Category Archives: Uke History & Trivia

Neil Innes – How Sweet To Be An Idiot

Sad news today that musician, comedian and writer Neil Innes has died. A local Goldsmiths College alumni, he’s known for being a member of the avant-pop Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band; dubbed the ‘Seventh Python‘; part of Rutland Weekend Television, most notably in the Pre-fab Four spin-off The Rutles; and in other comedy bands, as well as being a successful solo performer.

I’ve seen him live a handful of times – at the BBC; playing in various London pubs (once with Mitch Benn and another with The Idiot Bastard Band, which included Ade Edmondson, Phill Jupitus, Simon Brint and Rowland Rivron) and also solo in a tiny village hall down windy country lanes out near Southwold.

A lover of the ukulele, there’s a nice interview with him speaking to John Tribe from Ukulele Tutorial. Chords for almost two hundred of his songs are on his website.

Here’s Linda Louden‘s cover of My Little Ukulele:



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One Small Uke For (a) Man…

The fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing continues with widescale television documentaries and interesting online articles.  I recall being disappointed when told I was too young to stay up & watch the live event  – I was four at the time!

Two items that struck me most today were interview snippets from the two surviving crew members: Michael Collins spoke of being along in the Command Module and Buzz Aldrin was wistful at the death of Neil Armstrong meaning the three of them would not stand together at this month’s celebrations.

Neil Armstrong Playing A Ukulele Whilst Quarantined After Returning From The Moon (Michael Kohan Photography)Neil Armstrong Playing A Ukulele Whilst Quarantined After Returning From The Moon (Michael Kohan Photography)

Here’s an eleven-year old Asia’s Got Talent contestant, Feng E, playing his arrangement of David Bowie’s Space Oddity:


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Happy Birthday JS Bach

It’s  composer Johann Sebastian Bach‘s 334th birthday today. He’s known for his prodigious output of Baroque music, including many important works such as his Brandenburg Concertos, Goldberg VariationsSt Matthew Passion and the monumental The Well -Tempered Clavier, which was written using the adoption of the Western musical system we now use call ‘equal temperament‘ (ie what we use on our ukuleles, with adjacent notes all being split into equal steps) and contains twenty-four preludes and fugues in every major and minor key. (For example, here’s the one in C major.)

To celebrate his important legacy, today’s fun interactive Google Doodle lets you compose a short melody, which is then played back with complete Bach style four-part harmony added for you. Have a little play & practice writing some music! You can even change the key signature, note duration, tempo, add accidentals (sharps, flats & naturals) and download your creation as a MIDI file.

Bonus points if you can guess the PLUC tune reimagined in Bach harmonies below!

JS Bach Google Doodle

JS Bach Google Doodle 21/03/19


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As today is Ringo Starr’s 75th birthday, here’s a nicely done version of the Harrison – Starr composition & my favourite of his solo numbers, Photograph, from Markothunder Entertainmment. Remember to say “Peace & Love!” at midday. But don’t ask him for his autograph!


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Today would have been the 71st birthday of George Harrison. This number is allegedly the current top iTunes Beatles’ download. Ukulenny plays a fingerpicking instrumental of Here Comes The Sun:


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Happy Halloween – Trick Or Uke Treat

Enjoy this fun version of Blue Öyster Cult’s (Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Gus & Fin (GUGUG). More cowbell!

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Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Uke History & Trivia


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Top Of The Ukes

Number One in the UK Charts on this day in 1983 was Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon:

(Those of you paying attention may have realised that it’s my birthday – & I’ve given away my DOB by mentioning what was topping the charts when I was born in another post! Jeanette)


Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Uke History & Trivia


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Top Of The Ukes

UK number one on this date in 1965 was the Sonny & Cher hit I Got You Babe. Exactly twenty years later, the UB40 & Chrissie Hynde cover version also topped the charts. Here’s Sergio Algozzino’s (& his sister’s) uke version. It’s like there’s a mirror between them!


Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Uke History & Trivia


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Top Of The Ukes

Number One in the UK charts exactly thirty years ago, on 15 June 1983, was The Police with one of their most well-known songs,, Every Breath You Take. Here’s paxukulele’s cover version of it (with chords on Show more underneath his videoif you want to strum along):

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Posted by on June 15, 2013 in Uke History & Trivia


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Uke-o-vision Song Contest

Tonight sees the Eurovision Song Contest. Be prepared for plenty of cheesy numbers; sarcastic commentary & the usual regional block voting! Here is Jeff Meechai’s cover of the UK’s 1967 winning entry from Sandie Shaw, Puppet On A String:


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