Mad World chords by Gary Jules (Tears For Fears)

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Mad World | Chords + Lyrics


||: Em | A :||

Verse 1

||: Em | G | Dsus2 | A :||
All around me are familiar faces, worn-out places, worn-out faces.
Bright and early for their daily races, going nowhere, going nowhere.
Their tears are filling up their glasses, no expression, no expression.
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow, no tomorrow, no tomorrow.

Chorus 1

||: Em | A :||
And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad.
The dreams in which I’m dying, are the best I’ve ever had.
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take.
| Em | A | Em | A | Em | A |
When people run in circles, It’s a very, very mad world, mad world.

Verse 2

||: Em | G | Dsus2 | A :||
Children waiting for the day they feel good, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday.
And I feel the way that every child should, sit and listen, sit and listen.
Went to school and I was very nervous, no one knew me, no one knew me.
Hello, teacher tell me what’s my lesson, look right through me, look right through me.

Chorus 2

||: Em | A :||
And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad.
The dreams in which I’m dying, are the best I’ve ever had.
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take.
When people run in circles, it’s a very, very mad world, mad world.


||: Em | A :||
Enlarging your world, mad world.

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Mad World Chords: Learn the progressions

Mad World 8 step by step guitar lessons

The chords for Mad World are really simple, the intro/chorus/bridge/outro is just II – V, EmA, giving us the sound of Dorian.

The II – V is #4 on my top 10 chord progression list, usually employed when it’s time to dance, in Mad World it creates a cold eerie feel instead.

The verse only has two more chords, IV and I, like this:

| Em (II) | G (IV) | Dsus2 (I) | A (V) |

All chords are from the key of D, however, the D chord is not the home chord, instead, the Em chord is (chord II).

In the video at the top of this page, you hear me playing Mad World on one acoustic guitar, influenced by Gary Jules’s version.

Just above here, you find a play-along loop of the TAB you see below, try playing along with it and you’ll experience what it’s like to learn guitar with Spytunes.

Mad World chords and TAB, verse example 1

Members look at another way you could play this verse and then proceed to learn the chorus and intro in the same way, with TAB and play-along loops.

As Mad World is so easy to play, we’ll complete the study of the one guitar arrangement in four lessons.

For the second half of the series, we look at how to play Mad World’s chords all over the neck using the CAGED system.

This is a great idea since if you know your way around the neck, you can improvise your guitar part. It’s also imperative when writing guitar parts for your own tunes.

Finally, we create two 2nd guitar parts using a capo on frets 2 and 5, you should learn this so you, me, and the singer can play Mad World together.

You can preview all versions in the playlist at the top of the page as well as hear the Gary Jules and original Tears For Fears versions.

Here’s a link to the complete lesson series: Mad World – Guitar Lessons with TAB.

Mad World was a hit, twice!

First released in 1982 by Tears For Fears as a single for the forthcoming album The Hurting (1983), Mad World became a hit, reaching #3 in the U.K. and #2 in South Africa. Sales came to 250,000 for the single and 1 million for the album.

Twenty years later, the soundtrack for Donnie Darko had a cover version by Gary Jules which was released as a single.

This version had greater sales than the original, charting in 17 countries, even becoming the Xmas #1 in the U.K.

Gary managed to make himself some money as he had already released it on his album, Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets, 2001.

Following the success of Donnie Darko, Gary had offers from labels but continued selling his album on CD Baby, rather than signing a record deal, giving all profits away against promises of a bright future.

Perhaps the title of his album served as a good reminder!

Mad World Chords | Related Pages

Intermediate Acoustic

There are many more Intermediate Acoustic Songs with chords similar to Mad World.

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 Mad World's chords, try these five tunes from the songbook.

Gary Jules tunes

Gary Jules covered Mad World.

Gary Jules is an American singer-songwriter, best known for his cover of Mad World by Tears For Fears. It became the UK Christmas number one single in ’03.

Following the worldwide success, Gary Jules kept selling his own CDs on CD Baby as well as being released through a label.

Gary Jules on the web

Listen to Gary Jules on Spotify.

Tears For Fears tunes

Tears For Fears wrote Mad World's chords.

Tears For Fears is an English pop band that has sold more than twenty-two million albums.

With hits like Mad World, Seeds Of Love and Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Tears For Fears was one of the biggest bands around in the ’80s.

Tears For Fears on the web

Listen to Tears For Fears on Spotify.

Ballads & First Dances

When you can play Mad World, try these Ballads as well.

The perfect first dance or an emotional piece for your next audition, this collection of Ballads & First Dances 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.

About me | Dan Lundholm

Dan Lundholm wrote this guitar lesson on Mad World's chords.

This was a guitar lesson about Mad World chords, by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and learn guitar with Spytunes.

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


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