Somewhere Over the Rainbow Ukulele Chords

This version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, easily one of the most famous ukulele players of modern times, is a bit special.

The uke has been popular for years, but this version of the famous Judy Garland song, mashed up with Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World, really turned a lot of people on to the soothing and joyful sound of the uke.

In this post, we’re going to show you how to play it.

The Chords You’ll Need

Rather fittingly, there are seven ukulele chords you’ll need for this song (the same as the number of colors in a rainbow). Whether that was intentional or not, who knows, but the good news is they’re all fairly basic chords which is another reason why Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a great song for beginners. Another bonus is there are no tricky barre chords to get your hands around.

There are four major ukulele chords: C, D, F, G. Two minors: Em, Am. Two sevenths: Dm7, E7.

A Minor Ukulele Chord
G Major Chord
C Major Chord
F Major Chord
E7 Ukulele Chord Chart
E Minor Ukulele Chord Chart
D7sus4 Ukulele Chord Chart

Strumming Pattern

Before we get to the song, let’s quickly look at the strumming pattern. Of course, it will take a while before you get to sound anything like the great Israel Kamakawiwo’ole who uses a lot of dynamics in his strumming.

The best strumming pattern involves plucking the G string on the first beat of every bar, followed by a down-up, up-down-up.

somewhere over the rainbow ukulele strumming pattern

It’s pretty much what Israel Kamakawiwo’ole plays – although he’s got his G string tuned to low G (not the typical high G), but it works fine with either tuning.

If you’re struggling with the above, just go with a simple DUDUDUDU pattern.

The Song

Ok, enough talking! Here’s the song. Enjoy.

Intro
[C] [Em] [Am] [F]
[C] [Em] [Am] [D7sus4] [F]

The oohs bit
[C][Em] [F] [C] 
[F] [E7] [Am] [D7sus4] [F] 

Verse 1
[C] Somewhere [Em] over the rainbow, [F] way up [C] high
[F] And the [C] dreams that you dream of [G] once in a lulla[Am]by-hi-[F]hi
[C] Somewhere [Em] over the rainbow, [F] blue birds [C] fly
[F] And the [C] dreams that you dream of, [G] dreams really do come [Am] true-hoo-[F]hoo

Chorus
[C] Someday I‟ll wish upon a star,
[G] Wake up where the clouds are far be[Am]hind [F] me
Where [C] troubles melt like lemon drops
[G] High above the chimney tops, is [Am] where you‟ll [F] find me

[C] Somewhere [Em] over the rainbow, [F] blue birds [C] fly
[F] And the [C] dreams that you dare to, oh [G] why. Oh why can‟t [Am] I? [F]

The Wonderful World Bit
Well, I see [C] trees of [Em] green, [F] red roses [C] too,
[F] I‟ll watch them [C] bloom, for [E7] me and [Am] you
And I [F] think to myself, [G] what a wonderful [Am] world! [F]
Well, I see [C] skies of [Em] blue, and I see [F] clouds of [C] white
And the [F] brightness of the [C] day. [E7] I like the [Am] dark
And I [F] think to myself, [G] what a wonderful [C] world! [F] [C]
The [G] colors of the rainbow, so [C] pretty in the sky
Are [G] also on the faces of [C] people going by
I see [F] friends shaking [C] hands, saying [F] “How do you [C] do?”
[F] They‟re really [C] saying “[E7] I love [Am] you!”
I hear [C] babies [Em] cry and I [F] watch them [C] grow
[F] They‟ll learn much [C] more, [E7] than we‟ll ever [Am] know
And I [F] think to myself, [G] what a wonderful [Am] world! [F]

Chorus
[C] Someday I‟ll wish upon a star,
[G] Wake up where the clouds are far be[Am]hind [F] me
Where [C] troubles melt like lemon drops
[G] High above the chimney tops, is [Am] where you‟ll [F] find me

[C] Somewhere [Em] over the rainbow, [F] blue birds [C] fly
[F] And the [C] dreams that you dare to, oh [G] why. Oh why can’t [Am] I? [F] [C]

Final oohs
[C] [Em] [F] [C] 
[F] [E7] [Am] [D7sus4] [F] 

Finally, for a bit of inspiration, there’s the original song:

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