Tonight You Belong to Me (The Jerk Version)

Lyle Ritz, Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters – Tonight You Belong to Me (Tab/Chords)

This is one of the definitive ukulele songs, yet it no two tab/chords seem to agree how to play it. There are at least two videos (1, 2) declaring that everyone else’s version are wrong and theirs is right. Well, everyone else is wrong and I’m right.

Seriously, though, I don’t think I’m dead on. The turnaround sections are packed with jazzy chords and tricky to get right.

First off, you’ll have to tune every string down half a step (I suppose you’d call it B tuning). But, to keep things simple, I’ve named the chords after their C tuning shapes.

The intro goes like this:

Tonight You Belong to Me Tab

With the G string carrying the little melody.

The chords for the verse are based on a G chord with a descending note and a little filigree on the top string. At the end of the first verse, there’s little little lick (or something like it):

Turnaround ukulele tab

Similarly, there’s this at the end of the second verse:

Ukulele tab end of verse 2

After that is the, “Way down…” section and you get a break from the jazz chords. It’s mostly Cm with occasional slides up from Bm.

The chords for the trumpet solo are exactly the same as those in the verse.

You can get a solo version by Lyle Ritz (who played the Jerk version) in his Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Masters book (he also has a new book out Lyle Lite. And don’t miss out on the Guthrie girls’ version of Tonight, You Belong to Me.

View Comments


  1. zym June 15th, 2008 7:09 pm

    thanks for this.
    I especially like having the tab in the pdf – good stuff :)

    Ive got the Lyle Ritz songbook, but its really difficult. I dont think there a single song i can play out of the whole book!
    ( i might have to invest in ‘Lyle Lite’

  2. Woodshed June 15th, 2008 9:29 pm

    I don’t have the Lyle Ritz book, but I probably should. It looks like Lyle Lite isn’t available here yet. Not on Amazon at least.

  3. Jason June 16th, 2008 7:05 am

    I thought you’d be out for two weeks, just checked in to make sure and I’ve missed at least three days worth of posts!
    Anyway, glad your back, now I can resume life as usual….

  4. Iain June 16th, 2008 8:56 am

    Welcome back.

  5. LonnaB June 16th, 2008 1:17 pm

    Ah, nice one.

    And, It just so happens that I’m listening to Sarah Lee right now. (Exploration is an album well worth checking out) Since seeing her open for Jake I haven’t been able to get enough of her.

  6. seeso June 17th, 2008 6:40 am

    Very cool, Al! Thanks much!

  7. Woodshed June 17th, 2008 5:12 pm

    Jason: Yeah, I came back a few days early as there was a load of news I had to post about.

    Iain: Thanks

    Lonna & seeso: You’re both welcome.

  8. Boozelele July 20th, 2008 12:34 am

    woah woah woah….I was never “declaring that everyone else’s version are wrong and mine is right.”, mine is NOT the version played in the Movie, and I am fully aware of that…..mine is just EASY to play……….that’s all…..

    the above post makes me sound like a total A-hole….now I may very well be an A-hole, but not becuase of my version of “tonight you belong to me”.


  9. Woodshed July 20th, 2008 11:15 am

    You really shouldn’t take anything I say seriously.

  10. john October 2nd, 2008 1:40 am

    love it..this is right on

  11. john October 2nd, 2008 8:08 am

    Id say Its pretty dang close


  12. Woodshed October 2nd, 2008 6:39 pm

    Thanks, John.

  13. Yuji November 21st, 2008 7:17 am

    I’m confused. After the G7 it says G6sus4 followed by a G6. There’s a tab for G6sus2 but no G6sus4.

  14. Woodshed November 21st, 2008 8:07 pm

    Yuji: Ooops. Yeah, that should be G6sus2. Thanks for pointing it out.

  15. Yuji November 21st, 2008 11:46 pm

    One more question. Should the G6 be played before the G6sus2? It seems logical to drop the high note from the second fret rather than to add it.

  16. Yuji December 11th, 2008 12:22 am

    Hello Woodshed,
    Did you have a chance to look at the chord progression I asked in my previous post? Should the G6 be played before the G6sus2? Thank you.


  17. fdub December 27th, 2008 9:45 am

    by the way, I tried using the ‘bonus features’ on the DVD, there’s a section that teaches you how to play it, and it’s alllllll screwed up. After using the tuning notes provided you tune up a full step, then this girl teaches you, like, the wrong chods, THEN she plays the playalong section with a capo (?!?!?!?!?!?!?! nullifying the whole tune up a whole step), AND THEN you play along with the movie version and it’s in a different key alltogether.

    That whole thing had to have been Steve Martin’s Idea of a cruel joke.

    Your chords are bangin though. Thank you!

  18. Woodshed December 27th, 2008 10:42 am

    fdub: Yeah, the chords are completely different. But Janet Klein still rocks.

  19. Sole Man September 16th, 2009 2:18 pm

    It’s hard to find a good audio copy of the Steve & Bernadette version, but this guy did one that’s almost identical …

  20. WorkingOutTheFingers March 3rd, 2010 10:02 am

    Thanks for the chords. I used them to work it out as close as I could get – see here

    I changed the “G6sus2-G6” combo to Em then dropping the top finger. For the intro, I just played G and added the little finger. I played the lick at the end of the first verse differently but the only change for the lick at the end of the second was to finish on 5555 instead of 0575. Oh, and D7 instead of Am7. Thanks for the boost.

  21. Woodshed March 3rd, 2010 9:58 pm

    WorkingOutTheFingers: Thanks for that.

  22. Me-kulele March 21st, 2010 8:47 pm

    Very nice. will be working with your vid to get it down right.

  23. z July 31st, 2010 1:51 pm

    many of these people seem to stroke your dick which is obviously bigger and more important than your ear you deaf bastard.

  24. Lorraine Bow July 31st, 2010 8:51 pm

    Ha ha, Z, I’m so glad you made reference to that… as that curiosity was what brought me here too. ;)

  25. Woodshed August 3rd, 2010 5:27 pm

    z: That is the best comment ever. I want to kiss you (and your tiny penis).

  26. david August 7th, 2010 9:44 am

    God bless little z and his zeenis…

  27. krabbers August 7th, 2010 8:07 pm

    scuse me ? Is this the right queue for the stroking ?

  28. Eric August 24th, 2010 10:11 pm

    Actually, I’ve learned to tune my ukulele UP a half step instead of DOWN a half step, and then play the song as I’d normally play it in the key of F if I was still in standard C tuning.

  29. shawn June 12th, 2011 6:14 pm

    I love this song. Tender backstory. It’s about a guy who had to sell his ukulele on eBay to pay the rent. He had one last evening with it before shipping it off. Tragic.

    This is the closest version I could find to the movie version.

    Yes, the G6sus2 the G6 are reversed, a typo. The second measure on the first bridge is perfect. Other than that, due to my limited skills, I greatly simplify the bridges, & simply hold the “G” chord & walk my pinky up & down a bit to follow the melody.


  30. Woodshed June 13th, 2011 11:55 am

    shawn: That’s a heart breaking story.

  31. gabriel June 22nd, 2011 7:04 am

    Do you know what version Eddie Vedder plays? I know it’s not this one, is it the “Ukulele Lady’s” version?

  32. Jill August 21st, 2011 7:27 pm

    this is great but whats the strumming pattern?

  33. Mike November 16th, 2011 7:08 am

    I have Lyle Lite … and non of these are correct. But some are better cause they are easier to play.
    Lyle tunes way down .. thickr gauge ,, plays the opening using
    5-7-5-7 /// 5-7-5-8 / 5-7-5-5 / 5-4-3-3

  34. Mike November 16th, 2011 7:10 am

    5-7-5-7 /// 5-7-5-8 / 5-7-5-7 / 5-4-3-3

  35. Ambient Doughnut December 11th, 2011 12:21 pm

    I’ve tried these chords and a few others on the web and listened to it many times…
    This is how I’ve ended up playing it. Not perfect but I think it’s fairly close:

  36. Woodshed December 12th, 2011 2:07 pm

    Ambient: Excellent work! Sounds great.

  37. Ambient Doughnut December 12th, 2011 6:58 pm

    Thanks Al! This was one song I really wanted to play when I first picked up a uke but found it a bit too tricky. So it feels like a bit of a milestone to have a workable version in my repetoire. :)

  38. Katie March 1st, 2012 8:09 am

    I love the way you start this song, but I like how I play the way down by the stream part, in Fm and then walk down to an A7, and I can’t figure out a funky way to incorporate that and still make it sound good! Poop!

  39. Chris August 25th, 2012 9:22 am

    I figured out bernadettes sax solo to play on the uke, it took a bit of listening but it adds a silly end… Especially if youve got a friend on another uke! Thanks again for ll the great tabs!

  40. Woodshed August 26th, 2012 11:34 pm

    Chris: Well done! And thanks!

  41. Bryan October 8th, 2012 8:53 pm

    If Lyle Ritz played this, then the first thing you need to do is get rid of your soprano uke. Ritz plays a tenor and it’s tuned like the top (thinnest) 4 guitar strings – except the D string is an octave higher. You’ll never figure out the right chords without these lower notes.
    D (high) G – B – E

  42. Quest December 15th, 2012 11:43 am

    Ugh…I can’t play this song without hearing the following crunch of treaded uke…
    But, this version is definitive. Thank you so much!

  43. Marissa August 13th, 2013 5:36 pm


  44. Mark G. September 7th, 2015 3:06 pm

    Thanks for the tab! I love this site.
    In regards to the chord progression in the chorus.
    the G7 (I7)in the second measure, theoretically takes us to some sort of C (IV) chord, CMaj7add9 (no root)in measure 3.It stays in IV in measure 4, [Cm6(M7)] followed by Cm6 (neither of these chords has the root in it).
    This doesn’t change how you play it.

  45. Mark G. September 7th, 2015 6:32 pm

    Correction: 1st chord in Measure #4 is CmM7 (no root).

    I am a collector of old sheet music and I have the original sheet music from 1926…this song, as it is known today, is nothing like the original composers’song.
    The original, is in 3/4 time and the melody line is completely different.
    There is a recording from 1927 of Gene Austin singing the song as written on youtube. It seems that the sister group, “Patience & Prudence”1956 recording is responsible for the version we sing now. Except for the lyrics of the chorus, you’d never know they were the same song.

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