The three chords illustration was often credited to “Sniffing Glue” fanzine, founded by Mark Perry of Alternative Television, but it was actually from issue No. 1 of “Sideburns”, founded by Tony Moon, and published in January 1977.
This simple hand-drawn diagram somehow seemed to sum up the evolving Punk ethos and the hunger for change in a few slashes of felt pen, particularly where music was concerned. These 3 chords really are all that is necessary to write a song, and many bands, including the Ramones have proved that over and over. It fitted perfectly with Punk’s DIY manifesto, there were no more excuses, “Now Form a Band” it suggested, and, armed with these 3 chords, loads of people, including ourselves, did exactly that.
Music doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated, sometimes it just has to be easy to get to grips with.
Apart from the Ramones, many other bands have written brilliant songs and had massive hits with just 3 chords, Common People by Pulp, No Fun by The Stooges and Get It On by T Rex.
More recommendations by Kyle MacNeill for the NME
And here’s another more recent list from beginnerguitarhq.com featuring the 3 chords you’ll need to play The Tide Is High, Get It On and Common People, as well as a whole host of other useful info.
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