5 Time-Tested Chord Progressions

Published: May 23, 2023
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The chord progression I-V-vi-IV, commonly known as the "pop chord progression" or "Axis progression" is a versatile and widely used sequence in music. It consists of the chords C, G, Am, and F. This progression is characterised by its catchy and uplifting quality, making it a favourite in various genres. Some popular songs that feature this progression include:

  1. "Someone Like You" by Adele (Pop/Ballad)
  2. "Let Her Go" by Passenger (Indie Folk)
  3. "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King (Soul/R&B)
  4. "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic (Pop/Rock)
  5. "Can't Stop the Feeling!" by Justin Timberlake (Pop/Funk)
  6. "Where Is the Love?" by The Black Eyed Peas (Hip-Hop/Pop)

These songs demonstrate the flexibility of the I-V-vi-IV progression, appearing in a variety of musical styles and captivating listeners with its familiar and pleasing sound.


The chord progression vi-IV-I-V is a variation of the I-V-vi-IV progression mentioned earlier. It has a captivating and uplifting feel. The chords used in this progression are Am, F, C, and G. This chord sequence is commonly found in popular music and has been used in many successful songs from different genres. Some notable examples include:

  1. "Someone Like You" by Adele (Pop/Ballad)
  2. "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz (Pop/Reggae)
  3. "Wherever You Will Go" by The Calling (Pop/Rock)
  4. "Love Story" by Taylor Swift (Country/Pop)
  5. "Let It Be" by The Beatles (Rock)
  6. "Payphone" by Maroon 5 (Pop/Rock)


The chord progression i-bVII-bVI-V has a strong and edgy feel to it. It uses the chords Am, G, F, and E. This sequence is often heard in rock and alternative music, bringing in a feeling of intensity and suspense. Many popular songs across these genres have embraced this progression, some examples being:

  1. "Zombie" by The Cranberries (Alternative Rock)
  2. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day (Rock)
  3. "The Kids Aren't Alright" by The Offspring (Punk Rock)
  4. "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor (Disco/Pop)
  5. "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi (Rock)
  6. "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd (Progressive Rock)


The chord progression I-bVII-bVI-bVII creates a moody and dark atmosphere. It includes the chords Am, G, F, and G. This progression is often found in rock and alternative music, adding a sense of melancholy and intensity. Some popular songs that use this progression include:

  1. "Creep" by Radiohead (Alternative Rock)
  2. "Heart-Shaped Box" by Nirvana (Grunge/Rock)
  3. "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails (Industrial Rock)
  4. "With or Without You" by U2 (Rock)
  5. "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden (Grunge/Alternative Rock)
  6. "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith (Rock/Ballad)


The chord progression I-vi-IV-V is a classic and uplifting sequence. It includes the chords C, Am, F, and G. This progression is widely used in pop, rock, and country genres, creating a catchy and feel-good atmosphere. Some popular songs that feature this progression include:

  1. "Let It Be" by The Beatles (Rock)
  2. "Someone You Loved" by Lewis Capaldi (Pop/Ballad)
  3. "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd (Southern Rock)
  4. "Hey Soul Sister" by Train (Pop/Rock)
  5. "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King (Soul/R&B)
  6. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day (Rock)

These songs highlight the universal appeal of the I-vi-IV-V progression, delivering memorable hooks and creating a sense of familiarity for listeners.

In conclusion, these "5 Time-Tested Chord Progressions" serve as a reliable foundation for musicians, offering a solid starting point for creating captivating melodies and harmonies. By understanding and exploring these established progressions, musicians can unlock a world of musical possibilities and enhance their songwriting skills. So, grab your instrument and let these tried-and-true progressions inspire your musical journey!