The chords to When You Were Sixteen are mostly straightforward but there are a few surprises along the way. Watch out for the A chord which isn’t really part of the key of G Major but which comes in very effectively at the beginning of the third line.
It’s not a key change as such but it could throw you. The line finishes on the chord of D. It then helps to add a D7 to lead you into the G chord on the opening line of the chorus. Use our chord converter to play the song in other keys.
Last night I dreamt I held you in my arms And once again you were my happy bride I kissed you as I did on ‘Auld Lang Syne’, As to the church we wandered side by side
Note on Fureys version of When You Were Sweet 16
The Fureys use same basic chords as shown above.
However, some guitar tabs and songbooks will show added chords such Gmaj7 or Em7.
While this may present no problem for experienced musicians it can be a little confusing for others. The extra chords shown in some music books stem from the way the Fureys use a walking bass line to take them from one chord to another.
Try a walking bass line to add texture
For example, on the first G chord in the opening line, they have a bass line running down the scale from G to F# taking them to the E of Em.
When the F# is played, it effectively turns the G chord into Gmaj7.
The same thing happens between the C and Am chord at the end of the line. The bass line runs from C to B to the A of Am. When the B note is played it turns the C chord into Cmaj7.
This walking bass line and the extra chords they produce are not necessary to perform the song successfully but, of course, as The Fureys’ show, they do add a lot colour and texture.