In the classic movie, The Breakfast Club, as well as many parodies that followed, “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds was absolutely iconic. But strictly musically speaking, there isn’t too much to it! There is, however, a few cool things that make this song stand out, and they’re also why I chose to teach this song on YouTube in the first place:
Borrowed harmonies — chords from outside the key
It’s a very fresh sound to toggle back and forth between the tonic (E major) and a chord that is actually not even in the key of E (here, D major). So we take this major chord harmony and we plane it down by a whole step, essentially changing keys for a very brief time. This is not very common in rock and pop music, so it’s a nice excuse to point it out and work on it here.
A cool syncopation!
Right after the first phrase of the chorus (“don’t you…”), there is a little ‘hiccup’ of sorts in the beat. I’ve always loved that moment because it jumps out at you unexpectedly. And it also makes it a little harder to come in with the second chord (that borrowed D major), because it shakes up our steady pulse just a bit.
Now it’s your turn to play “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds on piano
If you love using your favorite songs to learn the piano, check out “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds on the Playground Sessions YouTube channel. If you like what you see you can download the app to learn the rest with our interactive sheet music.
For more blog posts by Playground Teacher Phil Anderson, click here.
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