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Maroon 5's new song, 'Memories,' is basically Pachelbel's Canon

If you're going to copy, then copy the great masters, right?

If you're going to copy, then copy the great masters, right?

Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs during the Super Bowl halftime show at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta, Ga. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Rolling Stone describes Maroon 5's latest song, "Memories," as a "reflective, sentimental track" that "looks back on good times past with someone who's no longer here." It is all those things, as well as being a catchy vehicle for Adam Levine's expressive singing.

But what they don't say is that the chord progression on which "Memories" is built comes from Johann Pachelbel's perennial popular Canon in D, familiar nowadays from its widespread use in wedding processions and TV commercials.

Maroon 5 has borrowed Pachelbel's immortal eight-chord progression (I-V-vi-iii-IV-I-IV-V), set it in B major, and used it for the band's immediately identifiable brand of reggae-pop. It works.

Compare the two tracks below: