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February 23, 2020 9:00 PM HST - Posted by Jason

Songs That “Borrow a Note” From Another Key



Each song is written in a different key and that’s what makes it a song. Otherwise it's just a bunch of notes that sound horrible together.

Sometimes a band “borrows” a note from another key and plays the song in two keys. It is technically wrong, but it usually sounds ok. No three notes in a row are in the same key, so if you hear three notes in a row you can rest assured that the song is in two keys.

This is a list of songs that use this technique. I blogged about a dozen times with parts of this list, but I compiled it into one list to make it easier to read and add new songs. Enjoy.

Adam Ant - Room at the Top
Adam Lambert - Aftermath, Ready to Run
Aerosmith - Draw the Line, Dream On
AJR - Burn the House Down
Alice in Chains - Check My Brain
Aretha Franklin - Think
Audio Adrenaline - I’m Not the King, Some Kind of Zombie
Audioslave - Original Fire, Set It Off
Babyface - My Kinda Girl
Bear Hands - 2AM
The Beastie Boys - Fight For Your Right to Party, No Sleep Till Brooklyn
The Beatles - A Day in the Life, Birthday, Helter Skelter, Hey Jude, Love Me Do, Something
Beck - Where It’s At
Big Data - Dangerous
Big Tent Revival - Still Breathing
Billy Idol - Shock to the System
Black Sabbath - War Pigs
Blink-182 - First Date, I Miss You
Blur - Song 2
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Exodus, Is This Love
Borns - 10,000 Emerald Pools
The Buzzcocks - Why Can’t I Touch It?
Cage the Elephant - Back Stabbin’ Betty, Come a Little Closer
The Cars - Just What I Needed
The Chainsmokers - Don’t Let Me Down
Coldplay - Adventure of a Lifetime
Collective Soul - December, Heavy
Colony House - You & I
Cream - Sunshine of Your Love
Creedence Clearwater Revival - I Heard it Through the Grapevine
The Cult - The Witch
The Cure - Close to Me, Wrong Number
David Bowie - Fame, Heroes, Rebel Rebel
Dead or Alive - You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
Death Cab For Cutie - Black Sun, I Will Possess Your Heart
Deep Purple - Highway Star
Depeche Mode - Everything Counts, Personal Jesus
Dirty Heads - Sloth’s Revenge
DNCE - Cake By the Ocean
Dolly Parton - 9 to 5
Don Henley - All She Wants to Do is Dance, Boys of Summer
The Doobie Brothers - Listen to the Music
The Doors - L.A. Woman, Love Her Madly, Waiting For the Sun
Duran Duran - Girls On Film
The Eagles - Hotel California, Life in the Fast Lane, Take It Easy
Eazy-E, MC Wren - Nobody Move
Echosmith - Goodbye
Eminem - Forgot About Dre, Lose Yourself
Erasure - Love to Hate You
Eve 6 - Promise
Everclear - Father of MineFall Out Boy - Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid)
Falco - Rock Me Amadeus
Fastball - The Way
Fitz and the Tantrums - Roll Up, The Walker
Foo Fighters - Arlandria, Something From Nothing
Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks, Warrant
Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses
Free - All Right Now
Garbage - Paranoid
Geoff Moore and the Distance - Free
Good Charlotte - The Anthem
Goo Goo Dolls - Miracle Pill
The Grateful Dead - Truckin’
Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown, Basket Case, Brain Stew, Jesus of Suburbia, Last Night On Earth, Oh Yeah!
Greta Van Fleet - Black Smoke Rising
Guardian - Are We Comfortable Yet?, Salvation
Guns N Roses - Estranged, Rocket Queen
Henry Mancini - The Pink Panther Theme
Huey Lewis & the News - Back in Time
Ice Cube - Today Was a Good Day
Imagine Dragons - Thunder Incubus - Into the Summer
INXS - Calling All Nations, Shine Like It Does
Janet Jackson - What Have You Done For Me Lately
Jars of Clay - Disappear, I’m Alright
Jimi Hendrix - Foxes Lady
John Mellencamp - Jack & Diane
Joywave - Tongues
Katy Perry - Dark Horse, This is How We Do
Keith Urban - Never Comin Down
Kid Rock - Born Free Kimie Miner - Trouble
Kings of Leon - Temple
Lady Gaga - Money Honey
Led Zeppelin - Dazed and Confused, In My Time of Dying, Kashmir, Misty Mountain Hop, The Rover
Lee Majors - Unknown Stuntman
Lenny Kravitz - Fly Away, It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over, Let Love Rule
Lifehouse - The First Time
The Longshot - Soul Surrender
Loverboy - Working For the Weekend
Luciano Michelini - Frolic (Curb Your Enthusiasm theme song)
Luna Halo - Medicate, Superman
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
Madonna - Into the Groove, Ray of Light
Marilyn Manson - Dope Show
MC Hammer - U Can’t Touch This
Megadeth - Symphony of Destruction
Metallica - Wherever I May Roam
Midnight Oil - Beds Are Burning
Milli Vanilli - Don’t Forget My Number
Moby - This Wild Darkness
Motley Crue - Same ‘Ol Situation, Shout at the Devil
Mr. Mister - Kyrie
Muse - Supermassive Black Hole
Natural Vibrations - Put a Little Love
Neil Diamond - America
New Order - Blue Monday
Newsboys - Greatness of Our God, Something Beautiful, Wherever We Go
Night Riots - Contagious, Nothing Personal
Nine Inch Nails - Into the Void, The Perfect Drug, You Know What You Are?
Nirvana - Heart-Shaped Box, Stay Away
The Offspring - Hit That, Want You Bad
Oingo Boingo - Not My Slave
Otis Redding - Hard to Handle
Ozzy Osbourne - I Don’t Wanna Stop, I Don’t Want to Change the World, Mama, I’m Coming Home, No More Tears, Under the Graveyard
Panic at the Disco - High Hopes, Nine in the Afternoon, Victorious
Paramore - Still Into You
Parson James - Temple
Pat Benatar - Love is a Battlefield
Pearl Jam - Evenflow
Pink Floyd - Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2), High Hopes, On the Turning Away, What Do You Want From Me?
Queen - Another One Bites the Dust
Queensryche - Another Rainy Night (Without You), Empire
Rage Against the Machine - Bombtrack, Take the Power Back
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dark Necessities, Scar Tissue
R.E.M. - The One I Love, What’s the Frequency Kenneth?
Republica - Ready to Go Rihanna - Rockstar
Robert DeLong - Long Way Down
The Rolling Stones - Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Royal Blood - Figure It Out
RUSH - The Spirit of Radio
St. Motel - Move
Selena Gomez - Rare, Ring
The Shirelles - Boys
Simple Creatures - Thanks, I Hate It
Skillet - Invincible
Smashing Pumpkins - Solara
Smashmouth - All Star
Sneaker Pimps - 6 Underground
Steven Curtis Chapman - Not Home Yet
Steve Miller Band - Abracadabra
Stevie Nicks - Edge of Seventeen
Stone Temple Pilots - Meadow
Street Sweeper Social Club - Promenade
The Struts - Kiss This
Switchfoot - Bomb, Bullet Soul, Company Car, Life and Love and Why, New Way to Be Human
They Might Be Giants - Ana Ng
Third Day - Do You Know Who I Am?
Third Eye Blind - Non-Dairy Creamer
Thompson Twins - King For a Day
The Toadies - Possum Kingdom
TobyMac - Momentum
U2 - The Miracle (of Joey Ramone), Mysterious Ways, You’re the Best Thing About Me
Velvet Revolver - Fall to Pieces, The Last Fight
Violent Femmes - Blister in the Sun
WALK THE MOON - Timebomb
Willie Nelson - The Party’s Over
Wolf Alice - Sadboy

* Improvising Made Easy For Guitar, Bass and Ukulele is available on Amazon.com and it helps musicians play solos in any key. I wrote the book out of necessity to help my music students and they have loved it.