Difficulty: Level I
Length: 9:26
Baba O’Riley Wikipedia pageWikipedia page
Baba O’Riley music videoArtist website
Baba O’Riley music videoMusic video
With our guitar tutorial on Baba O’Riley, you will learn these guitar skills:
  • Metronome
  • Power chords

This lesson is meant for early beginner guitarists learning about power chords, so if that’s you, you’re in the right place. The reason I chose to teach you guys Baba O’Riley isn’t really because of the awesomeness of the song, but more because it offers a great chance to learn to use power chords. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good song, but the fact that the entire song revolves around 3 power chords is more the reason you will be learning it.

It’s a simple song to get you going with those power chords to a familiar tune. If you’re wondering where you know it from, it’s the theme song of CSI New York.

We’ll start the lesson by learning all about power chords, what they are, how to form them on each string, and why they are useful. Next, we’ll learn the power chords you’ll use in Baba O’Riley.

The song in the key of F major. It uses the I-V-IV chords, so we’ll be playing the F, C, and Bb power chords.

I’ll actually teach you 3 variations of the F power chord, we’ll learn different voicings of it, and we’ll compare how they sound at different places on the guitar neck.

Once you are comfortable with the individual power chords, it’s time to connect the dots and play them in succession as you can hear it on the track. You’ll just do a single strum for each chord, in line with the rhythm of the song. I’ll explain the timing in the video.

At the end of the video, we’ll learn a simplified version of the keyboard riff played under the chords. It’s not a difficult phrase, but it's played super fast. You’ll form another voicing of the F power chord, and pluck at its individual notes. We’ll be using the metronome you can find on as well since you’ll need to build up to the speed of the song slowly.

Baba O'Riley song details

Baba O’Riley was released in 1971 by The Who. Some people call it Teenage Wasteland since it's repeated a lot in the song. If you're wondering about the title, it was given after Meher Baba, an Indian spiritual leader, and Terry Riley, a composer/musician, they were the philosophical and musical influences to the song.

Most people know the song from CSI New York, as a remixed version of it is used as the show's main theme song. In fact, all of the CSI series' use The Who song as their theme song.

Baba O'Riley is among Time magazine's list of the All-Time 100 Songs, it's in Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for being one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.

If you want to refine the skills you learned in Baba O’Riley, check out these lessons on songs by clicking these links:

Download tabs for Baba O’Riley

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Download backing track for Baba O’Riley

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