Instructional: How to play “Wild Night” by Van Morrison

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An introduction to a song we’ve been learning in class this last week, the classic by Van Morrison, “Wild Night.”

For quick reference, the song has three basic components (but here is the full version of the chords and lyrics I’m borrowing from:

Verse 1 

Em                                        G
As you brush you shoes, and stand before the mirror

Em                                          G
As you comb your hair, and grab your coat and hat

Em                                     G
And you walk wet streets, trying to remember

C                               D                        G
With all the wild nights breezing in your memory ever

Pre Chorus / Transition 

Em                  C
And ev’rything looks so complete

Em                         C
When you’re walkin’ out on the street

Em                        C
And the wind catches your feet

And sends you flyin’, cryin’


Em           C           D           Em

D           G
The Wild Night is calling



3 thoughts on “Instructional: How to play “Wild Night” by Van Morrison

    dkernohan said:
    February 14, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    I want one of those buttons that speeds my guitar up while I tune it.

    phb256 said:
    February 15, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I’ve always played a G chord with the B string open, but it looks like you’re playing a D on the B string. Is that just a matter of personal preference? Or is there a reason why you would play it one way or the other?

      bryanjack said:
      February 15, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      I began with the ‘three-fingered-G’ originally because it was easier to get to, but have generally favoured the four-fingered (with D playing on the B string) sound in recent years. Depending on how I’m strumming, I use some variation of two (with just the two top strings emphasized), three, four, or barred-Gs.

      In search of a ‘reasoning’ though, I found a more thorough understanding by way of Yahoo answers, though (

      “It makes very little difference in terms of changing what the G chord is. It comes down to personal taste. The G chord consists of three notes G B and D. The guitar has six strings so there are duplicates of notes, it merely comes down to whether you would rather repeat B or D. as they are both played elsewhere on different strings (the d on the 4th string open and the B on the fifth string second fret.) ”

      “The issue I have with the four fingered G is that the D is duplicated rather than the B being duplicated. The B is the third of the chord. In our harmony systems the third of the chord is what gives it the flavor. Open 5ths are considered to be a general no-no due to the emptiness of the sound. The four fingered G does include the B but he emphasis is on the 5th. The three fingered G emphasizes the thirds which, in modern harmony, sounds better.

      “As an aside, I would recommend fingering the three fingered G with your middle, ring and baby finger. Don’t use your index on it. This allows you to go to the C chord or the G7 with minimal movement. The four fingered G chord forces a lot of finger movement to have to take place to go to any chords that would naturally follow a G.

      “So the three fingered G is more in keeping with modern harmony (modern meaning the past couple of hundred years) and allows for more efficient finger movement.”

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