The Who – Blue, Red and Grey (Chords)

The Who – Blue, Red and Grey (Chords)

I think the fact that The Who – one of the hardest rocking bands in history – had a ukulele song deserves a bigger mention than it usually gets. Perhaps it will do now that Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey both regularly play the song live on uke.

They both play Blue, Red and Grey slightly differently to the version on The Who by Numbers (which is the version I’ve written up). The original is played in D-tuning but both now play it in C-tuning. Daltrey uses the same chords as the original while Townshend uses – broadly – the same chord shapes as the original (so it’s a tone lower). Another difference is that Townshend uses the F – C7M progression from the bridge in the verses as well.

Suggested Strumming

Time to invent a new bit of shorthand: t = touch strum (i.e. a down strum only hitting the g-string).

The only tricky bit is the intro:

t – d – – u d –

For the rest of the song it’s just

t – d – t – d –

over and over.

View Comments


  1. cardboardfrog February 2nd, 2010 7:00 pm

    excellent! do love me a bit of the who

  2. zym February 3rd, 2010 12:39 am

    I tend to play it in a C tuning – glad to see im in good company, rather than just being lazy ;)

    Incidentaly, Eddie Vedder plays it in the key of F

  3. Neil Jackson February 3rd, 2010 12:23 pm

    I play it with c tuning. It’s a nice tune to get use to using some chords which don’t appear too often. The problem I’ve always had is maintaining the strumming pattern while singing.

  4. Woodshed February 3rd, 2010 12:54 pm

    cbf: Me too. One of the best bands of all time.

    zym: Don’t let the people of Miami see you referring to Townshend as ‘good company’.

    Neil: Can’t help you there. I refuse to sing. Ever.

  5. Jules February 3rd, 2010 6:55 pm

    Love this song and got hold of it a couple of years back through Eddie Vedder’s version.
    As for the strumming pattern, er, sorry I dropped out of that one! But still loved the song!
    Feel free to check it out…

  6. Mike February 5th, 2010 8:31 am

    Thanks for this – I always loved this song. Haven’t heard it for years and hadn’t made the ukulele connection. I don’t suppose hard rocking John Entwhistle could have been too keen when Pete walked in saying ‘this new one will be on Ukulele’. I’d have liked to see that.

  7. Neil Jackson February 5th, 2010 10:51 am

    Ah Mike you forget that Entwistle’s first instrument was French horn which features elegantly on this track. The Who were even competitive acoustically…

  8. Woodshed February 5th, 2010 12:17 pm

    Jules: Oh yeah, I completely forgot you did a version. Nice work.

    Mike: I know what you mean, I’ve had that ‘hey, there’s a uke in this’ moment in songs I’d known in the pre-uke days.

    Neil: Thanks for the info. I did not know that.

  9. Snave February 10th, 2010 5:07 am

    Should the chords on the first line of the bridge be
    G D6 G D7M
    instead of
    G D6 F D7M ?

    Easy to mistake G for F if you’re used to C tuning. I’ll learn it in C, since I won’t try to sing as high as Pete did.

  10. skye March 16th, 2010 3:49 pm

    The Who has always been one of my favorites, I love Eddie Vedder’s cover of this song. And any other Who covers for that matter.

    Thanks for posting!

  11. fs May 13th, 2011 10:07 pm

    Hey, I don’t see all the chords in the chart for the song can you flush it out? Thx.

  12. fs May 13th, 2011 10:22 pm

    great song and wonderful of you to transcribe it here, btw ;)

  13. Woodshed May 15th, 2011 11:20 am

    fs: I think it’s just D6 missing which is all strings open.

  14. tara September 24th, 2011 8:12 pm

    How do you play and f on the d tuned uke?!?!

    Please help me so I can finish this song

  15. Woodshed September 27th, 2011 8:00 pm

    tara: It’s the same shape as Eb on a C-tuned uke.

  16. liuhui November 1st, 2011 6:16 am

    It’s so beautiful!
    I’m trying to download all the songs in your list and learn them one by one.
    And this song really touched me ,it has been cloudy in Beijing many days but i get a soft feeling of joy as i’m listening.
    Thank you so much Sir.

  17. Peg January 11th, 2012 11:55 am

    Thank you all very much but I have a question.
    How do I play this, with my C tuned instrument, to get it to sound just like the “By Numbers” album?

    If it cannot be done, then: how much will I make my instrument suffer by tuning it the way you suggest in the tab?

    Thanks very much
    Uke coming up strong in Spain

  18. Woodshed January 11th, 2012 12:51 pm

    Peg: You could use a capo on the second fret. Your instrument shouldn’t suffer because of it. But your strings might end up being too loose for C-tuning afterwards.

  19. Den July 5th, 2012 9:13 pm

    I’m with Snave (February 10th, 2010 5:07 am).

    That F in the bridge doesn’t sound right at all.
    Plus, there’s no F listed in the chord diagrams.

    G sounds right.

    I’m playing it in the standard tuning, and play along with the song pitched down a whole step.
    (so yes, the actual chords I’m playing are F, A, C, etc., and the one in question would be Eb)

    Not sure about the D6 either…
    And there’s also no chord diagram for it.

  20. Jenny July 9th, 2012 7:06 pm

    Would anyone be able to help me transpose this up a whole step to fit my voice better?

  21. Woodshed July 9th, 2012 10:17 pm

    Den: You might be right. There may have been some D-tuning related confusion. I’ll try and look at it again.

    Jenny: This site is useful. Copy and paste into there and you can change it to any key you fancy.

  22. Den July 29th, 2012 7:12 pm

    Thanks Woodshed!
    Should have mentioned in my comment how much I appreciate the site and your work.

    This song has long been a favorite of mine, and it’s yet another tune that has turned out to be (relatively) easy to play on the uke!
    (the Bbdim is the only chord that still gives me trouble)

    I’m still a uke noob, but I’m having a great time.
    Thanks again!

  23. Woodshed August 1st, 2012 10:57 pm

    Den: Thanks very much! I hope that opinion isn’t changed by how long it’s taking me to get round to sorting these chords!

  24. Poison August 24th, 2012 5:02 pm

    Woodshed-that chord change site is great. And changing the uke from C to D for Blue Red and Grey is the solution I’ve been looking for on this song-thanks.

  25. Woodshed August 24th, 2012 10:39 pm

    Poison: You’re welcome! Glad it helped.

  26. Woodshed September 5th, 2012 11:35 am

    Finally got the corrected version up. Thanks for the corrections.

  27. BillBro September 26th, 2012 6:01 pm

    Okay, I’m impressed! I’m just beginning to add some uke songs to my repertoire, and you helped get me started with an excellent chart for “Ram On” by Paul McCartney. All of a sudden this morning I thought of “Blue, Red and Grey,” another favorite of mine from a long ago and probably mostly forgotten Who album (I thought). So I figured there was sparse possibility that I could find the chords for it, but I thought I’d log in to your site and at least make a request for it. Imagine my surprise when I found it was already there. Bravo to you!

  28. Woodshed September 26th, 2012 10:37 pm

    BillBro: Thanks! Glad I could preemptively fulfil your request!

  29. Sara September 30th, 2015 8:14 pm

    This is a dumb question; are the chords (not shapes) the same in the C tuning version?

    If you have a C tuned uke, can’t you just put a capo on the second fret to try D tuning? Or is capo a dirty word here. I know it is some places.

  30. Woodshed September 30th, 2015 9:59 pm

    Sara: Not at all. You’re right on both counts. The chord names are the same for C tuning. Or using the same shapes with a capo at the second fret would also work. I have no objections to capos!

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