How To Play “What A Fool Believes,” a 2021 piano tutorial

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One of my first pop music memories was the massive 1979 smash “What A Fool Believes” by the Michael McDonald-led Doobie Brothers. It was a mainstay of pop music radio until the late 1980s before it was relegated to the oldies stations and now ‘yacht rock.’

It’s also got one of the most recognizable piano parts in the history of modern music — and once you know it, you know it. It’s not difficult, and on my YouTube channel I posted a video aiming to teach you how to play “What A Fool Believes.”

What A Fool Believes – Doobie Brothers

For anybody who has watched any of my piano tutorials, you’ll know that I believe the way to pick out a song is to first listen and master its bass line. It makes it a ton easier to pick out chords.

For “What A Fool Believes,” you’ll walk it down from Ab to F# to F before walking it back up from Eb to F to F# to A and then Bb.The verse to this No. 1 smash doesn’t wander too far off the intro’s path.And then you get to the part where Michael sings “As he rises to her apology,” it changes. The song takes you from an Ebm7 to a Gb/Ab and then a DbMaj, and then from an Ebm7 to a Gb/Ab to a Bbm7.

The chorus starts in F#m, going to an A/B.

Watch the tutorial video for a fairly quick, in-depth look into the song and how to play it — and remember: the bass line holds most of the secrets to the song.

If you dig my style of teaching, please subscribe to the channel. I definitely don’t record videos for pure beginners. Instead, I record tutorials for intermediate to advanced players to save them time when having to learn a new song. Heck, recording tutorials help me master the song I’m trying to learn!

Much love to you and thank you for supporting music and music education online!

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