Hey Joe chords by Jimi Hendrix (Billy Roberts)

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Hey Joe | Chords + Lyrics


| N.C Em7 | E5 Em7 E6sus2 | E5 (min p lick) |

Verse 1

||: C G | D A | E7 | E7 :||
Hey Joe, ah where you goin’ with that gun of your hand?
Hey Joe, I said, where you goin’ with that gun in your hand? Oh.
I’m going down to shoot my old lady, you know I caught her messin’ ’round with another man, yeah.
I’m going down to shoot my old lady, you know I caught her messin’ ’round with another man. Huh, and that ain’t too cool.

Verse 2

||: C G | D A | E7 | E7 :||
Hey Joe, I heard you shot your mama down, you shot her down now.
Hey Joe, I heard you shot your lady down, shot her down in the ground, yeah. Yeah.
Yes, I did, I shot her, you know I caught her messin’ round, messin’ round town.
Yes, I did, I shot her, you know I caught my old lady messin’ ’round town, and I gave her the gun, I shot her!

Verse 3

||: C G | D A | E7 | E7 :||
(Hey Joe) Alright, shoot her one more time again, baby.
(Hey Joe) Yeah. Oh, dig it.
| C (E F F#) G (B C C#) | D (F# G G#) A (C# D D#) | E7 | E7 |
(oh, oh) Ah, alright.

Verse 4

||: C G | D A | E7 | E7 :||
Hey, Joe, where you gonna run to now? Where you gonna run to?
Hey Joe, I said, where you gonna run to now? Where you, where you gonna go?
Well, dig, I’m goin’ way down south, way down to Mexico way, alright.
| C (E F F#) G (B C C#) | D (F# G G#) A (C# D D#) | E7 | E7 |
I’m goin’ way down south, way down where I can be free, ain’t no one gonna find me.
| C G | D A | E7 | E7 |
Ain’t no hangman gonna, he ain’t gonna put a rope around me, you better believe right now, I gotta go now.


||: C (E F F#) G (B C C#) | D (F# G G#) A (C# D D#) | E7 | E7 :|| to fade
Hey, Joe, you better run on down. Goodbye, everybody, ow
Hey, hey, Joe.

Hey Joe Chords: Learn the progressions!

Hey Joe Analysis + TAB

Hey Joe‘s chord progression is not diatonic, this is why it has tension.

I feel the best way to look at it is as if it’s in the key of Em, although there is no Em, it’s an E7, a bit like a blues.

Using this approach we have C as chord IV, G as I. We then temporarily modulate up a tone and play as if in the key of F#m using the same chords, IV – I, or DA, like this:

| C (IV) G (I) | (key of Em)
| D (IV) A (I) | (key of F#m)
| E7 | E7 | (key of Em!)

This is very clever and reminiscent of Al Green‘s classic Take Me To The River‘s bridge section.

Another interesting connection is Smells Like Teen Spirit which uses a similar approach although in a different key and order (EAGC).

Comparing versions and similarities to other songs like this is the best way to develop your ear, songwriting skills, and guitar playing.

Members compare how Billy and Jimi played the intro, this is how Billy did it on the acoustic.

Hey Joe chords and TAB intro, BIlly Roberts.

Here’s a link to the complete lesson (members only): Hey Joe – Guitar lesson with TAB.

Become a member today and get unlimited access to all step-by-step guitar coursesTAB for the songbook, the Self-Eliminating Practice Routine, and the eBook Spytunes Method.

Hey Joe was a standard until Jimi made it his own!

Jimi Hendrix really did make Hey Joe his own, so much so that when Chas Chandler heard it live he decided to manage Jimi. He flew him to the U.K. to record it and the rest is, as they say, music history.

Before Jimi made Hey Joe his, it was just a common standard that everybody played, written by a man named Billy Roberts.

After Jimi, everybody would see it as if they played a Hendrix cover.

Members get TAB for how Jimi and Billy played the intro, Billy’s version works better on the acoustic, and Jimi’s version is best on the electric (check them both in the playlist above).

Hey Joe Chords | Related Pages

Intermediate Acoustic

Intermediate Acoustic Songs

Most intermediate acoustic tunes can’t be played using just basic open-position chords. We have to move up the fretboard and play CAGED barre chords as well.

We incorporate bass lines, add licks, extend chords, and play vocal melodies. Most importantly, we’ll invent second guitar parts and play these songs together.

Five similar tunes with chords and lyrics

When you can play Hey Joe's chords, try these five tunes from the songbook.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix tunes

The world’s most famous guitarist, Jimi Hendrix had a short career spanning only 4 years and as many albums before he joined the 27 Club following misadventure.

His best tunes include Hey Joe, All Along The Watchtower, Little Wing, Foxy Lady, Purple Haze, Crosstown Traffic, The Wind Cries Mary, and Voodoo Chile.

Jimi Hendrix on the web

Listen to Jimi Hendrix on Spotify.

Pop & Rock

Pop & Rock tunes

Whenever a tune doesn’t fit into a specific genre, it tends to end up here, in the Pop & Rock section.

Learn tunes from Tom Petty, Eagles, Toto, Oasis, Elvis, Clapton, John Mayer, Kings Of Leon, R.E.M., Radiohead, Bruno Mars, and more.

About me

About Me Dan Lundholm T

This article was written by Dan Lundholm, Spytunes guitar guru. Discover more about him and how learning guitar with Spytunes has evolved.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.


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