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How to Play “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” by The Band on Guitar

“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” is a classic song by The Band, written by Robbie Robertson and released in 1969. The song tells the story of Virgil Caine, a Confederate soldier who witnesses the end of the American Civil War and the destruction of the South. The song has been covered by many artists, such as Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, and The Black Crowes. In this article, we will show you how to play the song on guitar using chords, tabs, and video lessons.

Chords

The song is in the key of C major and uses the following chords: C, Am, F, Dm, D/F#, Fmaj7, Gsus4, G/B, Bb, F/A, and Ddim/Ab. You can play these chords in open position or with a capo on the first fret. Here are the chord diagrams for both options:

 
[Verse 1]
Am       C/G                      F             C/E      Dm
  Virgil Caine is the name, and I served on the Danville train
Am               C/G              F           C/E     Dm
 'Til Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again
Am/E               F           C/G          Dm
 In the winter of '65, We were hungry, just barely alive
Am/E               F                         C/G      Dm            D/F#
 By May the tenth, Richmond had fell, it's a time I remember, oh so well
 
 
[Chorus 1]
    C/G        Fmaj7           C/G           Fmaj7
The night they drove Old Dixie down, and the bells were ringing
    C/G        Fmaj7           C/G           Fmaj7
The night they drove Old Dixie down, and the people were singin' 
          C/G             Am            Gsus4           F               |    C   |  %  |
They went:  Naah, na, na, naah, na, na  Na, na, na, na, naah, na, na, na, na    [Link 2)
 
 
[Verse 2]
Am                     C/G             F           C/E       Dm
  Back with my wife in Tennessee, when one day she called to me
Am         C/G              F              C/E       Dm
  "Virgil, quick, come see, there goes the Robert E. Lee!"
Am/E               F                    C/G               Dm
  Now I don't mind choppin' wood, and I don't care if the money's no good
   Am/E                     F
Ya take what ya need and ya leave the rest
                C/G        Dm             D/F#
But they should never have taken the very best
 
 
[Chorus 2]
    C/G          Fmaj7         C/G           Fmaj7
The night they drove Old Dixie down, and the bells were ringing
    C/G        Fmaj7           C/G           Fmaj7
The night they drove Old Dixie down, and the people were singin'
           C/G            Am
They went:  Naah, na, na, naah, na, na  
                                               2/4
Gsus4               F                |   C  C | F |  C  |  N.C.  |
Na, na, na, na, na, naah, na, na, na       (Link 3)
 
 
[Verse 3]
Am                 C/G      F      C/E      Dm
  Like my father before me, I will work the land
Am                 C/G      F          C/E   Dm
  Like my brother above me, who took a rebel stand
       Am/E           F                      C               Dm
He was just eighteen, proud and brave, but a Yankee laid him in his grave
Am/E                   F
  I swear by the mud below my feet
          C                  Dm                D/F#
You can't raise a Caine back up when he's in defeat
 
 
[Chorus 3]
    C/G        Fmaj7           C/G           Fmaj7
The night they drove Old Dixie down, and the bells were ringing
    C/G        Fmaj7           C/G           Fmaj7
The night they drove Old Dixie down, and the people were singin'  
           C/G            Am
They went:  Naah, na, na, naah, na, na  
Gsus4           F                 |  C    | G/B Bb | F/A Ddim/Ab | C/G D/F# |
Na, na, na, na, naah, na, na, na        (Link 4)
 
 
[Chorus 4] (fade out)
    C/G        Fmaj7           C/G           Fmaj7
The night they drove Old Dixie down, and the bells were ringing,
    C/G        Fmaj7           C/G           Fmaj7
The night they drove Old Dixie down, and the people were singin'.  
          C/G             Am            Gsus4           F               |    C   |  %  |
They went:  Naah, na, na, naah, na, na  Na, na, na, na, naah, na, na, na    [Link 2)

Tabs

To play the song with tabs, you need to follow the chord progression and the melody line. The tabs show you which strings and frets to pluck with your fingers. You can also use a pick if you prefer. Here are the tabs for the intro, verse, and chorus sections of the song:

Video Lessons

If you want to learn the song by watching video lessons, you can find many tutorials online. Some of them teach you how to play the song in different styles, such as acoustic, electric, or fingerstyle. Here are some video lessons that we recommend:

The Band – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Official Video)

[How to Play The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down by The Band on Guitar]

[The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – Joan Baez – Acoustic Guitar Lesson]

[The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson]

Conclusion

“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” is a beautiful and poignant song that captures the history and emotions of the Civil War era. It is also a great song to play on guitar, as it has simple chords and a catchy melody. We hope this article helped you learn how to play the song on guitar using chords, tabs, and video lessons. Have fun playing and singing along!

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