Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers “Refugee”

November 1, 2009

Tom Petty made it clear that you don’t have to live like a refugee — and if you follow Benmont Tench’s example, you don’t have to play like one either. Benmont’s B-3 work on the classic hit makes the song soar, largely due to strong-yet-simple chords that he uses to lift up the chorus.

Power up your Hammond organ (or the best clonewheel software or hardware you can get your hands on), check out this month's cover story with exclusive videos, and dial in some ballsy drawbar settings just like Benmont shows you. Then play through the examples below to get a taste of the classic “Refugee” chorus.

[Click on images for larger versions. -Ed.]

Ex. 1. Here’s how you play the first big chord for the chorus of “Refugee,” an inverted F#m.

1109 Play It Refugee 1

Ex. 2. The next chord is an inverted A triad. Notice how you only need to move one finger to get to this chord from the previous F#m.

1109 Play It Refugee 2

Ex. 3. You have to shift two fingers to get to the next chord, an inverted E triad.

1109 Play It Refugee 3

Ex. 4. Land on this satisfying F#m inversion to complete the “Refugee” chorus chord progression.

1109 Play It Refugee 4

Ex. 5. Put it all together and you have the whole progression, written here in traditional music notation.

1109 Play It Refugee 5

Watch Benmont Tench play these chords — and share his drawbar secrets — in our exclusive videos here .

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