Sleeping On The Sidewalk

Meter: 4/4 shuffle beat
Keys: bluesy B-major
Form:

          | Intro | Verse | Chorus |
                  | Verse'| Chorus |
         | Bridge | Verse | Chorus |
           | Solo 2 (Verse-Chorus) |
| Bridge | Solo 2 (Verse) | Chorus'|


Blues songs usually aren't very complicated. Neither is this one; hence this analysis is short. We have square phrasing throughout, a basic drum part, blue notes, and a predominantly single-note style guitar accompaniment, which Brian admittedly wrote with Eric Clapton in mind. While this song is one of the band's most out-of-style efforts, the record embodies the spontaneous flavor of the "News" album in the most extreme way: it was May's quickest-written song, a first take, with hardly any overdubs (except the harmony vocals). In both the guitar and bass part you can find little mistakes. Brian's less trained vocal suits this storytelling song perfectly. The harmony doesn't follow the 12-bar blues cliche, but resembles it very much if we take the Verse-Chorus couplet as one section. Take away the first phrase of the Verse and there you have it! The form follows the two-bridge model with verse-chorus couplets.

Walkthrough

Intro
The rhythm of the Intro is interesting. For first it sounds as an ad-lib figure making one wonder why does it start with an "1-2-3" count-in. If you continue that count-in (and you have a good sense of rhythm), the count-in turns out to be in synchron with the rest of the song! It's still disorienting rhythmically until you "learn" it. We have no chords, but the tune stops on F# with a dominant flavor.

Verse
It's square eight measure long with AABA sub-phrasing. The lead vocal uses a "blue" bent third (m3>M3), bass - a major third, and the guitar - a minor third. We still have no chords, just hints.

B:
/---------- 2x ---------\\
| "B" | -   | -   | -   |
|  I  | -   | -   | -   |

The lead vocal is simple, uses flat seventh and "blue" third, and moves in a tight range.

Second Verse ends differently: in measure seven the rhythm is syncopated (about the only special rhythm figure in the song), the chord is Bm7; the bass plays the root and the guitar plays a D major chord.

Solo 2 - Verse: it's a simple blues solo. The lead vocal returns for the last two measures where the guitar plays those D chords with a B bass (in figure).

Chorus
The square eight measure Chorus is a continuation of the Verse. Compared to the Verse, the vocal range gets extended upwards. The harmony is open at both ends. The lyrics are a little varied in sympathy with the story being told.

B:
| E(sus4)| -   | "B" | -   |
| IV     | -   |  I  | -   |

|F#(sus4)|(E ) | "B" | F#  |
|  V     |(IV) |  I  | V   |

Except the first and the instrumental choruses, the lead vocal gets a simple harmony part (unisono at its end).
The last Chorus has three-part harmonies, and the last chord is B7.

Bridge
The square eight measure Bridge has two phrases (4+4 AA'). The harmony is open at both ends (see also "Hammer To Fall") and we have somewhat more chords instead of just those single-note figures.

B:
| E(sus4)| -   | B   | -   |
| IV     | -   | I   | -   |

| E(sus4)| -   | F#  | "E" |
| IV     | -   | V   | IV  |

The lead vocal's range is the highest among the three sections. This reflects enhanced feelings.