Musical coincidences # 40

Today’s coincidence is a purely guitar-oriented one, so if you have no interest in guitars or guitarists, come back in about 20 minutes when everyone else has finished reading this post.

Here’s a bit of the start of Adelaide band Cold Chisel‘s live version of “Conversations” (1979):


And here’s a bit of the start of non-Adelaide band Van Halen‘s “Girl Gone Bad” (1984):


If you can’t spot the similarities, it’s basically the guitar playing an Asus2 chord…

…followed by an Fmaj7#11…

If you want to put it into non-weirdo-chord-name terms, it’s like playing A minor then F major except that the first two strings (the skinny ones on the right of the pictures) are open (i.e., you play them without putting your fingers on them) for both chords.

Despite the differences in backing instrumentation, the guitars in both those songs are doing pretty much the same thing.

It’s noticeable to me because I’ve only ever heard that particular chord progression happen in those two songs. There may be plenty of other songs that do it, but I haven’t heard ’em.

Here are the full versions:

Cold Chisel – “Conversations” (1979)


Van Halen – “Girl Gone Bad” (1984)


I couldn’t let today’s coincidence involving Van Halen go by without playing you my favourite song on 1984, “House Of Pain.” It’s the last track on the album (“Girl Gone Bad” is the second-to-last), and Eddie Van Halen throws everything at the song. There’s so much going on, guitar-wise, that it seems as if Eddie wanted to catalogue his entire repertoire of tricks in three minutes. Along with all the incidental noodling during the song, there’s a jaw-dropping guitar solo in the middle of it and some magnificent dive-bombing as the song fades. It’s great stuff for guitar fans:

Van Halen – “House Of Pain” (1984)


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