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Song Parodies -> "Four-Chord Run"

Original Song Title:

"Walk, Don't Run"

Original Performer:


Parody Song Title:

"Four-Chord Run"

Parody Written by:

John A. Barry

The Lyrics

This iconic surf-rock instrumental in A minor was released by the Ventures in late 1960 (later covered by the John Barry Seven). After a brief drum solo, it employs an Andalusian progression, or cadence: A minor, G major, F major, E major, or i-VII-VI-V. When it arrives at the V chord, which would be E minor in the A natural minor scale (or Aeolian mode), the G is sharped, making the E chord major and effectively changing the natural minor to harmonic minor (sharp 7th). Augmenting the G turns E Phrygian (E-E) into E Phrygian Dominant (the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale), both of which are employed in Flamenco music, as is the Andalusian progression. Phrygian Dominant is also called the Spanish (and Jewish) scale (think “Hava Nagila”). . .heavily used in Klezmer music. The line about the Mixolydian run refers to the G-G Mixolydian mode that starts the bridge in the first half of the tune (you can hear a Mixolydian run in the recurring ascending scale in George Benson’s “Breezin’”). Anyway, I tried to adapt lyrics to fit the instrumental.
[drum solo, followed by i-VII-VI-V progression]

Its called,
It’s called the Andalusian progression,
It could be thought of as a regression,
’cause the four chords
Start at the root then
At the fifth arrive:

One, seven, then six, five.

It’s called the Andalusian progression,
Because it makes a flamenco impression
With its four chords
That evoke dancing on floor boards.

Throw in a Mixolydian run
And then a little tremolo just for fun.

Lots of this song’s stepwise
Progression applies anew:

Ray Charles used it to start “Hit the Road, Jack”;
You’ll find it on Del Shannon’s “Runaway” track
(To say nothing of some stuff by J.S. Bach),
’cause the four chords
Start at the root then
At the fifth arrive.

[drum solo, followed by i-VII-VI-V progression and repeat]

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Voting Results

Pacing: 5.0
How Funny: 5.0
Overall Rating: 5.0

Total Votes: 4

Voting Breakdown

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    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   0
 2   0
 3   0
 4   0
 5   4

User Comments

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Old Man Ribber - July 28, 2011 - Report this comment
JAB - WOW! You've revealed a masterful knowledge of music here. Were I teaching college-level music theory, I would shamelessly use this (but not steal it). Maybe that's a reason why, in an age when the overwhelming amount of music used the blues pattern or I-vi-ii-V, the songs mentioned in your intro stood out. Spanish-Near Eastern sounds also are dominant in the "surfer" guitar music of Dick Dell. Well done! ;D
John Barry - July 28, 2011 - Report this comment
Thanks, OMR. I once took a theory-intro course. Why, I have not idea, since I can't play anything.
AFW - July 29, 2011 - Report this comment
OMR: I hate it when people nit-pick and correct comments and parodies...but Sniffy told me this was Dick Dale, not Dell, who was famous for great surf guitar work.. :)
AFW - July 29, 2011 - Report this comment
Ohh, and a fine parody, John

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