Blue Bayou is an iconic song written by Roy Orbison. While he made it a hit, Linda Ronstadt made it a classic. In this tutorial, I teach you how to sing and play piano on Blue Bayou.
Roy Orbison first recorded Blue Bayou in 1963 and it was a HUGE hit. Linda Rondstadt's 1977 cover was recorded on her Simple Dreams album and brought Blue Bayou into the spotlight once again. (So amazing - check it out!). Even though it’s in the key of B major, there are only a very few chords to learn.
Song learning protocol
For Blue Bayou, we are going to use our standard song learning protocol, which I outline in detail here.
Step #1: Learn the Chords
Step #2: Learn the groove
Step #3: Put it all together.
Let's Get Started!!
Lyrics and chords to Blue Bayou
To find the lyrics to any song, just do a Google search of the name of the song plus "lyrics and chords". You'll usually find a site like Ultimate Guitar, which will give you a chord chart like this one below.
Want to learn to reach a chord chart? Check out this lesson!
Below you'll find an excerpt of the lyrics and chords. The full chart is available to members only on The Versatile Musician membership site. Learn more.
Need to learn more chords?
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Next step: Learn the groove of Blue Bayou
The groove of Blue Bayou is the Tresillo rhythm. This pattern, though often considered a Latin American rhythm, shows up all over the place from Coldplay to oldies rock.
To get the coordination together, I strongly recommend that you spend some time tapping the rhythm along with the recording until you can sing and play it at the same time.
When you are ready, you can move it onto the piano.
Last step: Put it all together
Remember that you can (and should!) customize this song to fit your skill level. If the chord inversions are too challenging for you, then play them all in root position.
Try to avoid getting stuck in the little details! The goal is for you to learn to sing and play more songs - no drown in a pool of perfectionism! Have fun - it's only music!
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Want to check out the original versions of Blue Bayou?
Here is Linda Ronstadt's version of Blue Bayou, from a live performance she did in the late 1970s.