Monday, December 27, 2010

Already Gone

The song is in the key of G until 3:19 when the Eagles fly all the way to C. Joe Walsh is the

Touch Me

This song starts on a min and resolves to G maj when the verse begins. The verse follows a I, iii, IV pattern repeating in different keys. The first transition is an Eb IV of Bb maj. It repeats the same IV transition going to Gb to Db major. The B section stays in Db, then goes back to a minor buildup.
-Joe Smith

Jump Jive An' Wail

I haven't seen this video in years but I'm so excited to post it. Great song. Great key change. Take away Brian.
-Tony Trov

Monday, December 13, 2010

Freddie's Dead

"Freddie's Dead" from the soundtrack to Superfly is a great minor key funk groove. Curtis and the boys start in C#min, move it up a half-step to Dmin completely unexpectedly somewhere in the middle, and then bring it BACK DOWN to C#min again. It catches you off guard every time, and it's a testament to Mr. Mayfield's vocal control that he can adjust so quickly, in addition to have the slickest voice ever.

And for what it's worth, I'll bet that this song is what gave Flea his inspiration for the bass line to "If You Have To Ask." Bass players, listen for the triplet-sixteenths in the breakdown.


It's Alright

Just when you think things couldn't get more alright, J.J. jumps from A to Bb around 1:48 and makes it even better.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Working My Way Back To You Babe

I saw Jersey Boys a few weeks ago and heard so many key changes. Here's one that happens in the last chorus.
-Tony Trov

In The Year 2525 And In the Year 252525

I was first introduced to this song by the parody of it on Futurama and then I heard the original on satellite radio and noticed that the year 6565 it jumps up a half step. And then it does it again in the year 9595. It seems as though the level of helium in the atmosphere increases every few thousand years. If you haven't seen the episode of Futurama, you have to catch it. I couldn't find a video but I included the audio link.

Zager & Evans:


Monday, November 29, 2010

Our House

A quote from the band:
"I remember putting in two key changes instead of one at the end of the song, so as the outro went on you never knew where the beginning was; you'd probably lost sense of the key that the song was in. It was really exciting working on that, and if I say so myself, I was quite proud of it because the whole thing was quite clever and it worked. I've actually used that trick a fair bit. I normally go a tone and a half down — lots of people who've worked with me have heard me say 'What's this chorus sound like a tone and a half down?' — because it's a bit cabaret when you just go a tone up. It was during rehearsals that I suggested doing the 'Our House' outro a tone and a half down, and when it came back it sounded a little bit boring, so I suggested then going to another key, Mike got very excited about that and we basically worked together on it."

-Rachel Eichelberger

Duck Tales

Kinda copying off of Vogel a little but we were out this weekend and some bar was playing theme songs to old shows and cartoons. The classic Duck Tales theme came on and noticed a very nice key change in there. Check it out.
-Matt Leuzzi‎

Let There Be Drums

This guy climbs chromatically from the key of E all the way to B, revisiting it's opening riff briefly in A. I heard this little gem on the satellite radio. You have to love a rental car.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Taste of Honey

Around 2:10, Herb and the Tijuana Brass take it to another level with a classic half-step key change. Classic.

Sugar Daddy

Gotta love the Jackson 5. "Sugar Daddy" is a fun, bouncy tune in F that modulates up a half-step at nearly the two-minute mark, at which point Michael's voice begins to soar.
-Mike Oxman

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ka Huila Wai

Traditional Hawaiian song with an awesome key change by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole . I really love this song.
-Tony Trov

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Try

Yeah I know this song is kind of lame. Whatever, I always liked it. Half step key change after the bridge.
-Tony Trov

Monday, November 1, 2010

Uptown Girl

I'm so glad this song has a key change so I could post this video.
-Tony Trov

The Snorks Theme Song

Teaching kids key changes at a young age is very important.
-Mike Vogel

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Toucha Toucha Touch Me

Spooky key change from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Half step up at the end. Take it away Janet.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rebel Rouser

Half step modulation throughout the song. Note the instruments that come in and out with every key change.
-Tony Trov

I Got You Babe

Half step key change after the bridge. Nice job Sonny.

Keep Yourself Alive

The chorus of this song rocks it in D major, jumps to F major at the end of the song, goes back to D and then visits B major on the last time around. Oh Mercles, you rule my world. Queen is the best at what they do. Best part of the video is Brian May singing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sweet Thing

It's not surprising that Rufus & Chaka Khan's "Sweet Thing" is one of the most soulful songs ever written, as it features the Queen of Soul Herself on vocals. The sunny, uptempo-but-relaxed groove is in A until about two minutes in, at which point it modulates up a half-step to Bb. Complete flames.


Cleverly stealing his chorus from Cool Jerk, his Greatness takes the second solo a whole step above the key of the rest of the song at 2:15 in the outro. Move over Rover...

Little Green Bag

Here's a fun one from the George Baker Selection. The key goes from G up half a step to G# just before the last chorus. And here's a weird video of George Baker and said selection drinking wine in what looks like a pizza kitchen.
-Al Bruno

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kenny Rogers & The First Edition

Kenny Rogers group from the 1960s gives a mean half step key change at the beginning of each verse.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Sign

I saw the key change and it opened up my eyes.
The intro segment starts in G Minor and switches to it's parallel major of G Major when the lyrics come in.

Monday, September 27, 2010


The last chorus jumps up a step and repeats. Simple. Classic.
Oh and I love the piano on the verse. Nice job David.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Hear A Symphony

Half step key changes between the verses that are flawless for old school recording.

Monday, September 13, 2010

She's Gone

The instrumental bridge in this song climbs chromatically from A all the way up to C. Watch as Oates pretends to wail on his guitar on probably the worst music video ever created.

Monday, September 6, 2010

All The World Is Green

"All the World is Green" from Blood Money is one of my favorite Tom Waits songs. It's a somber circle of fourths in B minor that trudges along for three-ish minutes until the progression modulates up a half-step to C minor, giving new life to a song that has no change in feel or melody other than the verse/chorus/verse etc. structure.
-Mike Oxman

Monday, August 30, 2010

To Be With You

A frat house after midnight classic, Mr. Big's To Be With You seems an unlikely place for a key change but it's there. The final chorus takes the plunge and jumps from E to G, totally making a fool of peer songs such as Pour Some Sugar on Me and Crazy Game of Poker.

These Eyes

Get ready to have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Nice key change in the outro as it modulates a whole step up. I never realized this was the Guess Who.

Monday, August 23, 2010

13 Horses

13 Horses, by Alexander Rybak and is one of the sadder songs that exists out there. 13 horses are abandoned to drown in the ocean after a ship sinks, and the key and intensity shifts up every time a horse dies/loses its battle against the ocean. And the curiously placed major resolution to the song could either be one of the most peaceful or haunting key changes out there.


This little known yet awesome Hendrix song, Remember only appeared on the UK version of Are You Experienced. It didn't makw it to the US until the 1993 Alan Douglas American re-release. The song sits in a groove reminiscent of early Curtis Mayfield and is surely a product of Jimi's days on the Chitlin Circuit as a backup guitarist. It grooves in A through the solo, which comes back out to a verse. After the verse proceeding the chorus, at 2:03, Jimi pumps the song into B and rides it all the way out. Best - Guitarist - Ever.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Put Your Head On My Shoulder

Here's a classic from Paul Anka that features a key change going into the last chorus. I'm not sure of the key, but I'm pretty sure it's a full step up.
-Al Bruno

C is for Cookie

Like any American with a soul, I love the Cookie Monster. "C is for Cookie," in addition to being a true statement, moves up a half-step at about 1:01. Awesome
-Mike Oxman

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Just Called To Say I Love You

Even the worst Stevie Wonder songs have key changes.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Way You Do The Things You Do

The song that pushed the Temps from a small time Detroit group to full out super-stardom, The Way You Do the Things You Do is a classic Smokey Robinson composition. The song sits in the key of D until the classic Motown key change comes in for the sax solo and carries you away in the key of E. At the time the Temps were experimenting with different lead singers and this was the Eddie Kendricks era. Although Eddie continued to get lead parts on many of the groups most successful singles, he was not their only front man. Temptation Paul Allen tried his hand at lead on A Love I Can See (the single before The Things You Do) but the song was only a minor hit. Temptation David Ruffin stepped out of the shadows to become the voice most people associate with the Temps today on classics such as My Girl, Ain't Too Proud to Beg, Since I Lost My Baby, and I Wish It Would Rain.

Strawberry Fields Forever

The weird intro to Strawberry Fields Forever starts in F and jumps to Bb when John comes in with "Let me take you down..."

I buried Paul.

Easy Like Sunday Morning

Lets face it. Lionel Ritchie is the man. Easy like A to Bb in the final refrain of this song is oh so good. Take it away Mr Commodore.
-Tony Trov

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Golden Lady

The outro of the Golden Lady takes a half step every time it repeats.

Monday, July 19, 2010


The Blues Brothers Band takes Aretha from A to Bb on the "Freedom!" part.


John takes it up a half step on the last verse. Yoko probably hates key changes.
D to Eb.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Long Hot Summer Night

Many people remember Jimi Hendrix for either his being one of the best electric guitarists in the history of music and/or as one of the last true innovators on the instrument. These people are right, but it's also important to remember that Jimi was also an exceptionally talented songwriter. Electric Ladyland's "Long Hot Summer Night" is a prime example. A rock/R&B tune, it starts in C and then modulates a whole step up to D at about 1:50, at which point Jimi DESTROYS a guitar solo. Sometimes, you can't mess with the greats.
-Mike Oxman

Walk The Line

This song seems like your simple 1-4-5 in F but Johnny shows you how slick he really is by jumping keys to Bb and then later to C, walking the key change line like a champ and using the 1-4-5 in more ways than one. Notice that in this video, Johnny has to reaffirm the key he is in by singing a note with the opening chord of each phrase. And he's whoop most guys in a cocaine inspired bar fight.
-Nick Antastasi

Monday, July 5, 2010

Surfer Girl

The teenage girls in this video must really love key changes. Brian Wilson awkwardly sings one of my favorite Beach Boy songs.
Coming out of the bridge, we jump up a half step from D to Eb.
-Tony Trov

Saturday, July 3, 2010

And I Love Her

Great Lennon/McCartney composition from their early years. I think that too often the early period of Beatles songs are underrated in their composition and arrangement, overshadowed by their later work. The lack of a drum kit on this song is absolutely mesmerizing, the interplay of the acoustic guitars is angelic, and the key change out of the bridge for the guitar solo and outro is uber-ballin. Quoth the wikipedia: "A majority of this song switches back and forth between the key of E and its relative minor C#m. It also changes keys altogether just before the solo, to F. It ends, on the parallel major of the key of F's relative minor, D. This technique is known as tierce de Picardie and had been used in the past by some composers, including Bach." Not bad for a couple of kids.
-Nick Anastasi

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wouldn't It Be Nice

This modulation happens within the first 10 seconds (though you should listen to this whole song, and whole album, because they are both awesome):

A conventional four-bar arpeggiated introduction (I – vi – ii – V, strongly establishing a key area) gives way to a wailing vocal that enters a full step above where you’d expected to be.
Rather than intensification (there’s barely anything to intensify), the purpose here seems to be disorientation, and through disorientation, the bold announcement of a new sound that turned out to be a seminal change in pop music; Sir Paul McCartney has gone on record saying that without Pet Sounds, there would have been no Sgt. Pepper.
-Matthew Wrather from

Monday, June 21, 2010

You Better You Bet

I hate thinking about The Who in this stage of their careers. Keith is dead and so was the soul of The Who. Here, Pete uses a key change to give a crappy song more life. Up a step from C to D in the outro.
-Tony Trov

Friday, June 18, 2010

Do You Realize?

Leave it to The Flaming Lips to write an insane key change into an otherwise pop-structured tune and make it work beautifully. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots' "Do You Realize" is in C. At 1:59, the key changes to Eb. Twelve seconds later, it goes BACK to C for the remainder of the song. Geniuses.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I've Been Loving You Too Long

A jump from A to Bb between phrases on a song with no actual chorus. Take it away Otis.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dry Bones

As the Delta Rhythm Boys go up and down the skeletal anatomy of the human body, so too do the keys progress from the toe bones to the head bones and back. A true classic in barbershop key changes!
-Johannes Rebane

I'll Never Forget You

One of my favorite songs from last year is the Noisettes' Never Forget
You. It has a great early Motown sound, with a key change from D to E
in the third verse just after the bridge.
-Al Bruno

Friday, June 4, 2010

I Will Always Love You

A classic pop radio key change. Song starts off in A major, at around 3:05, we get set up for the key change with an E major, which then brings us to the chorus in B major. The scene behind Whitney Houston in this video changes as well. Does that mean I get extra points?
-Mike Vivas

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Play That Funky Music

The sing along chorus is the key to the masses and no one expresses their faith in this rule like Wild Cherry in Play That Funky Music (White Boy). Like many of us who thought rock and roll was the easiest type of pop music, they discovered that they were dead wrong. Funk is super easy, similar, and at the time more lucrative. In this video, you'll notice the coolest horn players ever, the weirdest outfits white people ever wore, the corniest looking drummer of all time, and a key change or two. Not only does the key change on the choruses and at the end it goes up on the outro (twice on the recorded version, once here). Big ballin.
-Nick Anastasi

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wildwood Days

It's Memorial Day weekend so Wildwood Days by Bobby Rydell feels perfect. Half step key change about 58 second in.

-Tony Trov

Watch the tram car please.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 on Livin' On A Prayer

Mad Props to or as I'll call it "My New Favorite Website".

On the key changes of Livin' On a Prayer:
"If you bear the song as in minor throughout, it modulates E minor -> G minor, up a minor third. If you hear it as major, it goes G major -> Bb major, again up a minor third. If I understand Wrather right, he hears it as in minor before the modulation, and major afterwards, which would mean E minor -> Bb major, up a tritone (rad as hell!). And I suppose you could hear it as major before the modulation and minor after (G major -> G minor), but I find that reading a little perverse."

Read the rest HERE.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Weight

Aretha Franklin's version of "The Weight" by The Band is freaknasty. The song is in B flat until about 2:10 or so, at which point it moves up a half-step to B. Oh, and her voice is perfect.
-Mike Oxman

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You Don't Own Me

Lesley Gore Live, just epic.

This song climbs chromatically on every verse. Starts in Gm and ends in Bb.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tout Doucement

Feist's version of "Tout Doucement" is, for the most part, a basic I-VI-II-V chord change sequence. This is very common in pop tunes (in fact, the Muppet's "Mahna Mahna" is the same set of changes). The song is in B flat, making these changes Bbmaj7-Gmin7-C7-F7. The chorus also ends on F7, but instead of going back to B flat, it moves up to F# (the new V, essentially) and finally lands on Bmaj, the new key. Her voice also goes from playful to impassioned, which only adds to the intensity that the key change offers.
-Mike Oxman

The song was written by Emile Jean Mercadier and Rene Albert Clausier.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ain't no Mountain High Enough

This is one of the best duets of all time featuring two different drummers (one for the verse and one for the chorus). Just when you think you can't love it anymore, it does the classic Motown half-step key change after the bridge. A classic in every sense of the word.
-Nick Anastasi

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Soul to Squeeze

This is an unorthodox song structure: the first 8 measure are in A major, but it moves down two whole steps to F major and stays there for the rest of the song. It's a cool surprise every time (key changes are generally towards the end of most pop songs) and adds subtle complexity to an otherwise simple but beautiful rock/pop ballad.

Oh, and the bassline is one of the best ever written. Period.
-Mike Oxman

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So Happy Together

A verse in F# minor and flips to F# major for the chorus. Simple.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Please Don't Go

"Please Don't Go" from the album "Fulfillingness' First Finale." The key change is at 2:26 and is easily one of the most powerful musical moments I've ever experienced.
-Mike Oxman

Monday, April 26, 2010

I Wanna Dance With Somebody

This little number changes a full step from G to A immediately after the bridge. The version below is performed live by David Byrne, complete with string ensemble. However, I strongly recommend viewing the original video by Whitney as it just as enjoyable.
-Al Bruno

Friday, April 23, 2010

Coming Home

Just cause I have to get a KISS one in.

Half step up on the sing along chorus at the end.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Immediate key change before the lyrics even hit!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Thong Song

"The thing you have to remember about the Thong Song is that the basic loop starts with a dissonant chord. (i.e. the music for "Baby make your booty go/ Baby make your booty goooo" sounds much more anxious than the music for "Baby make your booty show/ that thong, tha-thong thong thong.") So the key change is from C# minor to D minor, but the actual cadence moves from C# minor to a G minor 9th, or something like that, which is crunchy as hell."
From a larger article over at

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You Never Give Me Your Money

..cause why settle for only 1 or 2 key changes like a chump?
-The Rahzzah

Starts in Am, then goes to it's parallel key, A major on "One sweet dream, pick up the bags and get in the limousine..". Followed by a jump up to C major on "One, two,three, four, five, six, seven, all good children go to heaven."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Love Will Keep Us Together

Love Will Keep Us Together goes up a full step after the third chorus, repeating it once again but a key higher. In this video, the key change follows the chorus after The Captain's wicked solo.
-Al Bruno

Friday, April 16, 2010

Man in the Mirror

My favorite MJ song has the half step key change on the last round of the chorus. It's awesome because they do it on the word "Change" too.
-Tony Trov

G Dsus4/B Csus2 C/D
I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to ....
G Dsus4/B C C#dim
And no message could have ...
If you wanna make ....
Take a look at yourself....
Then play the chorus up a half step: G# D#sus4/C C# C#/D#

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Can't Take My Eyes Off of You

The song starts in E, after the first (explosively awesome) chorus resolves on D, the song moves to G. But only for one quick verse. The 2nd pre-chorus drops back to E via F#m before returning to one more (explosively awesome) chorus. This song also has a sweet major to minor 4th in the verse, but I suppose that's for a different blog.
-Mike Vivas

Bohemian Rhapsody

The transition from the guitar solo back to the slow section. There are a few other cool chord changes in other parts of the song as well.
-Joe Smith

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

Starting on a descending motif in A, John moves the bridge into Bb and winds through a sequence to a chorus in G. The clever bit is how he finishes the chorus on an A chord; and here we are, coolly back in the original key.
-Nick Anastasi

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Then She Did

I've always loved the change in Jane's Addiction's "Then She Did" that comes in for the first time at about 3:01
-Rahzzah Wunderbar

..always sounded like planets coming together to me...

Dreadlock Holiday

I first heard this song by 10cc on the soundtrack of Snatch. Love the half step key change half way through. And this video is way hilarious.
-Tony Trov

Gm F, Cm Dm

G#m F# C#m D#m
I hurried back to the swimming pool,

My Generation

What’s Pete Townshend thinking here? My Generation moves through three key changes from G, up a tone to A, then - and this is the weird bit - up a semitone to Bb, before jumping another tone to finish in C.
-Nick Anastasi

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Giant Steps

(from Wikipedia) "Giant Steps" is a jazz recording by John Coltrane, on tenor saxophone, which is the first track on the album of the same name and is 4 minutes and 49 seconds long. The composition is a milestone for jazz musicians' progress, given the difficulty of improvising its rapid progression of chord changes that progress through three keys shifted by major thirds, creating an augmented triad.
-Nick Anastasi

Still Crazy After All These Years

Up a full step from G to A, but subtly mid-way through the third verse. Progression goes from E > F > G > A instead of going only to G as in the first and second verses.
-Al Bruno

I Wanna Be Sedated

The reason why I love the Ramones is this key change. Starts in E major and goes up a full step after the guitar solo to F#.
-Tony Trov

Solo: E A B E

Then to E for 2 measures then slides into D#. Then up a full step to:

F# B F#
Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go


Mandy by Barry Manilow has the most epic modulations in music. For extra fun, I suggest that when the song is over, people keep modulating until they return to the original key with the melody an octave higher.
-David Timony

My Girl

Classic Smokey Robinson key change. Going up a whole step from the key of C to D on the line "I don't need no money." that comes right out of the instrumental.
-Tony Trov

Hey, Hey, Hey

C F Dm G Em F#m7
Hey, Hey, Hey

I don't need no money, fortune or fame

I've got all the riches, baby, one man can claim