“I just learned ‘Imagine’ on the piano,” tweeted @acupoftea yesterday, “and I would like to officially rescind any energy I’ve spent being impressed with people who can play ‘Imagine’ on the piano.” I chuckled, and then she followed up with, “If you want to demystify pop music, learn, like, four chords and just play them in a different order & rhythm each time.”
That immediately made me think of the famous zine graphic above, included in the book Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print 1976-1980_. Toby Mott explains:
> [It’s] an illustration from a fanzine called _Sideburn #1, which was a drawing made by Tony Moon just to fill the space. It’s a drawing of three guitar chords and it says, ‘now form a band’. That fanzine is extremely rare, but the drawing is often quoted by lots of musicians as the impetus to do something, and it’s seen as a key message of punk,” says Toby. “You didn’t need to have been to music school or be particularly proficient or skilled. It was much more about the energy and drive to do something. It’s a rallying call to the troops.
Nice to know the story behind a drawing that always puzzled me. Why are the markings on the frets and not in between them? And why A-E-G? What songs can you even play with those chords? (Answer: AC/DC’s “TNT” and T-Rex’s “Bang A Gong.”)
By the way, the lyrics to ‘Imagine’ aren’t world beaters either. I believe that if anyone other than a former Beatle put that song out, it would have sunk under the sea of much better stuff that itself never surfaced.