20 Sad Ukulele Songs (And How To Play Them)

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Here Are Some Of The Best Sad Ukulele Songs For Playing Uke With Emotion!

Searching for some sad uke songs? You’re not the only one. While the vibe and tone of the ukulele might make it naturally sound joyful and great for ukulele love songs, there are some sad songs on ukulele which actually lend themselves well to the instrument.

This sad ukulele song list is packed full of a healthy mix of popular tracks as well as a few lesser-known tunes you probably haven’t heard of.

Keep in mind, this list of ukulele sad songs is made up of songs that were done on ukulele as well as sad songs that transpose well on ukulele and sound great. Believe it or not, you can make a soprano ukulele sounds sad. Let’s dive in!

Most of the ukulele sad songs below are in standard uke tuning – G-C-E-A – but some different versions might require a ukulele capo.

We’ll Meet Again – Vera Lynn

We’re starting off this list of sad songs to play on ukulele with “We’ll Meet Again”. This classic oldie was originally sung by Vera Lynn and has been covered over the years by talented souls like Johnny Cash.

It’s a song all about two lovers parting ways and having to wonder when they’ll be together again. If you have a special person, it’s a song that can tug at the heartstrings when you think about not having them around.

It’s not so much the ukulele chords that make the song sad – but the lyrics and messaging are what got it on this list!

  • Chords For We’ll Meet Again: C, E7, Am, A7, D7, G7, C7, F
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for We’ll Meet Again.

I Will Follow You Into the Dark – Death Cab for Cutie

If you want sad songs for ukulele, this is an absolute classic that should be on your list. “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” is the kind of song that deals with death, mortality – and your connection to a loved one.

With discussion of heaven and hell, it’s a tune that is somber, sweet and makes for a whole lot of reflection.

  • Chords For I Will Follow You Into the Dark: A, Bb, Bbm, C, Dm, F
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for I Will Follow You Into the Dark.

You Are My Sunshine – Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell

“You Are My Sunshine” is already a nice song to play on the ukulele. However, if you actually listen to the lyrics, you can see why it’s a song that is actually pretty somber in tone. We love the cover by The Civil Wars but the original is also excellent.

With lyrics like “you’ll never know dear how much I love you, so please don’t take my sunshine away”, the song deals with notions of losing/parting from your loved one (a common theme on this list).

  • Chords For You Are My Sunshine: Am, C, Dm, F
  • Capo: No Capo

You can search here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for You Are My Sunshine.

Death Don’t Have No Mercy – Rev. Gary Davis

For a song all about Death, and what Death can do – check out a classic by Reverend Gary Davis. Originally written in the 1960s, this gospel-blues tune is basically all about Death having “no mercy”.

From coming to your house to taking away family members, it’s a somber, yet catchy tune.

  • Chords For Death Don’t Have No Mercy: Em, Am, G, A7, D7, B7, C7
  • Capo: Capo on 1st fret

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for Death Don’t Have No Mercy.

Oh My Darling, Clementine – Percy Montrose

As a classic old-timey tune, you might not have thought to sing this as a sad ukulele song. However, if you listen to the lyrics, you’ll quickly realize it’s a sad, sad song.

The premise of the song is a miner’s daughter, Clementine, drowning. The singer – Percy Montrose – tells the tale and professes his love for her. With lines like “You were lost and gone forever” it’s definitely a song for a time of loss.

  • Chords For Oh My Darling, Clementine: G, D7, C
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for Oh My Darling, Clementine.

Southern Anthem – Iron & Wine

If you know anything about the master singer/songwriter Sam Beam, you’ll know that “Southern Anthem” is likely to be a darn good song.

It’s the kind of song that’s really quite beautiful and tells a tale if you listen closely. Southern Anthem is also the kind of song that shows you that you don’t necessarily need minor chords to produce a somber sound.

  • Chords For Southern Anthem: C, F, G
  • Capo: Capo on 2nd Fret

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for Southern Anthem.

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry – Hank Williams

For another classic from 1949, turn to Hank Williams. You might think you know what this song is about if you read the title but “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” is about more than just being lonely.

With lyrics like “You ever see a robin weep/When leaves begin to die?/That means he’s lost the will to live— I’m so lonesome I could cry” it’s like poetry through a true country song.

  • Chords For I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry: A, B7, E, E7
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.

My Heart – Paramore

To take this list in a completely different direction, check out “My Heart” by Paramore. It might be one of the more “emo” songs but it’s still a sad song for the uke.

With lyrics focusing on the character’s heart and how it “beats for only you”, it’s a song about realizing weakness and pleading with your person not to go or fade away.

There’s more to it, of course, but it’s an excellent song if you’re into the genre – and there’s great screaming in live versions!

  • Chords For My Heart: A, Abm, B, Dbm, E
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for My Heart.

The Thrill is Gone – BB King

BB King – the legendary guitarist – has got a great sad song about being hurt by a significant other “Baby”. Now, “the thrill is gone” for good and he’s “free” from her – and free from her spell.

This might be the kind of song you play if you’re dealing with a break-up, heartache, or just looking to play a uke song with a bit of grit and heart. At least he “wishes her well” at the end!

  • Chords For The Thrill is Gone: Bm, Em, G, F#7
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for The Thrill is Gone.

Goodbye – Eddie Vedder 

Eddie Vedder’s “Goodbye” is one of the few songs on this list that were originally done on ukulele.

From his second solo album “Ukulele Songs” – comprised of originals and covers – Eddie Vedder tells a tale of a break-up.

He’s still wondering why it happened, he’s super sad about it, and ultimately he “knows that this is goodbye”.

  • Chords For Goodbye: Bb, Bb7m, Bb7, Bb9, C7, C9, F, Eb, Ebm, Bb7M, B9, Cadd9
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for Goodbye.

The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice

From 2002, Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter” isn’t necessarily sad because of the lyrics but because of the overall tone and feel of the song.

Of course, these sad uke chords (many of which are minor) lend themselves well to lyrics like “I can’t take my eyes off of you” until he “finds somebody new”.

The song itself is known to be just good song-writing fiction but there are many interpretations of the lyrics. It can be a song about lost love and other things.

  • Chords For The Blower’s Daughter: A, Abm, B, Bm, Bbm, Dbm, E, Em, G, Gb, Gbm
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for The Blower’s Daughter.

Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton

As one of the most popular songs of all time by one of the most popular artists of all time, “Tears in Heaven” is definitely a sad song to play on ukulele.

Not only are the lyrics all about death and references to meeting in Heaven, the true back story is also what makes the song devastating.

Eric Clapton wrote this song in 1991 after the death of his 4 year old son, Conor, who tragically fell more than 50 stories out of an apartment building window. So, when Clapton says “Cause I know I don’t belong/Here in heaven”, you really feel it.

  • Chords For Tears in Heaven: A, Am, Bm, C, D, D7, Db, E, E7, Em, Fm, G, Gb, Gbm,
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for Tears in Heaven.

Lonely Day – System Of A Down

The title says it all. If you know System Of A Down, there’s a good chance you know “Lonely Day”.

With lyrics about this being “the most loneliest day of my life” and referencing death, loss, and boredom, it’s definitely a sad song by a legendary band.

  • Chords For Lonely Day: Am, F, C, E7, G
  • Capo: No Capo – in fact, you could tune a half-step down for this song.

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for Lonely Day.

If The World Was Ending – JP Saxe ft. Julia Michaels

This is a pretty popular song – and it might not seem that sad upon first listen – but “If The World Was Ending” is literally about what you’d do and who you’d be with if the world was ending.

JP Saxe and Julia Michaels do a great job of playing that back and forth between distant lovers. It’s all the more fun to play as a duet!

  • Chords For If The World Was Ending: F, G, C, Am
  • Capo: No Capo

Here’s a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for If The World Was Falling. There are other good videos on YouTube that play it with a capo on 1st fret.

Radiohead – No Surprises

Another classic song by a classic band is “No Surprises” by Radiohead. This track from the album OK, Computer is almost universally felt as a “sad song”.

Aside from the iconic music video, there are plenty of Thom Yorke’s lyrics that stand out and stand for loneliness, sadness, and depression. The one that listeners often get caught up on is “A job that slowly kills you”.

  • Chords For No Surprises: C, Csus4, Dm, Dbm, F, Gm,
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for No Surprises.

Mad World – Gary Jules

If you know “Mad World”, you know why it’s on this list of sad songs. If you don’t know this song, it’s pretty iconic.

Gary Jules does a pretty descriptive job of expressing his thoughts about how messed up the world is and features themes like death, and being caught in the forever “rat race” that is the society we currently live in.

“Mad World” is definitely not a song you play to cheer people up, that’s for sure.

  • Chords For Mad World: A, D, Em, G
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for Mad World.

Please, Please, Please – The Smiths

For a simple sad song you can turn to The Smiths and their song “Please, Please, Please”. It’s all about being down on your luck and pleading for a break.

The lyrics are short and can be made to relate to a number of life scenarios one might be facing. That’s what makes it such a universally “sad” song.

  • Chords For Please, Please, Please: D, A, F#m, G, Bm
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for Please, Please, Please.

Angel – Sarah McLachlan

For a truly classic sad piano song you can make work on the ukulele, “Angel” by Sarah MacLachlan is that song.

Inspired by the toughness of the music industry in the 1990s and how some artists often struggled with drugs to cope, Angel is a pretty powerful song.

Sarah herself also said it’s a song about trying to love yourself… so give it a go and see what you think.

  • Chords For Angel: C, Dm7, Em, F, G
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for Angel.

Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers

What some might think is a love song from the movie “Ghost” others might see a sad song to be played on the ukulele.

“Unchained Melody” was as much a hit in 1955 as it is today. That said, the lyrics talk about “longing for your touch” and “needing your love” so it can be interpreted that two lovers are apart… which is always heartbreaking (for at least one person).

  • Chords For Unchained Melody: Am, C, C7, Em, Eb, F, Fm, G
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for Unchained Melody.

I Would Be Sad – The Avett Brothers

Last, but certainly no least, “I Would Be Sad” is a song by The Avett Brothers about a failed relationship between two young lovers.

The rest of the song is all about the things that would make the main characters sad… including getting “left by a girl that I adore”. A pretty straightforward bluegrass tune about heartache, loss, and the consequences that come with it!

  • Chords For I Would Be Sad: G, Em, C, D
  • Capo: No Capo

You can look here to find a version of the ukulele chords/tabs for I Would Be Sad.

And there you have it – a rundown of some top sad ukulele songs. Of course, there are so many more sad songs to play on the ukulele.

This is just a well-rounded list of sadder songs from lots of different genres waiting for you to put your spin on them!

As always, Happy Strumming,

-E

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