The Drugs Don’t Work


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Watch this video lesson

Focusing on the left hand and all chords used in this song

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First Two Lessons For Free

I think the material is excellent. I’ve benefited so much. I’ve now begun to improvise with some confidence and have written songs that feel authentic. I can now develop musically in a broad and rich way. Your work has illuminated an exciting path forward.– Roger

‘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/Chorus.

| 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

The Drugs Don’t Work full guitar lesson

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

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