Pachelbel's Canon: The foundation of oh so many songs

I love Pachelbel’s Canon in D, it is a very calming, soothing song. It has just enough tempo to keep the lay listener interested, but not so much as to malign the classical ear.

According to Rob Paravonian the cello part is rather dull, 8 notes (D A B F# G D G A), repeated 54 times. He was a cellest, now he plays guitar and is a stand-up-comedian. Here’s his Pachelbel Rant:

I would sit back and listed to the violins get lovely melodies, the violas would get lovely melodies, the second violins would get lovely melodies, which should just not happen! And the cello, we got stuck with 8 crappy, lousy, stinking notes.

And I began to wonder why, why would Pachelbel do that to us, such a beautiful instrument. And my theory was that he once dated a cellist, and she dissed him really bad. And for the rest of his life he came up with the worst cello part you could ever think of.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t hear him every day. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Rob, don’t listen to classical radio anymore.” It doesn’t matter. Pachelbel’s following me. It sounds paranoid, but he’s following you too. You hear him every day.

In his rant he lists several songs that all use the same theme as Pachelbel’s Canon, which got me thinking… How many songs out there have the same cords as Pachelbel’s Canon? What would they sound like back-to-back in a playlist?

So I’d like to enlist your help (Darby, Bryce, and all you music afficianados out there), help me put together a list of songs that use Pachelbel’s cords. Here’s are the songs from the Rant (as best as I could identify them, please comment with any corrections, additions, or deletions):

  • Pachelbel, Canon in D
  • Vitamin C, Graduation Song
  • Aerosmith, Under My Skin Crying (hat tip to Nauti)
  • The Original Caste, One Tin Soldier
  • Blues Traveler, Runaround Hook (hat tip to Ellen)
  • GreenDay, Basket Case
  • Better than Ezra, Good
  • Bush, Machinehead
  • Matchbox 20, Push
  • U2, With or Without You
  • Natalie Imbruglia, Torn
  • Avril Lavigne, Skater Boy
  • Twisted Sister, We’re Not Gunna Take It
  • Theme to Laverene and Shirley
  • Bob Marley, No, Woman, No Cry
  • The Beatles, Let it Be

(Also, I’d be interested in acquiring all of these songs, just FYI).

Put your thinking tukes on and comment with some more songs with the same cords!

19 Responses to Pachelbel's Canon: The foundation of oh so many songs

  1. ellen says:

    The song by Blues Traveler is Hook.

  2. Joe says:

    Thanks for the tip, Ellen! I’ve gone back up and correct the original post.

  3. nauti says:

    Actually the song by Aerosmith is Crying.

  4. Joe says:


    I did a Google search on “lyrics ‘there was a time when I was so broken hearted’” and it looks like you’re right! Thanks!

  5. Joe says:

    Here’s another one: All Together Now by The Farm, on “Spartacus”

  6. nauti says:

    You’re welcome Joe!
    Thanks to you for the great list! ^-^

  7. David says:

    Go West by Pet Shop Boys as well as a song I think by Coolio. Can’t think of the name of that one though.

  8. Koletas says:

    Another one that remains the canon is Secret from the No use for a name LP called Making friends
    At the time 2:14 begins the canon.

  9. joerg says:

    Rihanna “Take a bow” :-)

  10. Joe says:

    Thanks, Joerg! Although Rihanna’s is only the first half the the cannon, it’s definitely there and a very interesting take on it!

    I was listening to Pandora today and heard Shine by Cyndi Lauper on her Shine LP, it’s a much more subtle cannon thread, but it’s in there, particularly in the opening few measures of the song.

  11. Joe says:


    It took me a while to find the song, but sure enough, the guitar solo in the middle is classic Cannon. If you listen closely the string running through the whole song is Cannon, too!

  12. Chet says:

    beat of my heart by hilary duff has the pachebel and I have all the songs on that list and edited them where Rob sang them it is SOOOOOO true what he said

  13. Chet says:

    you have 3 mistakes in the names… 1st
    Crying is Cryin’, Skater Boy is Sk8r Boi, and We’re not gunna take it is, We’re Not Gonna Take it. also I’m not 100% sure but I think No, Woman, No Cry is No Woman, No Cry

  14. Paul says:

    As the deer by Nystrom

  15. Paul says:

    anybody know where there’s a complete lyrics for the Pachelbel rant. I’d like to work it up and add it to my repertoire

  16. richard says:

    From mentioned eariler on but not added to the list:
    C U When U Get There by Coolio
    Dragostea Din Tei by Ozone (not sure if it is the whole chord sequence or just half)

  17. dubel says:

    “Plain White T's – 1234″ is kind of pachelbelly, too.

  18. LittleSocrates says:

    Hey, found another one.

    Somewhere in the Between by Streetlight Manifesto, within five seconds of the song starting. XD

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