You know Pachelbel’s Canon in D. You do, maybe you just don’t recognize the title. But you’ve heard it. Here, listen and watch Pachelbel’s Canon performed by Voices of Music. Or if you like the visual representations of Stephen Malinowski, you can see his rendering of Pachelbel’s Canon here (the performers are also Voices of Music).
Yes, that one. Sadly, despite its soothing beauty, it has become a cliché. It has been used on television, in commercials (this commercial is clever and ridiculous), and to accompany many wedding walks down the aisle.
It’s ingenious. It’s insidious. It’s wildly successful. It doesn’t stop with Pachelbel.
There are countless songs that use the series of chords he uses. So many, in fact, that lists have been compiled. Here’s a site listing its use in popular culture. Here is a YouTube playlist of popular songs using the Pachelbel’s Canon progression. And these lists leave out older songs such as Procol Harum’s Whiter Shade of Pale, Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, Autumn Leaves, and the Village People’s Go West.
In fact, this pattern has become so pervasive, it seems to have sent one former cellist over the edge, and I leave you today with his wonderful musical rant on Pachelbel’s Canon. Enjoy!