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Lean On Me Chords

Lean on me is one of my favorite songs. Written and performed by Bill Withers, it has lasted through the years as a classic of the musical world. It just so happens that it is also a very easy song to learn how to play! It is a simple chord progression in the simplest key of ‘C’. The lyrics with the chords written above them is at the bottom of the page.

Before moving on, I must say that If you are at all serious about learning to play the piano, you are going to need to learn from the right places. Make sure that you read some of the piano course reviews before you leave…they will definitely help you break through as a piano player.

Anyway, on to what you came here for…

Chords for Lean on Me

The chord progressions, like I mentioned above, is in the key of ‘C’ and starts on the root chord of that key…C!

NOTE: All of these chords are played in the first inversion, which just means that instead of the usual triad, you put the root note of the triad on the top instead of on the bottom of the chord. In the case of C, you would normally play the notes C, E and G. You play it in first inversion by playing it with the E as the root note (E, G, C) instead of C.

The chords you will need to know for this song are shown as right hand piano diagrams and notation below. The left hand is simply the natural root of the chord (ie C for the C First Inversion, etc.)

C First Inversion

Chords of Lean on Me - C First Inversion

Dm First Inversion

Chords for Lean on Me - D First Inversion

Em First Inversion

Chords for Lean on Me - Em First Inversion

F First Inversion

Chords for Lean on Me - F First Inversion

G7th Chord

Chords for Lean on Me - G7th Chord

Lean on Me Chord Progression

The progression is simple; all you do is move your hands up the keyboard keeping the same shape. If you can hear the song in your head and play along with these lyrics it will help you to get the tune in your mind.

The progression starts on C and follows this pattern: “C-C-Dm-Em-F….F-Em-Dm-C….C-Dm-Em-Em-Dm”

The second time it goes “C-C-Dm-Em-F….F-Em-Dm-C….C-Dm-Em-G7-C” and then repeats from there throughout the song except when the music stops and it’s just singing and clapping. You can notice this in the YouTube Video.

Now that you can play Lean on Me like nobody’s business, it’s on to bigger and better things. Read my piano course reviews and really take the next step in becoming the awesome piano player you were meant to be!

Lyrics with chords:

 Verse 1C       C     Dm Em  FSome — times in our lives

F  Em   Dm   C

we all  have pain

C  Dm  Em     Em   Dm

We all have   sor–row

C   C  Dm Em  F

But if we are wise

F  Em   Dm   C       C  Dm   Em G7  C  

We know that there’s al-ways to-mor-row



           C C    Dm     Em  F    

Lean on me,  when you’re not strong

    F    Em Dm   C

And I’ll be your friend

C    Dm   Em  Em    Dm 

I’ll help you carry on

C   C  Dm    Em F

For it won’t be long

     F   Em Dm C

‘Til I’m gonna need

C   Dm Em   G7   C

Somebody to lean on


Verse 2 (Played the same way as Verse 1)


Please swallow your pride

If I have things 

you need to borrow              

For no one can fill

those of your needs

That you don’t let show




Verse 3 (Played the same way as Verse 1)

If there is a load

you have to bear

That you can’t carry

I’m right up the road

I’ll share your load

If you just call me



C                                    G      C

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand

C                       G    C

We all need somebody to lean on

C                                G          C

I just might have a problem that you’d understand

C                       G    C

We all need somebody to lean on




Bill Withers
Lean On Me
voice, piano and guitar
Lean On Me for voice, piano and guitar by Bill Withers sheet music download
Download this sheet music title now

10 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. love this song thank you for these chords i needed them for a school project on moday.

  2. ok so I tried to figure it out and I was one note off so i’m glad I found out about the missing note

  3. My music teacher told my class the first two lines but not the bridge, thak shocked me.

  4. tankssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  5. I love this song and i know the whole thing on piano now thanks to this website wooooooooooooo!!! xx 😀

  6. I dont get it. I dont get this. This is complicated. Next time make it less confusing to read, both pictures and words. Thanks

  7. We have a new piano in our church so i wanted to learn how to play this song.

  8. These notes are very wrong in the beginning cuz when i played it didn’t sound right and here are the correct notes:

    D D E F# G _ G F# E D
    sometimes in our live we all have pain
    D E F# F# _ D D E F# G
    we all have sorrow but if we are wise

    • Nice Point!
      Many times its simpler to learn a song when it is written or played in another key. In this case, it sounds like when you listen to the original recording the chords are a full step higher in pitch. However, for beginner piano players, the chords C, Dm, Em, F, G7 are much easier to play since they do not use any black keys. It also might be easier for some singers to sing at the slightly lower pitch compared to the original. The point is that the song sounds correct when played and sung in this key by itself, but when you compare it side by side with the original, you can tell the pitch difference.

      Thanks for bringing this up, it was a valuable point!

  9. I learnt this in 5 min that’s awesome very helpful

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