The Drugs Don’t Work chords by The Verve


Video blocked due to privacy settings

Change privacy settings


The Drugs Don’t Work | Chords + Lyrics

Intro (0:00)

| C Csus2 | C Csus2 | Am Asus2 | Am Asus2 |
| Em | Fadd9 G | C Csus2 | C Csus2 |

Verse 1 (0:25)

| C Csus2 | C G/B | Am Asus2 | Am Asus2 |
All this talk of getting old, it’s getting me down my love.
| Em | F/C G | C Csus2 | C Csus2 |
Like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown, this time I’m comin’ down.

Verse 2 (0:50)

| C Csus2 | C Csus2 | Am Asus2 | Am Asus2 |
And I hope you’re thinking of me, as you lay down on your side.
| Em | Fadd9 G | C Csus2 | C Csus2 |
Now the drugs don’t work, they just make you worse, but I know I’ll see your face again.

Chorus 1 (1:13)

| Em | Fsus2 G | C Csus2 | C Csus2 |
Now the drugs don’t work, they just make you worse, but I know I’ll see your face again.

Verse 3 (1:26)

| C Csus2 | C G/B | Am Asus2 | Am Asus2 |
But I know I’m on a losing streak, ’cause I passed down my old street.
| Em | F/C G | C Csus2 | C Csus2 |
And if you wanna show, then just let me know, and I’ll sing in your ear again.

Chorus 2 (1:50)

| Em | Fsus2 G | C Csus2 | C Csus2 |
Now the drugs don’t work, they just make you worse, but I know I’ll see your face again.

Bridge 1 (2:02)

| F | Em | Am | G |
Cause baby, ooh, if heaven calls, I’m coming too.
| F/C | Em | Am | G |
Just like you said, you leave my life, I’m better off dead.

Verse 4 (2:28)

| C Csus2 | C G/B | Am Asus2 | Am Asus2 |
All this talk of getting old, it’s getting me down my love.
| Em | F/C G | C Csus2 | C Csus2 |
Like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown, this time I’m comin’ down.

Chorus 3 (2:52)

| Em | Fsus2 G | C Csus2 | C Csus2 |
Now the drugs don’t work, they just make you worse, but I know I’ll see your face again.

Bridge 2 (3:04)

| F | Em | Am | G |
‘Cause baby, ooh, if heaven calls, I’m coming, too.
| F/C | Em | Am | G |
Just like you said, you leave my life, I’m better off dead.

Chorus 4 (3:29)

| Em | F/C G | C Csus2 | C Csus2 |
But if you wanna show, just let me know, and I’ll sing in your ear again.
| Em | F/C G | C Csus2 | C |
Now the drugs don’t work, they just make you worse, but I know I’ll see your face again.

Outro (3:53)

||: C Csus2 :||
||: Yeah, I know I’ll see your face again :||

||: C Csus2 :||
||: Yeah, I know I’ll see your face again, oh Lord :||

||: C Csus2 :||
I’m never going down, I’m never coming down, no more, no more, no more, no more, no more.
I’m never coming down, I’m never going down, no more, no more, no more, no more, no more.


You can learn how to play The Drugs Don’t Work!

Using almost only open-position chords, staying in one key with no variations, Richard Ashcroft has managed to write a song that sounds unique.

Don’t be fooled, to write a song having mainly simple open-position chords doesn’t mean it’s easy! Most songwriters would give an arm and a leg to be able to write a simple, memorable song that doesn’t sound like something else.

Perhaps writing a simple song with a strong message is actually the most difficult goal a songwriter can set.

If you are a beginner, The Drugs Don’t Work’s chords only has one difficult chord to fret, the mighty F.

You don’t have to play this as a big and painful barre chord. During the 8 guitar lessons that are available in the course, I’ll show you how the secret to success lies within finding a way to play that F and look beyond the seemingly impossible shape.

Over 8 step-by-step guitar lessons, I’ll show you how you can learn how to play The Drugs Don’t Work on one acoustic guitar, just like Richard did, but we don’t stop there, I’ll also show you, note for note, how to play the 2nd guitar.

If you learn how to play the 2nd guitar, you, me, and the singer can play this song together. This will prepare you for playing The Drugs Don’t Work with other musicians.

Below, you find a few of the guitar lessons taken from the course, enjoy!


Video blocked due to privacy settings

Change privacy settings


The Drugs Don’t Work’s chords, progressions, and extensions

The chords from The Drugs Don’t Work are all from the key of C, no variations are used.

Here are the different sections viewed as roman numerals and chords in the key of C.

Intro/Verse/Chorus

| I | I | VI | VI | III | IV V | I | I |
or
| C | C | Am | Am | Em | F G | C | C |

Before M8/Bridge

| I | III | IV V | I | I |
or
| C | Em | F G | C | C |

M8/Bridge

| IV | III | VI | V |
or
| F | Em | Am | G |

Chorus 4

| III | IV V | I | I |
or
| Em | F G | C | C |

Outro

| I |
or
| C |

Strum through Drugs Don’t Work’s chords above, along to the video with me and the singer. Aim to hear and name each chord as a number.

Don’t worry about the strumming pattern, just focus on hearing each chord as a roman numeral.

When you feel ready, try some extensions. Below is TAB displaying the different chord extensions I discuss in the first video.

Don’t worry about all these names, you’ll eventually learn how to name chords like this. Instead of trying to memorize them, just see it as “What happens if I remove a finger and play an open string?”

Next, we look at what strumming pattern to use.

The Drugs Don't Work chords and possible extensions in TAB.
Drugs Don’t Work chords in TAB

Video blocked due to privacy settings

Change privacy settings


The Drugs Don’t Work’s strumming pattern

Let’s take a look at the strumming pattern for The Drugs Don’t Work. We are dealing with 16th-note patterns at a slow pace.

The rhythms in the TAB loops are played using muted strums so you can play any chord you want. The more chords you try, the better!

Here are the rhythms, written out as rhythm slashes. Let’s start with example 1, this is what happens for the intro and in verse 2.

The way to get this right is to maintain the pendulum movement of the strumming hand. Simply strum up and down twice per beat. Hit the strings corresponding with the notation below.

The Drugs Don't Work's strumming pattern, example 1.

Here’s example 2. The first beat of bar two is my favorite rhythm of the entire arrangement. It only happens once and therefore jumps out.

The Drugs Don't Work's strumming pattern, example 2.

Example 3, the first bar is identical to the previous example. This is a great way to write strumming patterns. You keep the first half, change the second.

The Drugs Don't Work's strumming pattern, example 3.

In example 4, we have a much simpler pattern. As it is used toward the end of a section, this calms everything down.

The Drugs Don't Work's strumming pattern, example 4.

Next, in example 5, can you tell which part of the song this is from? If not, you soon will!

The Drugs Don't Work's strumming pattern, example 5.

In example 6, we have ties disguising the middle of the bar, a classic strumming trick! Notice how the only difference in the bars happens on beat 1.

The Drugs Don't Work's strumming pattern, example 6.

Finally, example 7 is identical in each bar. When you practice to the TAB loop, try changing chords every bar.

The Drugs Don't Work's strumming pattern, example 7.

Next, we use some of these rhythms to play two versions of the intro/verse.


Video blocked due to privacy settings

Change privacy settings


The Drugs Don’t Work | Intro/verse chords and strumming

Let’s start playing the actual song. As the strumming pattern is so incredibly complicated, we only have two examples to practice.

Ensure you get every single strum perfect by simply playing along with the TAB loops.

Here’s example 1, an exact replica of the original recordings intro.

The Drugs Don't Work's chords and strumming, intro.

Next, example 2, is very similar, which is why it’s so difficult to get right!

Simply practice along with the TAB loop to achieve success.

The Drugs Don't Work's chords and strumming, verse.

To learn the remaining sections, play the complete song and dive deep into the 2nd guitar part so you, me, and the singer can play this song together, sign up here.

The Drugs Don’t Work is not about illegal drugs!

The Drugs Don’t Work has had a massive reach globally. Partly helped by Ben Harper who covered it on his Live From Mars album, but mainly as a single from The Verve’s best-seller Urban Hymns.

As the title indicates, most of us would have thought this was an anti-drug song, which it is, but not in the way we may have all been led to believe.

Originally having the meaning that the drugs didn’t work for Richard Ashcroft’s father, who was dying of cancer, the song had its wording slightly tweaked in order to give off a more ambiguous statement.

Being one of three massive hits (including Bitter Sweet Symphony and Lucky Man) from the album Urban Hymns in 1997, The Verve crossed over from, critically acclaimed but relatively unknown indie rock band, to mass-market fame in 1998.

Interestingly enough, the band had actually split up prior to the making of Urban Hymns which was their third record.

Luckily, Ashcroft managed to recruit an old friend in Simon Tong and eventually lure guitarist Nick McCabe back into the studio and got the album finished.


The Drugs Don’t Work | Related Pages


The Drugs Don’t Work – 8 guitar lessons

The Drugs Don’t Work, 8 guitar lessons in the course.

Playing the main part just like Richard did is not easy, there is so much variation in the strumming. To get it right, we must first work on our ability to read rhythms.

Following this, we study each section in depth using play-along loops before we play the complete song. Finally, we learn the beautiful 2nd guitar as well.

Go to The Drugs Don’t Work – 8 guitar lessons.


Beginner Acoustic Songs

When you can play The Drugs Don't Work's chords, discover more beginner acoustic songs.

This collection of songs will teach you how to arrange a song to play on your own, as well as how to create a supporting part.

Playing songs will help you with switching between open-position chords and give you the context you need in order to understand how music works theoretically.

Go to Beginner Acoustic Songs.


The Drugs Don’t Work – 5 similar tunes

When you can play The Drugs Don't Work's chords, try these five tunes from the song book.

Ben Harper

Find out more about Ben Harper who covered The Drugs Don't Work.

Ben Harper is an American roots musician who stretched his appeal around the globe by recording covers of Sexual Healing and The Drugs Don’t Work.

Harper’s first album, Welcome To The Cruel World (94), was followed by Fight For Your Mind only a year later.

Go to Ben Harper.


Ben Harper on the web

Listen to Ben Harper on Spotify

The Verve

Find out more about The Verve, the band who wrote The Drugs Don't Work's chords.

The Verve is a British rock band formed in 1989, in Wigan. Among their bigger hits, you’ll find Bitter Sweet Symphony and The Drugs Don’t Work.

Since their first debut album, A Storm In Heaven, critics have always favored The Verve as one of the best 90s British rock acts.

Go to The Verve.


The Verve on the web

Listen to The Verve on Spotify