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Back on the Chain Gang  The Pretenders

>From: (Norman Lin)
>Subject: REQ: Pretenders' "Back on the chain gang"

From: (julius yang)
Well I finally sat down with the Singles CD and bashed this out. I can
play the riff at the beginning, but now that I don't have my guitar
in hand I forget it. Agh. I can't understand two places where Chrissy
is singing either--'crescending' and 'baggle' aren't words that I know
of, but that sounds like what she's saying. Corrections appreciated.
Back on the Chain Gang, the Pretenders
opening strum: D A G G D A G G
riff x2
[D]I found a [A]picture of yo[G]u oh[G]
What hijacked my world at nights
To a place in the past we've been passed out of oh
Now we're back in the fight
[Em]We're back on the [A]train (ooh, ah)
[A] Back on the [D]chain gang[A] [G] [G]
The circumstance beyond our control oh
The fool on TV and the news of the world
Got in the house like a pigeon from hell, oh
Crescending our eyes and descended like flies
Put us back on the train, yeah
Back on the chain gang
[D] [A] [G] [G]  
riff x2
Dm A Dm A and so on
The powers that be
That forces us to live like we do
Bring me to my knees
When I see what they've done to you
chord comping
I'll die as I stand here today
Knowing that deep in my heart
[A]Therefore to ruin one [Dm]day
[A]For making us [E]part-----
[E]I found a [B]picture of [A]you, [A]oh
Those were the happiest days of my life
Like a brick in the baggle was your part, oh
In the wretched life of a lonely heart
[F#m]Now we're back on the [B]train
[B] Back on the [E]chain gang
E B E B until end
[--] Internet member since 1988
From: Harlan L Thompson
D A Em7 D A Em7 (rpt over riff)
[D]I found a [A]picture of yo[Em7]u o[Gmaj7/B]h[G]
[D]What hijacked my w[A]orld that ni[Em7]ght[Gmaj7/B] [G]
[D]To a place in the p[A]ast we've been [Em7]cast out of [Gmaj7/B] oh[G]
[D] N[A]ow we're back in the f[Em7]ight[Gmaj7/B] [G]
[Em]We're back on the [A]train h[Em7]ey[A]
[Em]Aaaa[A]h, back on the chai[D]n gang[A] [D] [A]
Circumstance beyond our control oh
The phone, the TV, and the news of the world
Got in the house like a pigeon from hell, oh
Threw sand our eyes and descended like flies
Put us back on the train, yeah
Aaaaah, back on the chain gang
[D] [A] [Em7] [D] [A] [Em7] [D]  
[Dm]The po[A7]wers that b[Dm]e that fo[A7]rce us to live like we [Dm]do
B[A7]ring me to my k[Dm]nees when I s[A7]ee what they've done to y[Dm]ou[A7] [Dm] [A7]
[Dm]Well I'll d[A7]ie as I stand here tod[Dm]ay, k[A7]nowing that deep in my h[Dm]eart
Th[A7]ey'll fall to ruin one [Dm]day
For m[A7]aking us part--[E]---[B] [A]
[E]I found a pi[B]cture of yo[A]u, o[Amaj7/B]h[A/B]
[E]Those were the ha[B]ppiest days of my l[A]ife[Amaj7/B] [A/B]
[E]Like a break in the ba[B]ttle was your pa[A]rt,[Amaj7/B] oh[A/B]
[E]In the wretched li[B]fe of a lonely he[A]art[Amaj7/B] [A/B]
[A]Now we're back on th[B]e train, h[A]ey[B]
[A]Aaaa[A/B]h, back on the c[E]hain gang
B E B E (rpt and fade)
Em7: 0 2 2 0 3 0 Gmaj7/B: 3 2 4 0 0 2
Amaj7/B: x 0 6 6 5 4 A/B: x 7 7 6 5 5
NOTE: If you find Gmaj/B too hard to finger, try Bm in its place. Not
as accurate, but a hell of a lot easier.
(from Learning to Crawl, 1983)
(sent by Harlan at
From: (Adam Schneider)
Subject: CRD: "Back on the Chain Gang" (The Pretenders)
There are about three versions of this already in the archive, but none of
them is quite right. This one's a little better; someone sent it to me last
fall, and I recently cleaned it up because I wanted to play it.
Unfortunately, this might still have mistakes; I can't check because I don't
have the album. I'll have to see if I can get them to play it on the radio...

[All the work on this song was done by
(Norman Lin); I just cleaned it up a little for my own use.]
[D] [intA]ro; [G]slow[G] strum] [D] [barA]d st[G]rum] [G]
[D] [witA]h le[G]ad g[G]uitar] [D] [A] [G] [G]
[D] I found a [A]picture of you,[G] [Bm]ohh o[-]h-oh [G]ohh ohhh
[D] Oh, what [A]hijacked my world that [G]night?[Bm] [-] [G]
[D] To a place in the [A]past we've been cast [G]out of, [Bm]ohh o[-]h-oh [G]ohh ohhh
[D]Oh, [A] now we're back in the [G]fight[Bm] [-] [G]
Em A Em - Em* Asus4 - A - Asus2 - A
We're back on the train, yeah
[Em]Oh, [A]oh, back on the ch[D]ain gang[A] [G] [G]
Circumstance beyond our control, ohh oh-oh ohh ohhh
Oh, the phone, the TV, and the news of the world
Got in our house like a pigeon from hell (??), ohh oh-oh ohh ohhh
Oh, threw sand in our eyes, and descended like flies
Em A Em - Em* Asus4 - A - Asus2 - A
Put us back on the train, yeah
Em A Em - Em* Asus4 - A - Asus2 - A
Ohhh, ohhhhh
Back on the [D]chain gang[A] [G]
D A G G D A G G [3 beats]
[guitar solo, same as second part of intro] 
[Dm] The [A]powers that be[Dm] that [A]force us to live like we[(Dm)] do
[Dm]( [A] Bring me to my knees[Dm] when I [A]see what they've done to you
Dm* AaddF* Dm* AaddF*
[no vocals] 
[Dm] And will I [A]die as I stand here tod[Dm]ay, [A]knowing that deep in my [(Dm)]heart
[Dm](..heart) [A]They'll fall to ruin o[Dm]ne day, for [A]making us part
[E] [no vB]ocals[A]] [C#m] [-] [A]
[E] I found a [B]picture of you,[A] [C#m]ohh oh[-]-oh [A]ohh ohhh
[E] Oh, those were the [B]happiest days of my [A]life[C#m] [-] [A]
[E] Like a break in the [B]battle was your [A]part, [C#m]ohh oh[-]-oh [A]ohh ohhh
[E]Oh, in the wretched [B]life of a lonely [A]heart[C#m] [-] [A]
F#m B F#m - F#m* Bsus4 - B - Bsus2 - B
Now we're back on the train, yeah
[F#m]Oh, [A]oh, back on the ch[E]ain gang[B] [A] [A]
[E]Chain gang [B] [repeat and fade]
Funny chords:
Em*: 022003
F#m*: 244225
Dm*: x00231 - x00230 - x00231
AaddF*: x02220 - x02221 - x02220
Intro & Solo:
[D] [A]  
 e ------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------
 B ----------7--10-7-/ 10~------------/10--10-- 10~------------/10--10--
 G -------7----------- ------------------------ ------------------------
 D (7)-7-------------- ------------------------ ------------------------
 A ------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------
 E ------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------ 

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
 e ------------------------ ------------------------ -------
 B 10-p8---8---8--s7---7--- 7----------------------- -------
 G ------------------------ ----9---9--7b9--7---6--/ 7------
 D ------------------------ ------------------------ -------
 A ------------------------ ------------------------ -------
 E ------------------------ ------------------------ -------

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
(/=slide, p=pull off, b=bend, ~=vibrato)
For the ending two chords, arpeggiate as follows:
[E] [B]  

Adam Schneider Minneapolis, MN
If you want guitar chords for Mary Chapin Carpenter, Indigo Girls,
Mary Karlzen, Lucinda Williams, etc., mail me or check my home page:

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A A/B A7 Amaj7/B B Bm C#m D Dm E Em Em7 F#m G Gmaj7/B
Rate #2 of 10 versions

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