Songs that are very similar

Hello, All.

When I was learning Twist and Shout way back at the beginning, Justin said that the hard part would be changing from D to E on an up-strum. He was right, of course. Several modules later, when I got to La Bamba, he said that the hard part would be the “push” at the transition from F to G - and he was right again.

I couldn’t help but notice how similar the two songs are, not just the chord progressions and strumming patterns, but the riffs, too. I searched for anything noting the similarity and quickly learned that Medley and Berns were “inspired” by La Bamba when they wrote Twist and Shout.

Are there significant differences between the two? I can’t believe I’ve never noticed the similarities until I learned to play them.

Then there are Cocaine and Sunshine of Your Love. Again, I’ve known the songs for decades but never put together how much alike they are.

What else is lurking out there?

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Led Zeppelin’s back catalogue is another example

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With the band at work we made a mashup of Twist and shout and la bambe, purely because the singer spontanuously began to sing it mid song. Yeah it is nearly the same ^^

There a lot of songs that cycle though either F or C to G, Am and F or C again. I often give them the same kind of treatment but I try to bring variation in them

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Even with as much as I appreciate what they did with those blues classics, I’ll always see it as straight-up theft. I’m glad Willie Dixon eventually got something out of them, but he shouldn’t have had to sue to get it.

Songs are chord progressions with singing (melody). Learn a handful of chord progressions and you will be able to suss out hundreds of songs.

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I noticed the same similarity, and when I learned what the rhythmic push was, it made sense to me why I had sooo much trouble with Twist and Shout when I was in grade 1 (when I was attempting the version in the key of D, with the push on the change to A).

I do think that because I spent a little time struggling with it in grade 1, that the push came a little more easily once I got to grade 2 and properly attempted to learn it.

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I’m sure plenty have seen this before, but this is a pretty funny video highlighting how similar so many popular songs are :laughing:
(caution, these guys are comedians so there is the occasional colourful word :wink: )


Hint: La Bamba and Twist and Shout are basically I-IV-V chord progressions. You can toss in other chords and embellishments as you see fit. Get the I-IV-V under your fingers in a number of different keys and the blues and rock songbook are your personal playground.

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Yes, @southpaw6! That was exactly my experience. I’m glad to know that others went through something similar.

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I completely understand that there are (very) common chord progressions, but the similarities I’m talking about are beyond that. It’s the rhythm and other aspects, too. They’re essentially the same song.

Here’s another example. Covered by a great South American band called
Milk’n Blues. Well worth following. Some great vocals and harmonica playing too.


Wow, @sclay, that’s another one I’d never noticed. And that band is phenomenal.

Thank you!

Twist and Shout is basically | I - IV - | V - - - |

Just like Bob Dylan’s - like a Rolling Stone

and One Directions - What Makes You Beautiful

That’s the beauty of music, isn’t it? With one simple idea (progression), you can create a zillion different things for diverse audiences.

Once you hear it, the i III VII IV is all over the place. From pop and rock over rap to classical music.

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What about the chord progression and melody in Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ and The Hollies ‘The Air That I Breathe’? If you’ve not noticed this before, prepare to be shocked!


Suitable time to bring up Mr Sheeran? :wink::grin:


I am shocked. I’ve known both songs but never put it together.

Thank you for this.

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