Classic Chords #16 – Writing is on Oasis Wonderwall

Perhaps one of the most reviled of busker songs is the 1995 Oasis hit “Wonderwall” from the album  (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? The song is namechecked by Scottish band Travis in their first single “Writing to reach you” when singer Fran Healy asks “what’s a wonderwall, anyway?” Well, if he’d taken notes in Beatlography at school he’d have known that Wonderwall is the title of film director Joe Massot’s 1968 psychedelic debut about a peeping Tom who makes holes in an adjoining wall so he can spy on and take photos of his neighbour Penny Lane…I never said it was a great film, did I?


Anyway, back to today’s classic chord, as with Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven before it Wonderwall is banned in ethical guitar shops for good reason, you really don’t want wannabe axe heroes plodding through the simple chord progression with its added drones on the E and G strings, messing up the rhythm and forgetting the change when they get to the pre-chorus, honestly. Sounds like basically the same chords in that Travis song by the way, different key (Oasis is at capo 2 position, although in the video Noel Gallagher is miming it open). It is a wonderful song though.

Anyway, it kicks off with the Em7 where you’re fretting the high E and B strings at the third fret (rel to capo or nut), so it avoids the open high E string you’d have with a more conventional first position Em7 and it also avoids the heavy open D string and defers the D of the chord to the B string. The progression then sticks with the pinkie and ring finger in place and makes a G, you could see that is basically being the same Em7 but with a G bass note, of course. Then it’s a Dsus4 (with the D string fretted at E for variety), still with those two fingers holding down the E and B strings, and then an A7sus4 (ditto). So, really the progression is a moving bassline with a whining/droning on the higher strings that stays the same until the pre-chorus. I’ll break the guitar shop rule (I don’t live in a guitar shop after all) and play it for you (on a Telecaster, after Dylan) and you can decide whether I’d make an ethical or an amoral busker…there’s a few little elaborations in this version where I open up and close down the Ds4 and the A7s4 as mentioned above.

More Classic Guitar Chords here.

Author: 雷竞技官网

Award-winning freelance science writer, author of Deceived Wisdom. Sharp-shooting photographer and wannabe rockstar.