Key to the Highway

Eric Clapton

Key To the Highway Eric Clapton and B.B. King From the album ‘Riding with the King’
This tab is completely my own work. It’s my first tab, so it’s not 100% accurate. Also, this tab does not show timings, so you’ll have to listen to the song for accurate timings. This is an easy Clapton/King song that should give you more rhythm ideas and increase your repertoire of blues licks.
Rhythm ideas:
The chord pattern is A, E7, F#m, A, E7, A Here are some rhythm ideas that are used throughout the song:
e|-/9-9-9-9-9-9-9-----------10101010-----2-2-2-2- B|-/10101010101010----------9-9-9-9------2-2-2-2- G|-/9-9-9-9-9-9-9-----------9-9-9-9------2-2-2-2- D|-----------------/11-10-9-9-9-9-9------4-4-4-4- A|---------------------------------------4-4-4-4- E|-----------------------------------0-1-2-2-2-2- etc etc A E7 F#m
There are countless variations on this theme throughout the song, so you can stick to the chord shapes shown or make up your own variations.
Chord pattern example: verse 1: I’ve got the key to the highway A E7 Be allowed that I do go F#m Gonna leave here runnin’ A Walkin’s most too slow E A (turnaround)
Here’s a simple turnaround idea, which can be expanded upon if you like, although you don’t have to include a turnaround at all.
e|----------------- B|--5-3-2-1-------- G|----------------- D|----------------- A|-7-5-4-3-2-0-1-2- E|-----------------
Here’s an example of a fill that’s sometimes used when changing from A to E:
A|---2-0----- E|-0-----3-0-
Lead: This lead section is fairly accurate, although again timing is not shown. It isn’t clear which parts Clapton or King play throughout this song.
Intro lead: e|----------------------------12b14-12b14-12-10---------------- B|-12b14-12b14-12b14-12b14-12-------------------13-12----12---- G|----------------------------------------------------14----11-
e|---------------------12----------------------12-11-10---------- B|------12b14-12b14-15----12b14-12-------10-------------13h14---- G|-11-14---------------------------11-14-11-14----------------14-
e|----------------- B|-7h8-5---------5- G|-------7-5-5h6---
In the verses some parts are played after the sung parts, whereas other parts continue into the sung parts etc. You’ll have to listen to the song to know when to play each bit.
Verse 1 lead – Clapton sings e|----------------------7------------------- B|----------10---8b9-10---------10-10------- G|-------6/9-------------9-7/11------11----- D|----7-9------------------------------12--- A|-7-9-------------------------------------- E|------------------------------------------
e|-12b14-12-10-10------------9------------------------ B|----------------13-13-10-------------------------10- G|-------------------------11---9p7p6---9------9-11--- D|----------------------------------------9h11-------- A|---------------------------------------------------- E|----------------------------------------------------
e|--------------------------------- B|-11/13-12-12-10--10-10/14-------- G|-x-------------11-----------12--- D|-------------------------14---14- A|--------------------------------- E|---------------------------------
Verse 2 lead – King sings In this verse there is hardly any lead guitar at all. For most of the verse the only lead guitar to be heard is this: B|-10 G|-11 So you can improvise a lead using ideas from the licks in this tab. At the end of the verse there is a bit of lead:
e|------------------7/9---------- B|-13-12-12-10-10---------------- G|----------------9-----9-9-9—-9- D|-----------------------------9- A|------------------------------- E|-------------------------------
Verse 3 lead – Clapton sings
B|----------10-------------------------------------------13-10- G|-------6-9---------------------------10---------------------- D|----7-9---------8-11b12r11-9---9-9/11------------------------ A|-7-9-------------------------11------------------------------ E|-------------------------------------------------------------
e|----9\7---------------------------------------------------5-7-5- B|------------------------10-8------------------------5----------- G|-11-----9----6-7-8-9—9-------9-7------------------6---4-6------- D|-----------9---------------------10p7-10b11-7-7----------------- A|---------------------------------------------------------------- E|----------------------------------------------------------------
e|-5-5--9-9-9-9-9-9-9---12b14-12-10------------------------------- B|-5—5-10101010101010—10------------14-13-12-10-----10--10-------- G|-6-6--9-9-9-9-9-9-9---------------------------9/11--10—-11------ D|-7-7-------------------------------------------------------11--- A|-------------------------------------------------------------12- E|----------------------------------------------------------------
e|-12b14r12-12-10-9-----------------------------12-10---------- B|------------------13-13-10-----10-12b14r12-10-------13-12-10- G|---------------------------9-11------------------------------ D|------------------------------------------------------------- A|------------------------------------------------------------- E|-------------------------------------------------------------
e|-------------------------------------------------- B|-----------------14b16r14-14-10-8-7-------------5- G|-12b13-11-9--7-9--------------------10-9--------5- D|----------------------------------------11------6- A|------------------------------------------12----7- E|--------------------------------------------12----
Solo contd (GTR II) Note that the beginning of this solo can be used as a rhythm idea elsewhere in the song. The rhythm guitar plays this solo section, while the lead guitar plays the occasional note in the background.
e|-/9-9-9-9-9-9-9-----------10---10--10-12------2-------------------- B|-/10101010101010-----------9-9---10-----------2-----10-12b13-12b13- G|-/9-9-9-9-9-9-9------------9------------------2-9/11--------------- D|------------------/11-10-9-9------------------4-------------------- A|----------------------------------------------4-------------------- E|-----------------------------------------12\2-2--------------------
e|------------------------------------------------------------------ B|-12b13-12b13-12b13r12-10h12p10-10-10-8---------------------------- G|---------------------------------------9------------------9------- D|-----------------------------------------12-9h11------/11---12-11- A|-------------------------------------------------12--------------- E|------------------------------------------------------------------
e|------------------------------------------------------------------- B|-----------------------------------------------------------5---5-5- G|----------------9-7/9-9-7/9-7/9-7-5—7/5------------------6---6----- D|----------------------------------------7---77-55-44-2------------- A|-12---------------------------------------0------------------------ E|---12-10-11-12-----------------------------------------------------
That’s pretty much it. There’s no need for me to tab out the last two verses, since you can make up / improvise your own lead using the many blues licks scattered throughout this tab. The outro is similar to the intro, but with minor variations.
Key to the tablature: h = hammer-on p = pull-off x = mute string with fretting hand and play it b = bend to next note to pitch of next note r = release bent note to pitch of next note / or \ = slide to next note
I got the key To the highway Be allowed that I do go Gonna leave here runnin’ Walkin’s most too slow
I’m goin’ back To the border Baby where I’m better known Because you haven’t done nothin’ baby But drive a good man from home
When the moon Beats on the mountain Well then I’ll be on my way I’m gonna roam the highway Until the break of day
Oh give me one More kiss darlin’ Just before I go ‘Cos when I leave this time, little girl I won’t be back no more
I got the key (I got the key) To the highway (To the highway) Be allowed that I do go (I gotta go I gotta go) I’m gonna leave here runnin’ (Mmm-hmmm) Walkin’ is most too slow.
Email me with any corrections/suggestions - JK

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