chords to willie nelson's "nightlife"

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by barncat, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. barncat

    barncat Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    611
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Location:
    cazenovia n.y.
    Does anyone know the chords to Willie Nelson's "Nightlife"? I've searched the net but haven't found anything useable. Our singer wants to do it in "C" but if you know it in another key I can transpose. Thanks.
     
  2. Leon Grizzard

    Leon Grizzard Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,660
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    If no one beats me to it, I'll paste in a chord chart tomorrow; its on my office computer. Basically, the intro is C EbMaj7 AbMaj7 G7, twice; and the progression is C C7 F Fm C A7 D7 G7 C (into the intro progression). The bridge is C7 for varying measure depending on who is doing it, then F then either back to C G7 or straight to G7. Variations include F#dim instead of Fm, and Dm7 in place of D7.
     
    Harry Styron likes this.
  3. Leon Grizzard

    Leon Grizzard Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,660
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
  4. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    6,987
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2005
    Location:
    Near TELE-Town (Wash. DC)
    Leon, FWIW I agree with your chords, not the ones at the beginning of the SGF thread. Yours is the way I've always played it. :) CS
     
  5. barncat

    barncat Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    611
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Location:
    cazenovia n.y.
    Thanks Leon, your chords sound right to me.
     
  6. Leon Grizzard

    Leon Grizzard Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,660
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Glad to help. The chart I referred to just has those chords with durations; adds nothing if you understand when to change.
     
  7. the embezzler

    the embezzler Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    819
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    As an aside...

    You can also sub an Abmaj(6) for the F minor chord in the verses.
     
  8. RCinMempho

    RCinMempho Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,040
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Location:
    Maryville, TN
    Want some solo ideas? Watch at your own risk.

    My friend Buddy Church. Nite Life kicks in at 30 seconds.

    Enjoy!

     
    Wally likes this.
  9. emiller45

    emiller45 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    736
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Location:
    Cortez, CO
    Leon wrote:
    "intro is C EbMaj7 AbMaj7 G7, twice"

    This is the way I have heard it performed most of the time and the correct progression with a possible exception.

    I saw a Tab, supposedly from the Buddy Emmons intro that went: C - EbM7 - AbM7 - Db9. For those theoretically inclined, this puts the bass note on the Db9 a 1/2 step above the tonic which resolves nicely to the I chord beginning the verse or the second half of the intro. The Db9 is a kissin cousin to a G+b9 which would also resolve nicely to the I with a G in the bass.

    Food for thought, I have played it both ways. Either way, it is a testament to the genius of Buddy Emmons.
     
  10. emiller45

    emiller45 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    736
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Location:
    Cortez, CO
  11. Leon Grizzard

    Leon Grizzard Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,660
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Some will say DbMaj7. The thing about the BE intro is the G note pedal tone in the top voice, or really the melody E F G; E F G; Eb F G; Bb Ab G.
     
  12. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,519
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    NELA, Ca
    I say G7#9#5 (technically also a Db13 - if Db's in the bass).

    ----6----
    ----4----
    ----4----
    ----3----
    ----x----
    ---(3)---

    That's the "Coltrane" turn-a-round by the way (though usually the last chord is B13 or Db13).
     
  13. Leon Grizzard

    Leon Grizzard Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,660
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    I've never heard it called that, but it's a great 2 bar turnaround. We use it on Pink Floyd Tilman's Cold, Cold War. A good alternative to the default I I#dim ii7 V7.
     
  14. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,519
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    NELA, Ca
    If it were in "C", the first four changes in Giant Steps are CΔ7 - Eb13 (or Δ7) - AbΔ7 - B13. The B13 is a 1/2 step below the tonic which I feel is underused as a sub chord. (In Tranes usage it actually functions as a modulation chord - in this case he'd go to the key of E major).

    See - who says jazz is hard? Willie Nelson does it (all the time actually - a lot of very hip changes in his tunes).
     
  15. bingy

    bingy Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,799
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Location:
    Champlain Valley, VT, USA
    Mr. klasain,
    Please how are you making the triad triangles on your keyboard?
    Δ
    Thanks

     
  16. jlrich

    jlrich Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Marion, NC
    Just came across this thread. I'll throw my meager two cents in for what it's worth. I learned it pretty much like Leon's intro. There's always going to be variations. Here's mine...my youtube clip from a year or so ago.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96jj6MA94Gw
     
  17. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

    Age:
    73
    Posts:
    15,347
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Location:
    Mint Hill, NC
    nice piece o' work, John!
     
  18. jlrich

    jlrich Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Marion, NC
    Thanks Woody.

    Hope all is well.
     
  19. Leon Grizzard

    Leon Grizzard Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,660
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    I got to play a couple of times recently with pedal steel player Jim Grabowske, who is a really great C6 neck player (and who played with Hank Williams on his last gig before he died; Skyline Club here in Austin). Anyway, we were talking chords and turnarounds and the later sent me an email with the chords he plays the Nightlife into with. He messed it up because he wasn't sitting at his steel, so I won't repeat what he said, except that there is no G7 or dominant chord at the end. He ends back on CM7 for the fourth chord, and then starts off on C major for the first line of singing. It sounded wrong to me, having played G7 for so long, but I check out a couple of videos of Buddy Emmons playing it, and I think he's right; the resolution sound comes from the CM7 to C: the notes G F E taking the place of G7 to C. Here is Buddy, in D; tell me what you think:



     
  20. Big Smokey

    Big Smokey Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    606
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Nashville TN
    Opening up an old post. I am working with an artist who loves to cover this song.
    Leon- I like your idea of it resolving with a Cm7. That works perfectly as I learned it with a Gaug7 which is for all intents is voiced almost identically...
    Great song and great way for country and rock players to start learning jazz voicings and melodies, in my opinion.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.