Yellow was released by Coldplay in 2000 and was a breakthrough for the band. Twenty-odd years later it is still popular, even with those who profess not to like Coldplay so much.
Here it is:
Technically, Yellow is in the key of B major but is actually played on the acoustic guitar with a capo on the fourth fret meaning that it is played as if in G major.
Like most Coldplay songs, Yellow is deceptively simple when you analyse it. The structure of the verse is essentially a G D C G loop and the chorus is C Em D repeated several times. In practice though, there are added subtleties: the C in the verse and the chorus is actually played as Cmaj7, providing a nice dissonance; a seventh is added to the Em in the chorus and, in several places, the final G in the verses is played with a suspended fourth.
The melody is based on a pentatonic major scale G A B D E, so the C and F# notes from the G major scale only appear in the underlying chords. The pentatonic major scale is really popular in folk songs (think Amazing Grace) and adds a really plaintiff feel to the tune of Yellow. If you’re a pianist, you can play a pentatonic major scale by sticking to the black notes! For a guitarist, the scale makes for easy soloing (think Let it Be by the Beatles).
So why was Yellow such a big song for Coldplay? Well, the arrangement is simple but powerful, the lyrics really capture the imagination, the singing’s good and the melody, sticking to that major pentatonic scale, is just perfect.