Craptastic Chording (with a bonus funny!)
I'm continually amazed at how bad fake sheets are on the internet. I mean, I'm perfectly aware that looking at sheet music (or what passes for such) on the internet is legally exactly the same as downloading mp3s, but it doesn't feel like it, you know? But that said, you're much more likely to find a good quality mp3 of a given track than an accurate transcription of the chord progression in that track. I have it in my head that every single lead sheet, fake sheet, and tab transcription on the internet was done by first-year Steve Vai wannabes at GIT and Berklee. Well, not Berklee, because you actually have to be able to read music to get in to the first year program there. So just GIT.
Anyways, I learn new chords and chord progressions by picking insanely complex jazz and pop songs from times past and learning how to play them; this is also how I practice guitar, an instrument I could be much better at. Tonight's goal was to learn the basic progression for "My Funny Valentine," which is a classic (and probably the best) example of the Im-Im(maj7)-Im7-Im6 progression, as heard in "Michelle," "What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life," and about 70 other standards. It isn't in any of the fake books I have (surprisingly) so I go a-huntin', certain in advance of the comedic value, but fairly convinced I can parse out the major parts if I at least have a pretty good starting point. Just for clarity's sake, we're talking about the Tony Bennett version of the song, not the Elvis Costello or Miles Davis versions.
(As a brief digression, the Elvis Costello version has a fucking fantastic variation on this theme, with a decending bassline that just slays. But it is very nearly impossible to play on guitar, unless you have 8-inch-long fingers, which I don't.)
Anyways, look at the first hit (screenshot above) I went to when searching. The Bonus Funny is the auto-generated Google ad, "You can play guitar exactly like Tony Bennett!" Yeah, he's well-known for his six-string virtuosity. Sure. I should have kept clicking right then, but I made the mistake of looking at the chord progression. If you were paying attention above, you'll note that I said that "My Funny Valentine" is the best example of the oft-used Im-Im(maj7)-Im7-Im6 structure. Look at the progression in the screenshot. Try to play that, and see how fucking WRONG it sounds. I mean, really. It's a fucking Am(maj7), not a fucking Am7. One note off, and you've got a trainwreck.
Visiting several other sites, I didn't find a single example that bore even a passing resemblance to the original. I mean, I'm not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth or anything, but shit. If you can't pull it off in the first place, why bother, you know? I now imagine a wedding band having to do this tune, and the leader of the band making fake sheets from that site. I wonder if they'd get paid at the end of the night.
(For extra bonus digression, this progression is also used to good effect in the second half of the bridge of "Cry Me A River," another standard which I can already play fine, thank you very much.)