Monthly Archives: April 2020

Stuck In The Middle With You – Stealers Wheel

Made famous for this (or the previous) generation by the definitely non-ukulele based film Reservoir Dogs – this is a classic from the 70s, that still sounds incredibly fresh. Check out the original recording if you’ve not had a listen in a while. This arrangement is in the original key as well – so go join in with Gerry Rafferty and co…

It’s got some great rhythms for strumming – chords aren’t too hard (it’s mostly D and G) but it’s got a few tricky moves. You’ll need to get comfortable with D7 and G7 in particular, and some off-beat strums. Best played in a group so the non-ukulelists can do the (surprisingly tricky) claps, and the pros can do the chord stabs.

Oh, and you’ll need a cowbell…

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

Well – this is the MOST PLAYED SONG OF THE 21st CENTURY (on British radio). Who knew? Who’d’ve thought in 2006, when this song came out, that kids who weren’t even born would still be able to recognise this simple little tune in 15 years time. Amazing.

It’s got it’s share of haters, but I actually think that this is a great example of a well crafted simple pop/rock song. It’s only got three chords, and the sequence never changes, but there are layers upon layers of guitars and vocals on the original recording, and it conjures up a specific feeling for me – which is after all what music/art should do…

I’ve moved this one to the key of G (original key A), in a departure from our usual C major songs. You only need G, D, and C chords to play this – but of course there are ways to make these chords a bit juicier if you want to…

Every Breath You Take – The Police / Sting

“Best Song About Stalkers Ever”

Here’s a song that is incredibly well known and loved but is actually rather unsettling lyrically. However, it’s absolutely great musically so lets give it a go…

The chords are fairly straightforward, although the bridge Eb might be new – however, the magic of this piece happens when you add a 9th interval to virtually every chord of the piece! Also an opportunity for some fingerpicking here.

For intermediate players, and the new add9 chords might stretch a few more confident players too…

Lean On Me – Bill Withers

Simple chords, incredibly singable melody – but deceptively subtle as a song. This is the late Bill Withers (d 2020) classic “Lean On Me”. Everyone who has ever learned a major scale has played the opening melody, but few learn it all the way through.

I’ve arranged this for two ukuleles, the first ukulele part is trickier and has a few more adventurous techniques – the second ukulele part is aimed at beginners. You can see the whole score, but I recommend just following the chord chart to start with.

You’ve Got A Friend In Me – Randy Newman (Toy Story)

A good friend suggested this as a ukulele video, and I was reluctant, because I thought everyone knew the song already – but then I tried playing it – and was pleasantly surprised – it’s really not as simple as it sounds! It’s got some really fruity chords involved and all in all it’s a satisfyingly stretching ukulele song.

Not a single normal/boring G chord in the song! This is a great song for more adventurous players, and will get your fingers working on some unfamiliar shapes (G#7 was my speed-bump) and some unusual chord types (G augmented, F#dim7 etc)

I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

Originally released in 2008 – this song just sounds familiar – even if you’ve never heard it before!

That’s because it uses the famous chord sequence (I V vi IV or 1 5 6 4 or in this case C G Am F) that so many other classic songs use. It’s also great fun to play on the uke!

This one is aimed at new beginners on ukulele – it’s easy to play even if you’ve only been playing a few weeks. Tricky bits can be: getting the reggae swing feel, and of course singing the verses at the same time as playing, but the chords themeselves are a doddle… Join in on chorus even if you can’t sing the verse. Don’t forget your hat!