Vincent chords by Don McLean


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Vincent | Chords + Lyrics


Verse 1

| N.C G69 | G Gsus4 | G G6 Gsus4 | Am Asus2 |
Starry, starry night. Paint your palette blue and gray.
| Am Asus2 | C Cmaj7 | D7 | G G69 |
Look out on a summer’s day. With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
| G Gsus4 | G G6 Gsus4 | Am Asus2 |
Shadows on the hills. Sketch the trees and the daffodils.
| Am Asus2 | C Cmaj7 | D7 | G C/G (Gmaj7) | G Gadd4 |
Catch the breeze and the winter chills. In colors on the snowy linen land.

Chorus 1

| Amadd4 | D7 D7/A | G G/F# | Em Emb6 |
Now I understand. What you tried to say to me.
| Am Asus2 | D7 |5/4 Em |
And how you suffered for your sanity. How you tried to set them free.
|4/4 A7 | Am D7 | G Gmaj7 G6 | G G69 |
They would not listen, they did not know how. Perhaps they’ll listen now.

Verse 2

| G Gsus4 | G G6 Gsus4 | Am Asus2 |
Starry, starry night. Flaming flowers that brightly blaze.
| Am Asus2 | C Cmaj7 | D7 | G G69 |
Swirling clouds in violet haze. Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china-blue
| G Gsus4 | G G6 Gsus4 | Am Asus2 |
Colors changing hue. Morning fields of amber grain.
| Am Asus2 | C Cmaj7 | D7 | G Gadd4 |
Weathered faces lined in pain. Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand.

Chorus 2

| Amadd4 | D7 D7/A | G G/F# | Em Emb6 |
Now I understand. What you tried to say to me.
| Am Asus2 | D7 | Em |
And how you suffered for your sanity. And how you tried to set them free.
| A7 | Am D7 | G Gadd4 |
They would not listen, they did not know how. Perhaps they’ll listen now.

Middle 8

| Amadd4 | D7 D7/A | G G/F# | Em Emb6 |
For they could not love you. But still your love was true.
| Am | Cm |
And when no hope was left in sight on that starry, starry night.
| G F | E | Am Asus2 |
You took your life as lovers often do. But I could’ve told you, Vincent.
| C |3/4 D7 |4/4 G (C/G) | G G69 |
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.

Verse 3

| G Gsus4 | G Gsus4 | Am Asus2 |
Starry, starry night. Portraits hung in empty halls.
| Am Asus2 | C | D7 | G G69 |
Frameless heads on nameless walls. With eyes that watch this world and can’t forget.
| G Gsus4 |2/4 G |4/4 Am Asus2 |
Like the strangers that you’ve met. The ragged men in ragged clothes.
| Am Asus2 | C | D7 | G C/G (Gmaj7) |
A silver thorn of bloody rose. Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.

Chorus 3

| Am Am7 | D7 | G G/F# | Em |
Now I think I know. What you tried to say to me.
| Am Am7 | D7 | Em |
And how you suffered for your sanity. And how you tried to set them free.
| A7 | Am D7 | G Gmaj7 | G6 G69 | G |
They would not listen, they’re not listening still. Perhaps they never will.



Vincent Chords: Learn the progressions!


Vincent Analysis + TAB T

It’s not easy to get your head around the chords and lyrics above. The lyrics start early and the tempo is up and down with plenty of ritardando and odd time signatures.

The only other song I know that feels the same is Eva Cassidy‘s version of Over The Rainbow.

I feel strongly that in the case of Vincent, we should have chords and lyrics separate. If you are singing and playing at the same time, make sure you learn the guitar independently first.

Here are the verse chords, without lyrics (it’s the extensions that are tricky, ignore them and this is just: I – II – IV – V on repeat.):

| N.C G69 (I) | G Gsus4 | G G6 Gsus4 | Am (II) Asus2 |
| Am Asus2 | C (IV) Cmaj7 | D7 (V) | G G69 |
| G Gsus4 | G G6 Gsus4 | Am Asus2 |
| Am Asus2 | C Cmaj7 | D7 | G C/G (Gmaj7) | G Gadd4 |

Members get TAB for all this, as a preview, here’s the first half:

Vincent chords and TAB verse, first half.

The chorus is more complex, without lyrics it goes like this:

| Amadd4 | D7 D7/A | G G/F# | Em Emb6 |
| Am Asus2 | D7 |5/4 Em |
|4/4 A7 | Am D7 | G Gmaj7 G6 | G G69 |

Again, it’s all those extensions that make it look so complicated. Using Roman numerals, it’s just:

II – V – I – VI
II – V – VI
IIx – II – V – I

To get the extensions and picking pattern right you must have TAB, no other way will work. The chords and their extensions can serve as a reminder once you know the part.

Members get the complete TAB for how to play Vincent, as well as a chord analysis that will explain the feeling of the chord progression, including the variations IIx and the IVm that appear in the middle 8.

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

Vincent is one of two tunes that enabled Don McLean to retire!

When McLean was about to release his second album, his label was bought by United Artists, giving him a far wider reach than on his previous label, Liberty.

Two tunes on this album, Vincent and the title track American Pie were huge hits and together with the album sold a combined 7 million copies.

This and the enormous amount of radio play the two tunes have since received, Don McLean never had to work again. Something he happily acknowledged when quizzed about what American Pie had meant to him!

You’d think he had cracked how to write a hit with two such great tunes but since then, Don has had no more hits.



Vincent Chords | Related Pages


Intermediate Acoustic

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

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

Don McLean

Don McLean wrote Vincent.

Don McLean is an American singer-songwriter most famous for his ’71 songs American Pie and Vincent.

When McLean’s indie label Media Arts was sold to United Artists, he got an unexpected chance to make his second album for a major label.


Don McLean on the web

Listen to Don McLean on Spotify.


Ballads

When you can play Vincent, try these Ballads as well.

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.


Country & Folk

There are many more Country and Folk tunes with chords similar to Vincent.

In the primarily acoustic genres of Country & Folk, you must acquire what matters the most: A repertoire. Nothing else will give you the gig.

Learn tunes by Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, America, Don McLean, and many more.


About me

Dan Lundholm wrote this article about Vincent's chords.

This article on Vincent’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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