The Day Alone
by Memphis Evans

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I think my favorite chord in all of harmonic analysis is the iii (three) chord. In other words, if you're in the key of G Major, build a chord on the third note of the scale - b - and use it in your song. For example "The Weight" by The Band goes I, iii, IV, I. In it's original key of A, the chords are A, c# minor, D, and A. Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison is another variation on this. The second chord of "Slush" (the original version, not the rearranged version here) in C is e minor.

Usually the iii chord is minor when you're in a Major key. But some very glorious times it is Major instead. My favorite instances of this include The Jayhawks' hit "Blue", the chorus chords of which are A flat, C, D flat, E flat. "I'm Waiting for the Man" by The Velvet Underground is right up there too. "Up to Lexington, ONE TWO FIVE" with the words "one two five" over a Major III chord is great songwriting.

My song "The Day Alone" goes from G to B7 to e minor and the melody goes up from d to d# to e. I LOVE THIS. I love it because I listened to it over and over when I was very young in the context of "Don't disturb me now I can see the answers" and "Then when we retire we can write the gospels". Those lines are from "The Last Supper" from Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber, an LP I loved as a kid.

With this song I managed to do what I had intended to do (but failed to) with Slush, which is to simply create a good chord progression, play it over and over and have that be the song. After that initial thrill of G-B7-e minor, things fall apart, then rise slightly through a fully diminished 7 built on sharpened scale degree 4 leading to a I64-V7 cadence (G/d, D7), then walk down exhaustedly before another V7 (read: five seven, in this key a D7 chord) encourages the whole thing to start again.


Everybody tells me that they don't know what to say
I'm glad that everybody doesn't come around this way
And when he does he hardly ever comes around to stay
But everybody's comin' by today

Nobody is here but just the same I am alone
I never really notice her I never hear the phone
Oh, it could have been a friend of mine or nobody at all
I thought that maybe nobody would call

Now I sit alone and I am waiting for a knock
I don't believe they'll call me first they live right up the block
Everyone and no one are all within my head
I guess I'll spend the day alone instead

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