If you are training your students to hear, track, and recognize direct modulations, "These Eyes" would be a great listening example. Gear shift key change upon gear shift key change, and then circling back around back to the original key? Kind of a pop compositional masterpiece.
“These Eyes” - The Guess Who
Intro: The Canadian band began in Winnipeg in 1958 and crossed into American territory with this song in 1969. Found on the album Wheatfield Soul, it was their first top ten hit in America. The band was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1987.
Analysis: The song begins in C major and continues in the original key through the first two verses and two repetitions of the pre-chorus and chorus. Before the second repetition of the chorus, a brief brass motif appears, and after the second repetition of the chorus, the brass motif reappears, this time heralding in the first key change, a full step up to D major. After the chorus is heard in D major once, the brass motif is heard again, and another key change occurs, up another whole step to E major. For another repetition of the first verse, the key shifts back down to C major. Once the first chorus is restated, the cycle of key changes begins again – continually rising up a whole step, from C to D, from D to E, and this time, the key shifts again another whole step up to F# major and stays there until the end of the song, as the chorus in F# major is repeated and fades out. The subject matter of the song being the narrator trying to convince his former love interest that he truly loves her, it could be interpreted that the continual key changes are attempting to restate the narrator's inconsolable sadness at the departure of his love interest. Rather than singing different, more emphatically, the cycle of key changes gets the point across musically.
Considerations for Teaching: This song contains no inappropriate subject matter or lyrics and serves as a good teaching example due to its continual cycle of key changes.