "We Go Together," "Beauty School Dropout" and "It's Raining On Prom Night." "Those Magic Changes" introduces it with a great big lampshade attached:
  • Hal Ketchum — "Stay Forever" (first half of verses)
  • The chorus to the Happy Days theme
  • The theme to the animated version Fonz and the Happy Days Gang also does this.
  • "Heart and Soul"
  • Heathcliff - Main theme, except for the bridge
  • The Hold Steady - "Don't Let Me Explode"
  • Inner Circle (of Bad Boys fame) - Sweat (A lalalala Long)
  • Iron & Wine - "Flightless Bird, American Mouth"
  • J. Frank Wilson - "Last Kiss"
  • Jim Croce - "Lover's Cross," "Alabama Rain"
  • John Lennon - "God" (verse) (from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band)
  • Kenny Chesney — "The Tin Man" (verses)
  • La Bouche (Covered Up by No Mercy) - "Where Do You Go?" (chorus)
  • Lana Del Rey - "Prom Song (Gone Wrong)" (verses)
  • LazyTown - "Cooking by the Book"
  • Led Zeppelin - "D'yer Mak'er" (from Houses of the Holy)
  • The music that plays during the "lucky" sections of the arcade version (but not the NES version) of Legendary Wings does this.
  • Lemon Demon - "When He Died"
  • Leona Lewis - "Bleeding Love"
  • "Gardens IntMusic" from LittleBigPlanet Uses a I-I-IV-V chord progression for its first eight bars, before switching to vi-IV-I-V for eight more bars, followed by an extra, asymmetrical bar with the VI chord, and from then on uses typical I-vi-IV-V progression.
  • Limahl - "Never Ending Story" (second half of bridge)
  • "Dentist!" from Little Shop of Horrors (first half of chorus)
  • Madonna - "True Blue"
  • Part of the Tennis Machine music from the Game Boy Color version of Mario Tennis
  • The Marvelettes - "Please Mr. Postman"
  • This happens in the prom song from "Two Guys for Every Girl", an episode of Maxie's World.
  • The McGuire Sisters - Sincerely
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian - "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"
  • The Muppets:
    • The Muppet Babies theme
    • The song "I'm Gonna Always Love You" from the "Muppet Babies" section of The Muppets Take Manhattan.
    • Except for the chorus, the song "Good Things Happen in the Dark" from the show itself does this this along with "Rocket to the Stars" (which does it throughout most of the song).
    • The verses of "We're Doing a Sequel" from Muppets Most Wanted use a variation with a major VI dominant seventh chord.
  • The Sea Ponies song from My Little Pony: Rescue at Midnight Castle
  • "Nothing Can Stop the Smooze" from My Little Pony: The Movie (1986)
  • Neil Sedaka - "Oh! Carol"
  • NOFX - "Murder The Government"
  • Neutral Milk Hotel - "In The Aeroplane Over the Sea"
  • Olsen Brothers - "Fly on the Wings of Love" (chorus)
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - "Enola Gay"
  • Both versions of the theme that plays throughout Pac & Palnote  do this.
  • Panel de Pon - Lip's Theme (particularly obvious in the Super Smash Bros. Brawl remix)
  • Papa Roach - "Still Swingin'" (chorus)
  • Paperboy - "Ditty"
  • Paul Anka - "Diana"
  • Pearl Jam - "Last Kiss"
  • The Penguins - "Earth Angel"
  • Pete Seeger - "If I Had a Hammer"
  • P!nk - "Just Like a Pill"
  • Pink Floyd - "The Thin Ice" (from The Wall)
  • The Police - "Every Breath You Take" (from Synchronicity (and, by extension, Puff Daddy's "I'll Be Missing You"))
  • A Pup Named Scooby-Doo does this in at least one of the chase scene songs; namely the one with the Iceman.
  • Pretenders - "Don't Get Me Wrong"
  • Queen — "Bohemian Rhapsody". About half the ballad section is in this chord progression. Also, the first verse ends with a variation of The Four Chords of Pop ending with a vi chord instead of a VI.
  • Rachel Platten - "Stand By You" (chorus)
  • The Rays — "Silhouettes," which also incorporates a Truck Driver's Gear Change.
  • Rebecca Black - "Friday"
  • Rhythm Heaven - The music for the "Moai Doo-Wop" minigame, as well as its sequel.
  • Rick Trevino — "Running Out of Reasons to Run" (first half of verses)
  • Ricky Nelson - "Poor Little Fool", "Donna"
  • The Righteous Brothers - "Unchained Melody," an instrumental piece from the fifties featured in the 1990 film Ghost.
  • Ritchie Valens: "Donna".
  • Robert Hazard - "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" (intro) (later Covered Up by Cyndi Lauper)
  • Rodney Atkins - "In a Heartbeat" (verses)
  • Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" have a variation. First bar is I-vi, second bar is I-vi, third bar is IV, fourth bar is V.
  • The Rodgers and Hart standard "Blue Moon", a hit doo-wop cover of which was done by the Marcels in 1961.
  • Sam Cooke - "Wonderful World," "Twistin' The Night Away"
  • Santo & Johnny - "Sleep Walk" (a #1 Instrumental hit from 1959 that was later featured prominently in the Ritchie Valens biopic La Bamba, which, since Valens' own "Donna" used the progression, qualifies as a musical Call-Back).
  • Sara Bareilles - "Gonna Get Over You," (chorus) "Brave," "I Choose You." She uses this progression frequently.
  • Sarah Vaughn - Broken Hearted Melody
  • Sean Kingston - "Beautiful Girls" (which samples "Stand By Me"), "Me Love" (which samples "D'yer Mak'er")
  • Simple Plan — Untitled (chorus)
  • Sin of Sebastian - "Shut Up (and Sleep with Me)"
  • Slipknot - Psychosocial
  • - "Moshi Moshi" (chorus; the verse is vi-IV-I-V)
  • Endless Mine from Sonic the Hedgehog 3
  • Britney Spears - "Lucky" (bridge and chorus)
  • Spandau Ballet - "True" (chorus)
  • Spice Girls - "Too Much"
  • "Specter Circus" from Ape Escape
  • SpongeBob SquarePants - "Ripped Pants"
  • Starship - "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"
  • Technotronic - "Move This"
  • The intro and A-section of "McLarty Party People (Cotton Alley)" from Super Meat Boy.
  • Ted Poley - "Escape From the City" (verses) from Sonic Adventure 2.
  • Thomas Howard Lichtenstein - "Silent Hill", from the DanceDanceRevolution series
  • Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift — "Highway Don't Care"
  • Toby Keith — "Big Blue Note"
  • Todd Duncan - "Unchained Melody" (later Covered Up by the Righteous Brothers)
  • Marc van Linden - "Another Dimension"
  • The main title theme of Vib-Ribbon does this.
  • Village People - "YMCA"
  • Volbeat - "Black Rose" ft. Danko Jones
  • Waratte Iitomo (loosely, "It's Okay to Laugh"), a long running Japanese TV variety show does this with its theme song "Uki Uki Watching".
  • Weezer - parts of "Butterfly" and the choruses of both "Why Bother"and “Buddy Holly”
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic - "Stop Forwarding That Crap to Me" (chorus)
  • Whitney Houston - "I Wanna Dance with Somebody"
  • The Who - "I Can't Explain" (bridge)
  • The English theme tune of The World of David the Gnome uses this for its A-section, while the B-section uses IV-V-I-vi (subdominant variation).
  • Zac Brown Band — "As She's Walking Away" (verses)

Alternative Title(s): Du Wop Progression


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