The beat goes on

Just sitting around with a guitar thinking about how far performers can get if they just know three chords.

I was listening on my iPod to a 1966 French pop song called “Et moi, et moi, et moi.” Very simple premise: The singer Jacques Dutronc, mentions a lot of people in the first line, followed by “and me and me and me.” Then he talks about the strange things they’re doing. Then he says: “I think about it and then forget. That’s life. That’s life.” Starts with 700 million Chinese and ends with 500 billion Martians. Indonesians, Blacks, Soviets, South Americans, Vietnamese and others are thrown in the mix.

A catchy, American Bandstand sort of tune, if it had been in English, but a lot of ’60s music was like this.

I don’t know if John Mellencamp ever heard the song, but the beat and chord structure of “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.,” his 1985 “salute to ’60s rock” isn’t that much different.

This is a really cool video: a well-captured flashback to the kids in suits we saw on our 24-inch black-and-white sets in the old days. But when I first heard Mellencamp’s song, my first thought wasn’t  the ’60s, but of 1980, when The Romantics hit it big with “What I Like About You” before they hit their “band with big hair” phase.

Not much difference in the three songs, just a progression on the basic chord structure. It’s just stuff that’s fun to play when you’re starting out on guitar. And when you figure the chords out, you can do this classic:

Which came out after “Et moi, et moi, et moi.”


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