If I Ain’t Got You chords by Alicia Keys


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If I Ain’t Got You | Chords + Lyrics


Intro

|6/8 Cmaj7 | Bm7 | Am7 | G (G Am7 G/B) |
| Cmaj7 | Bm7 | Am7 | G C/G |

Verse 1

| G | Em7 | Am7 | D7sus2 C/G |
Some people live for the fortune, some people live just for the fame.
| G | G#dim7 | Am7 | D7 |
Some people live for the power, yeah. Some people live just to play the game.

Bridge 1

| Gmaj7 Am7 | Bm7 Am7 | Gmaj7 Am7 | Bm7 Cmaj7 Bm7 Am7 |
Some people think that the physical things, define what’s within.
| Gmaj7 Am7 | Bm7 Am7 | Gmaj7 Am7 | Bm7 |
And I’ve been there before, that life’s a bore, so full of the superficial.

Chorus 1

| Cmaj7 | Bm7 |
Some people want it all, but I don’t want nothing at all, if it ain’t
| Am7 | Gmaj7 |
you, baby. If I ain’t got you, baby. Some people want
| Cmaj7 | Bm7 |
diamond rings, some just want everything but everything means
| Am7 | Gmaj7 C/G |
nothing. If I ain’t got you, yeah.

Verse 2

| G | Em7 | Am7 | D7sus2 |
Some people search for a fountain, promises forever young.
| G | G#dim7 | Am7 | D7 |
Some people need three dozen roses and that’s the only way to prove you love them.

Bridge 1

| Gmaj7 Am7 | Bm7 Am7 | Gmaj7 Am7 | Bm7 Cmaj7 Bm7 Am7 |
Hand me the world on a silver platter and what good would it be.
| Gmaj7 Am7 | Bm7 Am7 | Gmaj7 Am7 | Bm7 |
With no one to share, with no one who truly cares for me.

Chorus 2

| Cmaj7 | Bm7 |
Some people want it all but I don’t want nothing at all. If it ain’t
| Am7 | Gmaj7 |
you, baby. If I ain’t got you, baby. Some people want
| Cmaj7 | Bm7 |
diamond rings, some just want everything but everything means
| Am7 | Gmaj7 |
nothing, if I ain’t got you, you, you. Some people

Chorus 3

| Cmaj7 | Bm7 |
want it all but I don’t want nothing at all. If it ain’t
| Am7 | Gmaj7 |
you, baby. If I ain’t got you, baby, Some people want
| Cmaj7 | Bm7 |
diamond rings, some just want everything but everything means
| Am7 | Gmaj7 |
nothing. If I ain’t got you, yeah.

End

| Cmaj7 | Bm7 | Am7 | G (G Am7 G/B) |
If I ain’t got you with me baby, oh, ooh. Said nothing in this
| Cmaj7 | Bm7 | Am7 | Gmaj7 |
whole wide world don’t mean a thing if I ain’t got you with me, baby.


If I Ain’t Got You chords and progression (lesson preview)

If I Ain't Got You Analysis + TAB T

It’s the simplicity of If I Ain’t Got You‘s chords that make it work so well.

As a listener, you feel as if you know exactly what’s going to happen next. This is what makes it a hit, it feels like you’ve heard it before, and, you want to hear it again!

Let’s work through the chords to see if they can give us a clue as to why this is the case.

The intro chords are what later come up in the chorus, although during the intro, the chords are played as fast triplet arpeggios, very clever. Here are the chords:

|6/8 Cmaj7 | Bm7 | Am7 | G (G Am7 G/B) |
| Cmaj7 | Bm7 | Am7 | G C/G |

Starting on chord IV, we simply move down to I like this: IV – III – II – I. Then quickly up again, I – II – III only to repeat it again. It couldn’t be simpler!

This is of course played on the piano but we can actually play it on the guitar, you’ll need to use your fingers, here’s the TAB for If I Ain’t Got You’s intro (and later, outro):

If I Ain't Got You chords and TAB intro and outro

The verse starts on chord I and is just like the intro/chorus simple and predictable:

| G | Em7 | Am7 | D7sus2 C/G |
| G | G#dim7 | Am7 | D7 |

What we have here is I – VI – II – V. One of the most common progressions around. The C/G is just a passing chord, adding a simple Gospel influence.

On the second line, we change from chord VI (Em7) to a G#dim7. Again, this is very standard stuff. Notice the subtle variation of D7sus2 the first time, and D7 the second time (members get TAB).

It’s the simplicity of this jazz/blues/gospel language that makes it so accessible and therefore a hit.

Most artists would have tried harder in order to prove themselves. Alicia Keys understands how to use the basics well. As she explains in the 2nd video of the playlist above, it was sticking to the basics that made it work.

The bridge moves in a similar way to Lean On Me, do compare these two tunes!

||: Gmaj7 Am7 | Bm7 Am7 | Gmaj7 Am7 | 1. Bm7 (Cmaj7 Bm7 Am7) :|| 2. Bm7 |

The chorus is the same as the intro, just played without those 16th-note triplet arpeggios (members get TAB), these are the chords:

| Cmaj7 | Bm7 | Am7 | Gmaj7 |
| Cmaj7 | Bm7 | Am7 | Gmaj7 C/G |

The outro is, again, the same as the intro.

If I Ain’t Got You’s chords really are a master class in how to write an accessible Gospel Jazz Blues in 6/8.

Apart from Alicia, I can only think of Al Green and Bill Withers who can pull this off. Most artists and bands would just play too much and end up with no hit at all.

Here’s a link to the complete lesson (members only): If I Ain’t Got You, 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.

If I Ain’t Got You was a perfect follow-up to Fallin’!

Alicia Keys’s first album, Songs in A Minor (2001) was an incredible success, selling over 12 million copies worldwide.

The success of the debut was largely down to lead single Fallin’ which made her a household name, and reached the top 10 in twenty countries, selling 3 million copies in the U.S. alone.

To follow up such an immense success can only be done with another hit, enter If I Ain’t Got You.

The album, The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003) did very well in the U.S. selling 5 million, the single even more with 6 million.

These two tunes, Fallin’ and If I Ain’t Got You were the only two hits from her first two albums, but it was all she needed to be recognised as one of the top American soul singers on this side of the millennium.

She did keep the trend of one new smash hit going with her next three albums, As I Am (2007) had No One, The Element of Freedom (2009) had Empire State Of Mind and the title track from her 2012 album was Girl on Fire.


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Alicia Keys had instant success with her debut album Songs In Am, mainly down to its single Fallin’.

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