Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 5 Songbook

The Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 5 collection features twelve piano solo arrangements for intermediates and up by Jennifer Eklund. Includes favorites like, "1979" (Smashing Pumpkins), "Learn To Fly" (Foo Fighters) "There She Goes" (The La's) and "Teenage Dirtbag" (Wheatus).

This post is part six of the Pop Rock Favorites Songbook Series.
Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 5 Songbook

🎸 About the Pop Rock Favorites songbook series:

Pop rock is a genre of music that emerged in the late-20th century, combining elements of both pop and rock music styles. It is characterized by catchy melodies, straightforward song structures, and a focus on hooks that are easily accessible to a broad audience. Pop rock songs typically feature a strong emphasis on vocals and harmonies, often accompanied by electric guitars, drums, and other traditional rock instruments. This genre is known for its radio-friendly sound, making it a staple of mainstream music charts and appealing to a wide range of listeners.

These song selections are drawn primarily from the 1990s and 2000s and feature tracks played often on the PopRocks channel on SiriusXM (channel 12) and the arrangements are appropriate for intermediates and up.

🎶 Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 5 Songbook

The following twelve songs are included in the Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 5 songbook.

These are all available as separate singles, but you get the most value by purchasing the whole collection. All of these arrangements are appropriate for intermediates and up.

  1. 1979 (Smashing Pumpkins)
  2. Everybody Talks (Neon Trees)
  3. Here Without You (3 Doors Down)
  4. It’s Time (Imagine Dragons)
  5. Learn to Fly (Foo Fighters)
  6. Mr. Jones (Counting Crows)
  7. Teenage Dirtbag (Wheatus)
  8. The Walker (Fitz & The Tantrums)
  9. The Way (Fastball)
  10. There She Goes (The La’s)
  11. Why Can’t I? (Liz Phair)
  12. Your Woman (White Town)

🎹 Watch a performance of the entire volume:

Let’s dive deeper with some more details about a few of my personal favorites from Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 5 songbook.

1. “1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins (1996)

“1979” is a song by the American alternative rock band the Smashing Pumpkins. It was released in 1996 as the second single from their third studio album, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.” The song was written by the band’s frontman, Billy Corgan, and features loops and samples that were unusual for the Smashing Pumpkins at the time.

The song serves as a nostalgic coming-of-age story, reflecting Corgan’s own experiences in the year 1979 when he was twelve years old, marking his transition into adolescence.

“1979” achieved commercial success, reaching number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts. It was also nominated for two Grammy Awards. Pitchfork Media ranked it at number 21 on their list of the “Top 200 Tracks of the 90s.”

The music video for “1979,” directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, portrays a day in the life of suburban teenagers in the 1970s, driving around in a 1972 Dodge Charger. The video captures the feeling of suburban boredom and disaffected youth. It won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Alternative Video in 1996.

A sequel to the video, for the song “Perfect,” was created, featuring the same characters as older individuals, and it humorously references the loss of the original footage of the “1979” video.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

2. “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees (2011)

“Everybody Talks” is the lead single from Neon Trees’ second studio album, “Picture Show.” Released in December 2011, it became a sleeper hit, reaching No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming the band’s highest-charting single at the time. The song was produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen and has sold over 2 million digital downloads as of October 2012.

The song draws inspiration from early 1960s pop music and was written by Tyler Glenn, who later revealed that it was about an ex-girlfriend who had spread rumors about his sexuality while he was closeted.

The music video for “Everybody Talks” includes both an animated version and a live-action version. The live-action video depicts the band at a 1950s-style drive-in theater watching a horror film called “Zombie Bikers From Hell.” In the film, the band members are attacked by zombies while playing music. Meanwhile, in the real world, a girl with red sunglasses seduces male patrons at the drive-in and reveals herself as a fire-breathing vampire who consumes them. The video combines elements of horror and campy humor.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

3. “Learn to Fly” by Foo Fighters (1999)

“Learn to Fly” is a song by the American rock band Foo Fighters, released as the lead single from their third studio album, “There Is Nothing Left to Lose,” in October 1999. It marked several milestones for the band, becoming their first song to enter the Billboard Hot 100 and their second-highest charting song on the Hot 100, reaching number 19. The song also achieved success in various other countries.

In addition to its chart performance, “Learn to Fly” received critical acclaim and won the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video in 2001. The music video, directed by Jesse Peretz, parodies the movie “Airplane!” and features the band members in various roles on a commercial airliner, where a humorous chain of events unfolds, including the accidental consumption of narcotics-laced coffee.

The song’s release included a two-disc CD set in the UK, Australia, and Europe, along with promotional singles for radio play in different countries. “Learn to Fly” also set a record by spending 13 weeks at number one on the Canadian rock radio charts. The video’s concept and execution, coupled with the song’s catchy rock sound, contributed to its popularity and acclaim.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

4. “Mr. Jones” by Counting Crows (1993)

“Mr. Jones” is the debut single by the American rock band Counting Crows, released in December 1993 as the lead single from their first album, “August and Everything After.” The song marked the band’s breakthrough, reaching number five on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay charts and topping the charts in Canada. It has been described as the band’s breakout single.

The song’s lyrics revolve around struggling musicians who aspire to fame, with the belief that popularity will alleviate their loneliness. However, as the band’s lead vocalist and songwriter, Adam Duritz, later recanted these values, the song’s meaning took on a more complex dimension. Duritz has performed variations of the song’s lyrics in live shows to reflect these changing perspectives.

While some speculate that the song’s reference to wanting to be “Bob Dylan” relates to the protagonist in Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man,” Duritz clarified that the song was more about his friend Marty Jones, although it reflected his own experiences.

The song received generally positive reviews, with some noting its folk-pop sound and Duritz’s distinctive voice. It was named Single of the Week by HMV and found favor with critics for its relatable themes.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

5. “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus (2000)

Bet you thought this was a Weezer song!

“Teenage Dirtbag” is a song by the American rock band Wheatus, released on June 20, 2000, as the lead single from their self-titled debut album. The song, written by guitarist and vocalist Brendan B. Brown, was inspired by a childhood experience and has achieved significant success, especially in Australia.

The song tells the story of Brendan B. Brown’s childhood in 1984 when a Satanic, drug-induced ritual teen homicide occurred on Long Island. The perpetrator of the crime, Ricky Kasso, was arrested while wearing an AC/DC T-shirt, leading to the misconception that fans of rock music were somehow connected to such acts. The song’s chorus, “I’m just a teenage dirtbag,” is a defiant response to this stereotype.

“Teenage Dirtbag” received critical acclaim for its catchy melody and cool lyrics about teenage alienation. It was seen as an anthem for those who felt like outsiders during high school.

Commercially, the song reached number one in Australia, Austria, and Flanders. It also peaked at number two in the United Kingdom, becoming a massive hit in Europe and Australia. Surprisingly, it did not chart on the US Billboard Hot 100 but reached number seven on the Alternative Songs chart.

The music video for “Teenage Dirtbag,” directed by Jeff Gordon, features Jason Biggs as a nerdy character and Mena Suvari as his love interest. The video tells a different story from the film “Loser,” which is based on the song’s lyrics. It was nominated for Best Video at the Kerrang! Awards.

In 2016, Wheatus re-recorded the song because the original multitrack masters were lost. They meticulously recreated every element of the song, including the distorted snare drum caused by a recording error in the original, taking two years to complete.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

6. “Your Woman” by White Town (1997)

“Your Woman” is a song by British music producer White Town, released in January 1997 as the lead single from the album “Women in Technology.” The song incorporates a muted trumpet line sampled from a 1932 recording of “My Woman” by Lew Stone and his Monseigneur Band.

The track achieved significant success, reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart and also topping charts in Iceland, Israel, and Spain. It reached the top 10 in 12 other countries and peaked at number 23 in the United States.

The song’s unique blend of genres and catchy melody received positive reviews from critics. It was noted for combining elements of indie-pop, funk from the 1970s, ’80s electro-pop, and ’90s boom-bap hip-hop. The lyrics explored various perspectives on love and relationships, offering a subversive take on gender dynamics.

The music video for “Your Woman” was produced in black and white silent film style, featuring elements of old-fashioned acting, cinematography, and editing reminiscent of 1920s expressionist films. It used metaphors, circular masks, and match cuts to create a visually engaging narrative.

The song received praise from artists like Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields and was ranked as one of the best tracks of the 1990s by Pitchfork. Slant Magazine included it in their list of “The 100 Best Singles of the 1990s,” highlighting its subversive gender politics and catchy arrangement.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

🤔 Looking for more Pop Rock sheet music? We’ve got you covered!

👋 Do you have a favorite Pop Rock tune from this volume? I’d love to hear about it!

Jennifer Eklund
Written by Jennifer Eklund
Jennifer Eklund holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music from California State University, Long Beach. She is an avid arranger, composer, and author of the Piano Pronto® method books series as well as a wide variety of supplemental songbooks. She is also a Signature Artist with Musicnotes.com with a large catalog of popular music titles for musicians of all levels.


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