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Connect The Chords: Can’t Get It Out Of My Head

Posted on: October 5th, 2011 by dville
Growing up I was a major fan of the Electric Light Orchestra, a British pop-rock band that used classical musical elements.  My favorite recording is the Jeff Lynne concept album El Dorado released in 1974.  Of course, until a couple of years ago, I could not have explained in musical terms what my ears found so appealing about the record, especially the one hit from the album, Can’t Get It Out Of My Head.  I remember listening to the song with uneducated ears and it sounded pretty complex, what with all those cello and violin strings vibrating.  Your job is to just listen to the song one time through with open ears and then we’ll play a little game of Connect The Chords!



I’ll give you the chords to each section of the song and the lyrics.  Your job is to listen to the song again (and again, and again) until you can hear all the changes in the right spots.  I’ve also included the number of each chord which may help you hear how the chords are rising or falling in the scale during the song.  An added bit of good news for us as ukulele players, the song is in the Key of C.

                                                                                          
   I-CMajor  ii-Dminor  iii-Eminor  IV-FMajor  V-GMajor  vi-Aminor  vii-Bdim

Can’t Get It Out Of My Head
Composed by:  Jeff Lynne ELO
Intro:
C-G-F-G (I-V-IV-V)
C-G-F-G (I-V-IV-V)

Verse 1:
C-Am-C-Am  F-Dm-F-Am-G (I-vi-I-vi  IV-ii-IV-vi-V)
Midnight, on the water, I saw the ocean’s daughter
Walking on a wave’s chicane, staring as she called my name

Chorus:
C-G-F-G 4x (I-V-IV-V)
And I can’t get it out of my head
No, I can’t get it out of my head
Now my old world is gone for dead
‘Cos I can’t get it out of my head, no, no

Verse 2:
(chords same as Verse 1)
Breakdown, on the shoreline, can’t move, it’s an ebb tide
Morning don’t get here tonight, searching for her silver light
Repeat Chorus:
Instrumental Break:
(I-IM7-I7   IV7-V) 3X
(I-IM7-I7   IV7-V-bVI-bVII-I)
Verse 3:

(chords same as Verse 1)
Bank job, in the city
Robin Hood and William Tell and Ivanhoe and Lancelot
They don’t envy me
Sitting ’till the sun goes down,
In dream the world keeps goin’ round and round

Repeat Chorus: 2x
Outro: (I love this part!)
C-CM7-C7  F7-G-Ab-Bb-C (I-IM7-I7  IV7-V-bVI-bVII-I)


This is the way I memorize songs, by numbering the chord sequence, then putting the sequence in my head musically.  I’d be interested in hearing from you if this method of breaking down a song makes it so you can’t get this chord progression out of your head.

The lyrics to this song are posted for educational purposes only.

One Response

  1. christopher says:

    Jim: Thanks for yet another pop masterpiece. I would humbly submit that the lyric should be "walking on the waves she came" rather than "wave's chicane." I have also always thought it said "now my whole world is gone for dead" rather than "old world," but "old" makes more poetic sense. There is a fantastic ELO cover album by P. Hux (Parthenon Huxley is his full name, I think) called "Homemade Spaceship" and he does wonderful treatments of the songs in a stripped-down style without the string arrangements. I recommend it highly!Does it sound like ELO dropped two whole measures in the third verse on the "Bank job in the city" line? They probably chose to do that to not let so few words take up so much space on the recording. They make up for it by cramming in RobinHoodandWilliamTellandIvanhoeandLancelot in the next line.ChristopherManila

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