You’ve probably heard Cannon in D, the one-hit wonder by Johann Pachelbel written in the late 1600s, at most weddings you’ve been to. It’s a classic chord progression and melody that pops up in recitals, hotel lobbies, black tie events, and…pop music. Here’s the original classical version typically heard at weddings.
A fun lesson for students is to learn about the history of Cannon in D, learn the chord progression and melody, and then learn some of the following popular tunes that riff on this exact progression. This chord progression was brought back into the music scene in the 1960s and it pops up every few years.
Here is the chord progression for reference: I – V – VI – III – IV – I – IV – V
Graduation (friends forever) – Vitamin C
Hook – Blues Traveler
Basket Case – Green Day
Memories – Maroon 5
And here is funny standup bit called Pachelbel Rant.
The podcast Twenty Thousand Hz has a great episode on popular chord progressions if you want to expand this topic into other common musical styles and sounds.
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