Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Ukulele Tutorial

Ukulenny teaches you, step by step, the ukulele chords and strumming pattern to play the classic song "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." Famously performed by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz in 1939 and by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole in 1993, this tune is very popular among ukulele players worldwide. 

This free video tutorial consists of three parts and a final ukulele playalong!

The chords you will use in this song are: C, F, G, Em, and Am. 

History of Somewhere Over The Rainbow

This song was originally written as a ballad for the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg. Judy Garland, who famously played Dorothy, performed the song as part of the soundtrack for the movie. Composed to convey Dorothy's longing for color and vibrance in her life in the film's first act, the piece won an Academy Award for Best Original Song upon its release.

During World War II, a special recording of the song by Judy Garland and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra was sent out to American soldiers as a form of entertainment and encouraging messaging. Judy Garland also performed the song live for the troops in 1943.

Since then, many artists have covered this classic song. Many listeners claim that this song inspires feelings of hope, joy, and happy memories. However, no cover has made as much of an impact as Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's version on his ukulele. 

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's Ukulele Version

In 1988, Hawaiian artist Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, known also as Bruddah IZ, sat down and recorded a beautiful performance of this hit song on the ukulele, making it a more intimate version than the original. His cover was first released in his 1993 album Facing Future as a medley with Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." According to the session's sound engineer, IZ recorded it in just one take.

Ten years later, this version of the song had become a viral hit, quickly going platinum within a year of its resurgence in 2004. It has now sold over five million copies to date! 

Why You Should Learn It On Ukulele

By learning this song on the ukulele you can recreate the sweet sounds of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's famous version so you can play it yourself. 

This guide is the best way to learn the song and is designed to help beginners master this classic tune. Follow Ukulenny's guidance on his Kala ukulele and you'll be strumming the proper ukulele chords in no time!


Ukulele Lesson — Part One:





Ukulele Lesson — Part Two:



Ukulele Lesson — Part Three:




Final Ukulele Playalong:

After learning the ukulele chords to "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," play along with Ukulenny! Practice makes perfect!



Over the Rainbow; Written by Harold Arlen, E Harburg; Published by EMI April Music, Inc. OBO EMI Feist Catalog, Inc.