The Drugs Don’t Work

Learn How To Play The Drugs Don’t Work

Chords and Guitar Lessons

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In the course & Complete song


About

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.

The Drugs Don’t Work only has one difficult chord to fret, the mighty F.

You don’t have to play this as a big and painful barre chord. In the course, I’ll show you how the secret to success lies within finding a way to play that F and look beyond the seemingly impossible shape.


Chord progression

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

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

Before the M8, the chords move like this.

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

M8

| F | Em | Am | G |

Chorus 4

| Em | F G | C | C |

Outro

| C | repeat until end


Guitar Lessons


The Drugs Don’t Work – Step 1

Today we start looking at a new song in The Verve’s monster hit The Drugs Don’t Work.

The chords are all from the key of C. Let’s start by looking at the chord progression and how we can extend the chords.

Go to The Drugs Don’t Work – Step 1.


The Drugs Don’t Work – Step 2

Let’s take a look at the strumming pattern for this song. We are dealing with a 16th note pattern at a slow pace again.

It’s the same pattern for all chords, even when there are two chords in one bar.

Go to The Drugs Don’t Work – Step 2.


The Drugs Don’t Work – Step 3

Today you’ll learn a bunch of 2nd guitar part ideas for The Drugs Don’t Work.

These parts are picked one note at a time.

Go to The Drugs Don’t Work – Step 3.


The Drugs Don’t Work – Step 4

In this last step, we fit a capo on fret five and work on playing picked and strummed parts as if in the key of G.

This then becomes a more creative 2nd guitar part that you can use when playing along with me and the singer.

Go to The Drugs Don’t Work – Step 4.


Related Pages


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

Go to The Drugs Don’t Work Lyrics.


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 (94), was followed by Fight For Your Mind only a year later.

Go to Ben Harper Biography.


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.

Go to The Verve Biography.


Course

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

Not only will learning songs help you with switching between chords and improve your rhythm playing. Songs also hold the key to how music works theoretically.

Go to Beginner Guitar Course.


Beginner Acoustic Songs

You can learn how to play these beginner songs on the acoustic guitar.

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.

Go to Beginner Acoustic Songs.


Exercises

Beginner Chord ProgressionWhat do you need to know in order to 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 song?

Go to Beginner Guitar Exercises.


Join

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.

Go to Monthly Subscription.