Oldies songs in a minor key:

I bought a mamas and the papas greatest hits album at Walmart for five bucks. Turns out I only like “California Dreaming” and “Monday Monday.”

California dreaming got me thinking of a mix CD of my favorites from the AM station that’s since switched formats to talk radio. :mad:

I also like “Reach out” by the Four Tops, and “Mr. Monday” by The Original Caste. (sorry for no YouTube links; PC is off and I suck at Tapatalk). Something about songs of this era in a minor key that sounds really fresh to my twenty something ears! I studied classical music, and I find these surprisingly upbeat compared to the normal, dreary treatment minor key melodies got in western European classical music.

TL;DR version: know any other old pop/rock/motown/soul songs, which are primarily in a minor key? I smell a new play list! :slight_smile:

This Wheel’s On Fire - The Band
Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks
Losing My Religion - REM
Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits
Wayfaring Stranger - Traditional, but thinking of the Emmylou Harris version
lots of Neil Young

Sunny by x and arranged by y prformed by z.
drifting’ Blues by Charles Brown

Surprisingly hard to come up with titles out if nothing.

I play the flute. In most cases, I have little difficulty in piecing together the flute parts for pop songs, and writing them down. But “California Dreaming” always eluded me, and I wanted to figure it out.

Until I realized that the flautist was playing an alto flute. (All of mine are concert flutes, keyed in C.) So, I won’t be playing “California Dreaming” anytime soon with my instruments.

How about Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” which is in A minor? I can play that one on my concert flutes. Oh, can I play that one! :slight_smile:

There must be loads of examples. Just off the top of my head

Billie Jean
Karma Police
Staying Alive
Another Brick in the Wall (very similar to Staying Alive, actually)

“Girl” by The Beatles, if I remember correctly.

And Eleanor Rigby.

Despite the above tune being quoted so much in the late 1960s by jazz-funk crossover Hammond organists like Jimmy smith, mcgriff, Lonnie smith, something about the tune doesn’t pass the sniff test. Good catch, though, it’s a classic moldering oldie in the minor mood.

“One Cylinder” performed by Lou Donaldson with Lonnie Smith on organ.

I’m Only Sleeping

Dust in the Wind

*Paint It, Black
Mother’s Little Helper *(I think)

Eminence Front

Bus Stop
Offshoot idea - what’s the *happiest *song in a minor key?
Anyone have a better nominee than Bus Stop?

Beatles - Because
Left Banke - Walk Away Renee
Zombies - She’s Not There
Carly Simon - That’s the Way I Always Heard It Should Be
Bill Withers - Ain’t No Sunshine
Lots of Moody Blues, Elton John and CSN

Eleanor Rigby, you mean? It does waver between natural minor (Aeolian) and Dorian (same, but with a major sixth instead of minor). You first hear that Dorian note in “picks up the rice in the church…”

Sorry, I was making a kind of a joke. I never thought about it, but come to think of it, when the tune’s quoted it’s over the I of a tune, from what I remember, so there’s the plain six right there.

Ok, Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come” from 1963.

Walk Away, Renee is in a major key.

Yeah, I’d call it E dorian myself, which is a mode in a minor key (as would be phrygian and aeolian. I guess locrian would fit in there, too, but that’s an odd one, with a diminished fifth, as well.)

The Beatles also have a number of songs that go back and forth between minor and major, like one of my favorite tunes, “Things We Said Today,” which is mostly minor, until the bridge, and also that little transition in that verse that goes “some day when I’m lonely.” (Which I think is a brilliant harmonic transition. Always gives me a little chill.) Otherwise, it’s all a big Am-Em vamp.

“Sunny” by Bobby Hebb
“Solitary Man” by Neil Diamond
“Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who (verses in minor, bridge in major)
“A Horse With No Name” by America
“Things We Said Today” by The Beatles
“Those Were The Days” by Mary Hopkin

You want it transposed, I am sort of a musician. Just ask! :slight_smile:

So long as you can do the “Canned Heat” flute solos, you’re good to go! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the picks so far, gang!!

“Paint It, Black” by The Rolling Stones
“She’s Not There” by The Zombies
“Time of the Season” by The Zombies
“Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak

Heroes and Villains, Beach Boys

I believe these are in minor keys:

“Riders on the Storm” (Doors)
“House of the Rising Sun” (Animals)
“Washington Square” (Village Stompers)
“The Lonely Bull” (Herb Alpert)
“White Rabbit”, “Somebody to Love” (Jefferson Airplane)
“I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)” (Electric Prunes)
“Fever” by Miss Peggy Lee or the McCoys
“Liar Liar” by the Castaways

If we want a sub-category of songs that shift from minor key on the verses to major on the bridge, I think the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City” qualifies. And maybe Cream’s “White Room”? And the Yardbirds’ “For Your Love”?

The aforementioned “Sunny” would give “Bus Stop” a run for its money in that category.