Build Me Up Buttercup chords



You can learn to play Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations!

Build Me Up Buttercup was the second successful single from the multi-ethnic British Band The Foundations.

A year earlier they had a #1 hit with Baby, Now That I’ve Found You, which was their debut single. After changing lead vocalist they release Build Me Up Buttercup, which went almost as high, peaking at #2.

Both singles being released in the late 60s, The Foundations became the U.K’s answer to what kept coming from across the pond, the sound of Motown and Stax.

Unfortunately, the band didn’t manage to follow up the success of Build Me Up Buttercup and a few years later they disbanded due to internal conflict. 

Having too many band members leaving, as well as falling out with their producer had taken its toll. A few attempts to reunite under names like The New Foundations and Colin Young & The New Foundations did happen but with no new material that gained any popularity.

Let’s take a look at the chords and lyrics of what has become the band’s signature song to see how they put this hit together.


Build Me Up Buttercup chords and lyrics.


| C | E7 | F | G |
| C | E7 | F | G | G |
Why do you

| C | E7 |
build me up (build me up). Buttercup, baby, just to 
| F | G |
let me down (let me down). And mess me around, and then 
| C | E7 |
worst of all (worst of all). You never call baby, when you 
| F | G |
say you will (say you will). But I love you still, I need 
| C | C7 |
you (I need you). More than anyone, darling, 
| F | Fm |
you know that I have from the start.
| C | G | F Em Dm C | G |
So build me up (build me up), Buttercup, don’t break my heart.

| C G | Bb F | C |
“I’ll be over at ten”, you told me time and again but you’re late. 
| F |
I wait around and then (ba-dah-dah).
| C G | Bb F | C |
I went to the door, I can’t take any more it’s not you. 
| F C/E |
You let me down again (Hey, hey, hey).

| Dm | G Fm |
Baby, baby, I try to find (hey, hey, hey).
| Em | A G |
A little time and I’ll make you happy (hey, hey, hey).
| F | D7 | G |
I’ll be home, I’ll be beside the phone waiting for
| G | G | G |
you ooh ooh, you ooh ooh. Why do you 

| C | E7 |
build me up (build me up). Buttercup, baby, just to 
| F | G |
let me down (let me down). And mess me around, and then 
| C | E7 |
worst of all (worst of all). You never call baby, when you 
| F | G |
say you will (say you will). But I love you still, I need 
| C | C7 |
you (I need you). More than anyone, darling, 
| F | Fm |
you know that I have from the start.
| C | G | F Em Dm C | G |
So build me up (build me up), Buttercup, don’t break my heart.

| C G | Bb F | C |
To you I’m a toy, but I could be the boy you adore.
| F |
If you’d just let me know (Ba-dah-dah).
| C G | Bb F | C |
Although you’re untrue, I’m attracted to you all the more.
| F C/E |
Why do you treat me so? (Hey, hey, hey).

| Dm | G Fm |
Baby, baby, I try to find (Hey, hey, hey).
| Em | A G |
A little time and I’ll make you happy (Hey, hey, hey).
| F | D7 | G |
I’ll be home, I’ll be beside the phone waiting for.
| G | G | G |
You ooh ooh, you ooh ooh. Why do you 

| C | E7 |
build me up (build me up). Buttercup, baby, just to 
| F | G |
let me down (let me down). And mess me around, and then 
| C | E7 |
worst of all (worst of all). You never call baby, when you 
| F | G |
say you will (say you will). But I love you still, I need 
| C | C7 |
you (I need you). More than anyone, darling, 
| F | Fm |
you know that I have from the start.
| C | G | Am | A7 |
So build me up (build me up), Buttercup, don’t break my heart.
| D | D/F# | G | Gm |
I need you (I need you). More than anyone, darling, you know that I have from the start.
| D | A | D |
So build me up (build me up), Buttercup, don’t break my heart.


Build Me Up Buttercup chord progression

The intro and chorus do, just like the title, build up as it ascends CE7FG.

The chord progression enthusiast can instantly tell this must be in the key of C, have a mediant major, or IIIx as I like to say, as well as a IV – V movement.

This is followed by another classic movement in the IV – IVm (that’s an F chord and an Fm chord) before we go CG and then quickly descend FEmDmC.

To recap that’s Build up, happy becomes sad, descend. Perfectly describing the lyrics: “Build me up, mess me around, don’t break my heart”!

The verse goes outside the key as it makes use of the bVIIx. CGBbFCF. You could also see this as a movement of “up to the V chord”, first in C, then in F.

The pre-chorus or bridge that follow starts with a II chord. DmGFm, EmAG. The Fm being chord IVm again. The A is a VIx chord.

The final build of the bridge before we go to a chorus is FD7G. The D7 being chord IIx, this is often described as a “secondary dominant” or the “dominant’s dominant”. Basically, it pulls more towards G, chord V.

Finally, we go completely nuts during the outro, and this s most likely why few bands have this song on their setlist as it almost always ends in a car crash.

The Foundations were clearly too clever for their own good as they finish the song with this mental progression instead of quickly descending.

| C | G | Am | A7 |
| D | D/F# | G | Gm |
| D | A | D |

What they’ve done is changed the key from C to D. This may work great on record and be really clever, but I’ve lost count of how many bands have fallen off the tracks during this outro!


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