The Drugs Don’t Work

The Drugs Don’t Work

Chords and strumming

Preview Video Lessons

The Drugs Don’t Work chords and strumming

About The Drugs Don’t Work

‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ is a song by Richard Ashcroft’s band ‘The Verve’. It has also been covered by American singer-songwriter Ben Harper.

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

Don’t be fooled, to write a song having mainly simple open 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 thing a songwriter can attempt.

My one guitar arrangement of ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ only has one difficult chord to fret, the F. You don’t have to play this as a barre chord, instead, fret it as the video lesson demonstrates.

Chord progression

These are all the chords for the Intro, Verse and Chorus sections.

| C | C | Am | Am | Em | F G | C | C |

Before M8

| C | Em | F G | C | C |


| F | Em | Am | G |

Chorus 4

| Em | F G | C | C |


| C | repeat until end

Full Guitar Lesson – How to Play The Drugs Don’t Work

You get a full breakdown of how to play ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ in the course, we cover:

  • The meaning of the chord progression
  • The strumming pattern
  • How to pick rather than strum
  • A 2nd guitar part
  • A complete TAB chart

Sign up for the beginner course today and start learning not just songs, but how music on the guitar actually works!

Related Pages

The Drugs Don’t Work – Lyrics

The Drugs Dont WorkAll this talk of getting old
It’s getting me down my love
Like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown
This time I’m comin’ down
And I hope you’re thinking of me

For complete lyrics, go to The Drugs Don’t Work lyrics.

Ben Harper Biography

ben-harper-thumbBen Harper is an American roots musician who has stretched his appeal around the globe by recording covers of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’ and The Verve‘s ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’.

Harper’s first album ‘Welcome To The Cruel World’ (1994) was followed by ‘Fight For Your Mind’ only a year later.

To find out more, go to Ben Harper biography.

The Verve Biography

the-verve-thumbThe 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.

To find out more, go to The Verve biography.


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

Not only will learning songs help you with switching from one chord to another and improve your rhythm playing – they also hold the key to how music works theoretically.

To see all the lessons in the beginner course, go to the Beginner Guitar Course


Beginner Chord ProgressionWe all have to start somewhere, but for how long do you strum simple songs? What do you need to know to play real songs?

What exercises should you practice to warm-up and improve your technique? How do you understand and change the key of a chord progression of a song?

A beginner need guidance more than anyone, check out these easy to follow video lessons as a preview of what awaits in the course: Beginner Guitar Lessons


Learn how to play famous beginner songs.

‘Ain’t No Sunshine’, ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’, ‘One More Cup Of Coffee’, ‘Redemption Song’, ‘Rewind’. ‘Robin Hood’, ‘Talking About A Revolution’, ‘Time Of Your Life’, and ‘Wonderwall’.

To preview each song, go to Beginner Acoustic Songs

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A monthly subscription with access to all acoustic and electric step by step lessons, each one designed to bring your guitar playing skills to the next level.

Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

To sign up now, go to Monthly Subscription