Four-string serenade

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.


  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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