Lean On Me chords by Bill Withers


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Lean On Me | Chords + Lyrics


Intro

| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em | Em Dm |
| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em G | G C |
Hmm… hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm. Hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm. Hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm

Verse 1

| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em | Em Dm Gsus4 |
Sometimes in our lives, we all have pain, we all have sorrow.
| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em G | G C |
But if we are wise, we know that there’s, always tomorrow.

Chorus 1

| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em | Em Dm Gsus4 |
Lean on me, when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.
| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em G | G C |
For it won’t be long, ’til I’m gonna need, somebody to lean on.

Verse 2

| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em | Em Dm Gsus4 |
Please swallow your pride, if I have things, you need to borrow.
| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em G | G C (G A) |
For no one can fill, those of your needs, that you won’t let show.

Bridge 1

| C N.C (G A) | C5 N.C (G A) | C5 N.C (G A) | C5 N.C (G A) |
You just call on me brother when you need a hand, we all need somebody to lean on.
| C5 N.C (G A) | C5 N.C (G A) | C5 N.C (E F F# G) | G C |
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand, we all need somebody to lean on.

Chorus 2

| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em | Em Dm Gsus4 |
Lean on me, when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.
| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em G | G C |
For it won’t be long, ’til I’m gonna need, somebody to lean on.

Bridge 2

| C N.C (G A) | C5 N.C (G A) | C5 N.C (G A) | C5 N.C (G A) |
You just call on me brother when you need a hand, we all need somebody to lean on.
| C5 N.C (G A) | C5 N.C (G A) | C5 N.C (E F F# G) | G C |
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand, we all need somebody to lean on.

Verse 3

| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em | Em Dm Gsus4 |
If there is a load, you have to bear, that you can’t carry.
| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em G | G C |
I’m right up the road, I’ll share your load, if you just call me.

Outro

||: Dm C | Dm C :||
Call me, if you need a friend (Call me) Call me yeah a-ha.
(Call me) If you need a friend (Call me) If you ever need a friend.
(Call me) Call me. (Call me) Call me.
(Call me) Call me. (Call me) Call me.
(Call me) If you need a friend (Call me) Call me.
(Call me) Call me. (Call me) Call me.
(Call me) Call me. (Call me).



Lean On Me Chords: Learn the progressions


Lean On Me Analysis + TAB T

The super simple, but compelling chord progression of Lean On Me by Bill Withers is in the key of C and breaks no harmonic rules.

We simply move up the scale, like this:

C (I) – Dm (II) – Em (III) – F (IV).

And then back down again:

F (IV) – Em (III) – Dm (II) – C (I).

Instead of simply repeating this pattern, we next stop at Em, then play a II – V, like this:

C (I) – Dm (II) – Em (III) – Dm (II) – Gsus4 (V).

The second half of the progression starts in the same way but ends differently as we go to a G, like this:

C (I) – Dm (II) – Em (III) – G (V) – C (I).

This is what makes up both the verse and chorus chords. The full 8 bars of Lean On Me’s chords look like this:

| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em | Em Dm Gsus4 |
| C Dm Em F | F Em Dm C | C Dm Em G | G C |

The only other part is the bridge, which is mainly without chords, just a bass leading to C, or maybe even C5, like this:

||: C5 N.C (G A) :||

The final two bars of the bridge have a longer bass line and end at chord V before we resolve to chord I, like this:

| C (I) N.C (E F F# G) | G (V) C (I) |

That’s all there is to the chords of Lean On Me. Simplicity is the name of the game, it makes it sound like a hymn, a traditional song, something that has been around forever. Well, it certainly will be!

As we play along with the original recording, we’ll soon discover that this is all done in A shapes on the guitar, like this:

Lean On Me chords and TAB basic piano part on the guitar

Even though this sounds right when playing along with Bill, it won’t work as one acoustic guitar part. Members look at TAB for how to strum this so it works on one guitar.

Here’s a link to the complete lesson (members only): Lean On Me – 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.

Lean On Me is a Gospel standard!

Released in 1972 as the lead single from Bill Withers’ second album, Still Bill, Lean On Me quickly became a standard.

By now, Withers was already well known having released Ain’t No Sunshine a year earlier.

Lean On Me went to #1 in the U.S. and the U.K., selling over 2.5 million copies combined. Ranked in the top 10 as song of the year and #208 on Rolling Stones Greatest 500 Songs of All Time, this is a proper classic.

Covered by many artists since, it is one of only nine songs that have reached #1 by two different artists, the 1987 dance version by Club Nouveau being the 2nd one.

Other notable versions include Michael Bolton, Seal, Beverley Knight, and The Glee Cast which are with a listen.

Perhaps most impressively is the enormous amount of Gospel Choirs that have this as a standard in their weekly repertoire.

Check out all these versions in the playlist at the top of this page.



Lean On Me Chords | Related Pages


Intermediate Acoustic

There are many more Intermediate Acoustic Songs with chords similar to Lean On Me.

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.


Intermediate Electric

When you can play Lean On Me, check out these Intermediate electric tunes as well.

The intermediate electric tunes will help you with learning the CAGED system all over the fretboard, both for chords and pentatonic scales.

Learn these Motown/Soul classics, and you’ll not just improve dramatically but also gain yourself a repertoire.


Five similar tunes with chords and lyrics

When you can play Lean On Me's chords, try these five tunes from the songbook.


Bill Withers

Bill Withers wrote Lean On Me.

Bill Withers was an American singer-songwriter who performed and recorded from the late 60s until the mid-80s.

Some of his best-known songs include Ain’t No Sunshine, Use Me, Lovely Day, Lean on Me, Grandma’s Hands, and Just The Two Of Us.


Bill Withers on the web

Listen to Bill WIthers on Spotify.


Ballads

There are many more Ballads with chords similar to Lean On Me.

The perfect first dance or an emotional piece for your next audition, this collection of ballads is great for working on your expression.

Learn tunes from Burt Bacharach, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Eva Cassidy, Ben Harper, Etta James, Chet Baker, Elvis, Norah Jones, and many more.


Motown & Soul

When you cna play Lean On Me, check out these Motown and Soul tunes as well.

Motown & Soul is the best place to start if you want to get better at playing the electric guitar. The harmony is simple and there is room for improvisation.

Learn tunes by The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, and many more.



About me

Dan Lundholm wrote this article about Lean On Me's chords.

This article on Lean On Me’s chords was written by Dan Lundholm. 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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