Four-string serenade

Latest posts by Ed Park (see all)

The most moving part of Concert for George was when Paul came out to sing “Something,” accompanying himself on ukulele. (George loved the uke, and was a member of a George Formby society.) It was so moving that, a year or so later, I misremembered the scene, and thought Paul had performed “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” fitting in a sly joke on his choice of instrumentation.

Maybe my misremembering was a wish. Not long thereafter I saw uke maestro Jake Shimabukuro play an astonishing version of “WMGGW,” on this widely circulated video.

Postscript: Uke-Beatles fans, make sure you learn all the songs on this wonderful site.

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  1. Avatar Michael wrote:

    Ed, I seem to recall that George traveled with three ukes. (Why three? The first two might break.)

  2. Avatar Euge wrote:

    I have to admit, I got a little misty the first time I saw george playing the uke on ASS 🙂 – a formidible Formbyesque strummer indeed:

    The real question is: what was the type of uke he was playing? better yet, what about the DOBRO uke laying on the ground? and why didn’t we get to hear it!

  3. I love George’s ukelele version of the Hoagy Carmichael song “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” on his last album, “Brainwashed.” You can’t help but hear it as a letter of forgiveness and rapproachment from George to his fans. The uke gives it love and modesty.

  4. Avatar Matthew wrote:

    I hope I can answer the three ukes question: they will all have been differently tuned – 4 strings can be quite limiting (I believe Formby had the same set up and when on stage would take a bow and get an early form of a roadie to hand him the requisite uke for the next song).

    I think Paul’s uke tribute is great but the real show stealer is Joe Brown on theuke playing I’ll See Yo In My Dreams. Not only a very brilliant tribute but also something that seems to have made an awful lot of people want to take up the ukulele – and given George’s love for the instrument, there isn’t probably any better memorial than thousands of people uke-ing away to Something or When I’m Cleaning Windows

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