Songs (non - I IV V) That Every Gigging Musician Should Be Able to Play

Otis Redding - Dock Of The Bay

Sorry, needed to vent…how do you guys not know this tune?

(Various) - Stormy Monday
Bob Dylan - Knocking On Heaven’s Door

Any others?



Oh. Gigging.
Did anyone else click the thread after reading it as Giggling?

I still think that would have been a more interesting thread topic.

what is “non - I IV V?”

Same here.

I IV V refers to the basic elements of creating chord structures. “Wild Thing” is the closest example I can think of now (I just woke up). Its chords are E A B A. I think he meant not mentioning songs simply because they are very easy to play.

As a matter of survival, bands should know “Born To Be Wild”. “Brown Sugar” will get folks on their feet and it has cowbell. And there’s a good chance “Birthday” by the Beatles will come in handy.

Moondance (Van Morrison) . . . I run into that one at rock gigs, jazz gigs, and everything in between.


Maybe Kashmir. Smoke on the Water, but that may fall under the I IV V exception.

A full-time Classical player might not have even heard of these, depending on what country he grew up in, and a pro Flamenco player …

Establishing that weekend rockers and wedding-band players define “gigging musician” is a limiting premise. Last December I did a gig with a good Jazz pianist who screwed up the bridge to “Dock of the Bay”. He was not happy when I corrected him. He knows literally thousands of standards, but just not that one, probably never played it before, or since. Among Jazz players, if you can’t rattle off Giant Steps or Laura, you need to go home and practice. Each genre has it’s top tunes.

Y’ought to re-define “gigging musician”, and narrow down the field before suggesting that every pro out there is working in a sports bar playing Classic Rock or lounge music.

The Peter Gunn Theme

Good point…feel free to mention the genre, as I should have.

Didn’t know Laura was a standard…time to practice ;).

Smoke On The Water is not a I IV V…don’t think I’ve heard a bar band play Kashmir, especially by request - wish more would.

Just thought of a few more (R&B/Classic Rock):

House Of The Rising Sun - The Animals
Simple Man - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Wonderful Tonight - Clapton

Some good ones mentioned so far…thanks.

Kashmir is problematic for a few reasons. One, nobody is going to get up on the floor and dance to it. Two, it’s not exactly super simple to play with the DADGAD tuning, and three, it’s pretty repetitious and long for a club gig.

Basically, you’d want to be familiar with 8,12, and 16 bar blues patterns. That’ll cover a LOT of stuff. And for ballads, the 50s chord progression (I vi IV V). Songs that use “stop time”, like “Further On Up The Road”, “Seventh Son”, and “Hoochie Koochie Man” can liven up a set.

“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” (?)
(I’ll just wait over here :o)

Fields of Gold

Am ASus2 F C F G etc. great song for strumming. I use a capo at the 2nd fret when I sing it.

Mustang Sally
Twist and Shout
The Locomotion
The Hokey Pokey
Louie, Louie
Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love)

ASus2? Don’t recall this one off the top of my head. I’m not saying you’re wrong. Is it similar to an A add 9? Is the Sus2 a major or minor 2nd?

A sus chord has neither third. A sus2 would be made of the notes A, B, and E. An add2 or add9 would have the same notes, plus the C#. To fret an Asus2, it’s 002200.

ETA: whoops. I see you’re asking about the second. It’s major.

All I-IV-V.