Irving Berlin – Blue Skies


Blue Skies (Chords)Blues Skies Intro (Tab)

After a few weeks of heavy duty rock riffs, I’m having a change this week and going with some old school stuff.

Blues Skies has been recorded by hundreds of people including Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Willie Nelson. But this tab is based heavily, very heavily, on Brian Hefferan‘s version because whenever I hear one of his arrangements, I can never think of a better way to play it.

The chords are fairly simple. Even when they get a bit jazzy in the ‘Blue skies…‘ section, all you’re doing is moving one string down a fret each time (although I’ve probably chosen completely the wrong chord names). There’s a nice variation on the B7 chord (2320) which replaces the B with a second seventh note – it makes for a very easy change from the G chord.

A slight change in naming policy might throw you though. I used to refer to major 7 chords as maj7, but from now on it’ll be 7M with a capital ‘M’ to distinguish it from a minor chord.

The intro is, obviously, a little trickier. I’ve tabbed it out quite sparsely with just the chords and melody notes so you’ll need to fill in with some supporting strums to keep things moving along.

UPDATE: LStrachey has posted his version of the tune. There are a few differences in his arrangement and it’s well worth checking out.

Requested by Rob

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29 Comments

  1. J-Hob October 7th, 2008 7:29 pm

    Beautiful song, thanks for that. The intro is really beautiful, I’m going to try my damndest to learn at least some of it.

    In the tab you list A9 but in the chords at the top it says A7, do you know which is correct?

    thanks again!
    John

  2. Josh October 7th, 2008 8:17 pm

    Why the “7M”? It’s quite non-standard, and will slow down the sight-readers. Of course, minor-major7 chords are nicely confusing to anyone at first. I always found Em+7 to be a good notation — it’s indeed an E minor seventh chord with the seventh augmented.

  3. Rob NY October 7th, 2008 8:36 pm

    Thanks Al. I appreciate it.

  4. Woodshed October 7th, 2008 8:44 pm

    John: A9 is right technically. But becuase of the melody notes in the intro, you’re actually holding down an A7 chord.

    Josh: Not that unstandard. Certainly more standard than the word ‘unstandard’ ;)

    Rob: You’re welcome, Rob. I was just about to email you to tell you the post was up.

  5. MC Safety October 7th, 2008 9:34 pm

    I made myself late to class today by taking the time to print out this tab. Totally worth it.

  6. Chris October 8th, 2008 3:31 am

    This is the first time i’ve seen a video by Brian Hefferan with vocals. I dig his voice for this old timey stuff. Most of the time his playing just makes me wonder if i’m even using the same instrument as he is.

  7. carbonthief October 8th, 2008 4:48 am

    cool song. thanks.
    the whole text is a link lol.

  8. zym October 8th, 2008 5:56 pm

    great stuff Al, and a great version too :D

  9. Woodshed October 8th, 2008 7:51 pm

    MC Safety: Definitely worth it.

    Chris: You have to watch him do If You Can’t Land Her on the Old Veranda.

    carbonthief: The whole text is a link?

    zym: Everything Brian does is just gold.

  10. Josh Blair October 8th, 2008 7:54 pm

    @Al, this is a great one, thanks.

    @Chris, I feel the same way…

  11. Rob NY October 8th, 2008 9:46 pm

    Al. I had to run out quickly yesterday .Just wanted to let you know that I was really excited when I tuned in yesterday morning and saw this posted.I hope to be able to do it justice some day. Thanks again

  12. Vincent October 10th, 2008 4:24 am

    Wow, thanks for the tab. This will be the first song I’ll learn when my uke gets here.

  13. Liz October 30th, 2008 1:10 am

    Thanks for the song and the tab. Really beautiful!

  14. Woodshed October 30th, 2008 9:44 pm

    Liz: Thanks. Brian’s arrangements are always spot on.

  15. Sam November 29th, 2008 4:12 pm

    Awww, man.
    That’s the business. A wonderful tune and you sing it with such heart!
    Thanks
    Sam

  16. Allison January 6th, 2009 3:31 am

    Oh, Al….thank you so much! Simply charming. Made me smile, big time!

  17. Woodshed January 6th, 2009 5:36 pm

    Allison: You’re very welcome.

  18. Steven Ray Morris February 11th, 2009 1:59 am

    wowza, I’m so glad you guys had some chords for this lovely ditty. I was watching the Jazz Singer in one of my film classes and this song is really amazing and sounds even more adorable on the ukulele. I need to learn it really well it’s a fun song.

    thank you!

  19. BLUE SKIES by IRVING BERLIN - The Public Interest : WTVC Newschannel9.com March 10th, 2009 7:07 pm

    [...] Go here to learn how to play the song on ukulele. swfobject.embedSWF(“http://www.youtube.com/v/XGxoMwUSg9E&rel=1&fs=1&ap=%2526fmt%3D18″, “vvq49b6ba7db071b”, “425″, “344″, “9″, vvqexpressinstall, vvqflashvars, vvqparams, vvqattributes); Posted in: Music [...]

  20. abi January 31st, 2011 8:21 am

    oh wow this is so nice :)
    reminds me of the movie patch adams..

  21. Woodshed January 31st, 2011 8:18 pm

    abi: Glad you like.

  22. evolatrie July 13th, 2011 1:56 pm

    beautiful song and performance ^_^

  23. Woodshed July 14th, 2011 6:59 am

    evolatrie: Glad you enjoyed.

  24. moira December 6th, 2011 2:18 am

    great chord riff and i love your voice – it really goes with the old songs. I am a harpist recently in love with a tenor uke and always looking for old jazz songs to play with. Thanks for your inspiration – i can do the chord progression – just got to figure out how you do the melody next.

  25. debra September 30th, 2012 2:52 pm

    This song and your performance are so lovely, and it’s fun to see who is behind this great site. Thanks so much.

  26. Woodshed October 1st, 2012 11:06 am

    debra: That’s not me, I’m afraid. That’s the much more talented Brian Hefferan.

  27. debra October 1st, 2012 3:24 pm

    Oh, my bad for not following the link. But if you can play that and write chords and do a website like this, then I’m afraid you’re talented indeed..

  28. Woodshed October 2nd, 2012 7:34 pm

    debra: Thanks. You’re very kind!

  29. rose December 2nd, 2012 5:36 am

    Wonderful! I just got a little uke, and I’m trying to learn. This site is really helpful. This song is really adorable! Thanks for your hard work ^_^

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