Popular Music

Chords and Lyrics to Modern Hits

The arrangements have chord shapes, strum patterns, and lyrics.

For a chord chart with the most common chords, click here.

For a tutorial on reading strum patterns click here for a PDF lesson, and  click here for a video tutorial on reading/writing more complex strum patterns.

Shallow PDF (updated) - Score.pdf


This instant classic performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper was featured in the 2018 film "A Star is Born".   

Chords Used:  Em, D, G, C, Am

The watch the whole notes (diamonds) and half notes (diamonds with a stem) carefully, as the rhythm on the chord switches can be a little unexpected.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams PDF updated - Score.pdf

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

This song by Green Day, released in 2004,  was #2 on the US Hot 100 list.  As of 2010, it had sold more than two million copies, making it Green Day's most successful song in the United States. 

Chords Used:  Em, G, D, A, C, B7

Watch the strum pattern carefully.  Notice that each 4th measure has a slightly different strum pattern than the previous 3.

Fools Rush In, Modern Pop - Score.pdf

Fools Rush In

This classic song by Elvis Presley is one of the most popular songs of all time.  It's also been covered by a number of bands including The Killers and 21 Pilots.  

Chords Used: C, Em, Am, F, G, B7, A7, Dm

The strum pattern is written in 3/4 time, even though the original is in 6/8 time.  The strum pattern in this arrangement more closely resembles the 21 Pilots version of the song.

Riptide Modern Rock and Pop - Score.pdf


This insanely catchy tune by Joy Vance took the world by storm in 2013.  It became a popular song for guitar players to learn as it only uses 3 chords and a catchy, but not too difficult, strum pattern.  This song also uses a CAPO on the fifth fret.

Chords Used: Em, D, G

The verse strum pattern is easier on the verse than the chorus.  If the chorus proves too difficult, you can play the same pattern that is used on the verse and you'll still sound great.

Edelweiss Chords and Music - Score.pdf


This song was featured in the hit 1959 musical "The Sound of Music".   The simple and beautiful melody became so popular that people started mistaking it as the Austrian national anthem.  

There is one instance of a C minor chord, which can be challenging.   However, it can be changed to a C major chord if that proves too difficult.  

Time of your Life Rock and Pop - Score.pdf

Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)

This song by Green Day has probably been played at more weddings and slow dances than any alternative rock song that has come out in the past 25 years.  With an iconic guitar part and melody, this song is one of the most popular guitar songs ever.

Chords Used: G, Cadd9, Dsus4, Em7

The actual song uses a cross between strumming and plucking individual strings.  This arrangement is simply strumming a very popular strum pattern called the Calypso Strum Pattern.   

I'll follow you into the dark 2 - Score.pdf

I'll follow You into the Dark

This song by Death Cab for Cutie came out in 2005.  With some of the most poignant lyrics ever written, this song been bringing on free flowing tears for almost 20 years now.  Death song, on their album "plans" is recorded only with a guitar and vocals.  This song also uses a CAPO on the 5th fret.

 Chords Used: Am, C, F, C, C/B, G, E, F, Fm

The song actually has a quite complex picking/strumming pattern.  This arrangement mostly just uses a calypso strum, with only a few deviations from that pattern.

Chasing Cars - Score.pdf

Chasing Cars

This song, released in 2006, is Snow Patrol's biggest hitThe verses are incredibly easy to play.  The song uses the same chord progression for the entire song.  In this arrangement, the verses are played with the single notes (tabs) and the choruses are played with chords, but feel free to change it up as you see fit.

 Chords Used: A, Esus4, E, Dadd9, Asus4

The rhythm on this song is just steady 8th notes.

White Christmas Advanced.pdf

White Christmas

This is a simplified version of the famous classic by Irving Berlin.  This song was featured on the 1954 movie "White Christmas".  The rhythm is written with simple half notes and whole notes, but students should feel free to experiment with other patterns.

Chords Used: G, Amy, D, Am, C/G, Cm (optional), D7

This arrangement is complete with the chord charts, lyrics, and melody.

Free Falling PDF - Score.pdf

Free Falling

Tom Petty released this song is 1989.  The actual simple sounding guitar part on the recording is actually three guitars - one acoustic playing add9 chords, one twelve-string guitar, and one acoustic playing with a capo on the third fret.    

This arrangement is based on the guitar that's playing with a capo on the third fret.  There is a simple strum pattern and a more complex one on the chorus.  If it's too tough, just keep playing the simple strum pattern during the chorus as well.  

Patience Full Tab - Score.pdf


Patience  was released by Guns N' Roses in 1988.  This ballad is originally recorded with 3 acoustic guitars, but also sounds great with just one.   Patience eventually reached #4 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.  It has been a staple of all their tours and concerts since the song was released.    

This arrangement uses a calypso strum with a little variation at the end of certain phrases.