I Wish chords



You can learn how to play I Wish by Stevie Wonder!

I Wish is a single from the massively successful album Songs In The Key Of Life by the legendary Stevie Wonder.

I decided to record the song a semitone up from the original. This way open strings can be used for this one acoustic guitar arrangement.

The progression of the verse is a II – V, #4 on my top 10 chord progression list. This movement paints the harmonic landscape of Dorian.

The bridge is slightly more complicated as the key has changed and the chords are many. For the chorus, we are back to II – V.

Let’s take a look at the chords and lyrics, first in the key of Ebm/Eb as if you play I Wish with a band, it will most definitely remain in the original key.


I Wish chords and lyrics (Orginal key)


||: Ebm7 Ab :|| x8

||: Emb7 Ab | Ebm7 Ab :||
Looking back on when I was a little nappy-headed boy.
Then my only worry was for Christmas what would be my toy.

| Bb7 C7 | Fm7 Abm6 |
Even though we sometimes would not get a thing,
| Bb7 C7 | Fm7 Bb7 |
we were happy with the joy the day would bring.

||: Emb7 Ab | Ebm7 Ab :||
Sneaking out the back door to hang out with those hoodlum friends of mine.
Greeted at the back door with boy thought I told you not to go outside.

| Bb7 C7 | Fm7 Abm6 |
Trying your best to bring the water to your eyes,
| Bb7 C7 | Fm7 Bb7 |
thinking it might stop her from woopin’ your behind.

||: Emb7 Ab | Ebm7 Ab :||
I wish those days could come back once more, why did those days ever have to go.
I wish those days could come back once more, why did those days ever have to go, ’cause I love them so.

||: Ebm7 Ab :|| x4
Do do do…

||: Emb7 Ab | Ebm7 Ab :||
Brother says he’s telling ’bout you playing doctor with that girl.
Just don’t tell I’ll give you anything you want in this whole wide world.

| Bb7 C7 | Fm7 Abm6 |
Mama gives you money for Sunday school,
| Bb7 C7 | Fm7 Bb7 |
you trade yours for candy after church is through.

||: Emb7 Ab | Ebm7 Ab :||
Smoking cigarettes and writing something nasty on the wall (you nasty boy).
Teacher sends you to the principal’s office down the hall.

| Bb7 C7 | Fm7 Abm6 |
You grow up and learn that kinda thing ain’t right,
| Bb7 C7 | Fm7 Bb7 |
but while you were doing it, it sure felt outta sight.

||: Emb7 Ab | Ebm7 Ab :||
I wish those days could come back once more, why did those days ever have to go.
I wish those days could come back once more, why did those days ever have to go.

||: Emb7 Ab :|| x4
||: Emb7 Ab :|| x32 (horn line)


I Wish chord progression

The verse continues moving like the intro, it’s just a II – V on a loop.

The bridge is the adventurous part. I would describe this progression as being in the key of Eb (not Eb Dorian as the verse), with two variations; VIx and IVm.

This would make the Bb7 chord V7, The C7 chord VIx7, the Fm7 would be chord IIm7 and the Abm6 would be a IVm chord. The final chord, the Bb7, could also be extended to a B7#9.

The chorus has the same chords as the intro and verse.

If you play this song with a band, it would definitely be in the original key, but then you’d have bass and keyboards so playing in Ebm won’t be as hard as it is when playing I Wish on just one acoustic guitar.


Arranging I Wish for one acoustic guitar

The two most important parts to fit into a one acoustic guitar arrangement for I Wish are:

  1. The bass line
  2. The syncopated chords

The bass line simply has to be played exactly like the record, it’s perfect as it is and should not be messed with.

In between the bass line, you can move between different shapes of an Em7 and A chord.

I mainly use the Am shape for the Em7 chord, then move either down to an E-shaped A, or up to a C-shaped A chord.

Let’s take a look at the entire arrangement again, now in the key of Em and E as this is what I play on one acoustic guitar


I Wish chords and lyrics (Em and E)


||: Em7 A :|| x8

||: Em7 A | Em7 A :||
Looking back on when I was a little nappy-headed boy.
Then my only worry was for Christmas what would be my toy.

| B7 C#7 | F#m7 Am6 |
Even though we sometimes would not get a thing,
| B7 C#7 | F#m7 B7 |
we were happy with the joy the day would bring.

||: Em7 A | Em7 A :||
Sneaking out the back door to hang out with those hoodlum friends of mine.
Greeted at the back door with boy thought I told you not to go outside.

| B7 C#7 | F#m7 Am6 |
Trying your best to bring the water to your eyes,
| B7 C#7 | F#m7 B7 |
thinking it might stop her from woopin’ your behind.

||: Em7 A | Em7 A :||
I wish those days could come back once more, why did those days ever have to go.
I wish those days could come back once more, why did those days ever have to go, ’cause I love them so.

||: Em7 A :|| x4
Do do do…

||: Em7 A | Em7 A :||
Brother says he’s telling ’bout you playing doctor with that girl.
Just don’t tell I’ll give you anything you want in this whole wide world.

| B7 C#7 | F#m7 Am6 |
Mama gives you money for Sunday school,
| B7 C#7 | F#m7 B7 |
you trade yours for candy after church is through.

||: Em7 A | Em7 A :||
Smoking cigarettes and writing something nasty on the wall (you nasty boy).
Teacher sends you to the principal’s office down the hall.

| B7 C#7 | F#m7 Am6 |
You grow up and learn that kinda thing ain’t right,
| B7 C#7 | F#m7 B7 |
but while you were doing it, it sure felt outta sight.

||: Em7 A | Em7 A :||
I wish those days could come back once more, why did those days ever have to go.
I wish those days could come back once more, why did those days ever have to go.

||: Em7 A :|| x4
||: Em7 A :|| x32 (horn line)


I Wish – Guitar Lessons

I Wish by Stevie Wonder will soon be available as eight step-by-step guitar lessons.

Until then, there’s complete TAB for what I play in the video available.

Go to I Wish – Guitar Lessons.


I Wish – Lyrics + Live performance

Looking back on when I was a little nappy-headed boy,
then my only worry was for Christmas what would be my toy.
Even though we sometimes would not get a thing,
we were happy with the joy the day would bring.

Go to I Wish lyrics.


Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is the legend whom most practicing musicians come across, that has a life-changing impact on them.

Stevie’s natural groove and ability to so purely express music are untouched. His vocal phrasing and songwriting are second to none.

Go to Stevie Wonder – Biography.


Advanced Acoustic Songs

These songs use big chord extensions and sometimes, unique and complex chords that incorporate open strings.

Study these in-depth and you will gain a complete understanding of the fretboard, including how to build any scale, arpeggio, and chord, anywhere on the guitar.

Go to Advanced Acoustic Songs.


The Professional Guitarist Song Book

As a guitarist, a repertoire is the greatest asset that you can acquire.

Learn these songs and you can progress from being a bedroom player to working with acoustic duos, Jazz trios, Indie/Rock/Party bands as well as large Soul/Motown ensembles.

Go to Song Book.


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