The Smiths – Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now (Chords)

The Smiths – Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now (Chords)

It used to baffle me how people could describe The Smiths as depressing when they’re one of the funniest bands there’s ever been. Now I’ve figured it out: they were trying to work out how to play this song on the uke and it made them want to crack their skull open. Yes, it’s a bit of pisser. But this week is Manchester week and it couldn’t be Manchester week without The Smiths.

Johnny Marr, being a flash bastard, isn’t happy just playing the chords. In the first chorus, for example, the bass suggests the same chords as the verse but the guitar is doing something completely different. I’ve written up the chords as played by guitar in the first and third chorus, and as suggested by the bass in the second and fourth.

And don’t go asking for a strumming pattern.

Twiddly Bits

The original guitar intro uses open strings which makes it tricky to play on the uke. This is what I adapted it to:


The solo, on the other hand, works quite well.


View Comments


  1. Craig Robertson May 24th, 2011 6:18 pm

    I never found the Smiths depressing…I just found them trite, derivative and annoying. However, I do think they are another one of those bands that are best appreciated if you’re British.

  2. Emily May 24th, 2011 7:06 pm


  3. cardboardfrog May 25th, 2011 12:25 am

    i love the smiths, i never understood how they came to be accused of being depressing i find much of their work to be uplifting, very realistic in ths lyrics… maybe thats the problem.

  4. zymeck May 25th, 2011 1:22 am

    i love The Smiths. I think people make the mistake of hating Morrissey, rather than The Smiths.
    Jonny Marr is one of the best guitarist to come out of the UK in the past 30 years.

    I would also put Bernard Butler in that category, but hes gone a bit quiet*

    *oh, he produced Duffy’s album, oh well, never mind:(

  5. Redmond May 25th, 2011 2:18 am

    The Smiths make me happy. Lil Wayne makes me sad. I guess I’m just weird that way.

  6. Woodshed May 25th, 2011 11:00 am

    Craig: I think liking The Smiths is on the citizenship test. It certainly should be.

    Emily: :)

    cbf: Yeah, realism isn’t usually conducive to happy records.

    zym: Johnny Marr, definitely. Bernard Butler doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but I don’t think he’s in Marr’s league. I don’t have anything against Duffy – the records are certainly well produced.

    Redmond: Yeah, I could live without Lil Wayne

  7. Rob NY May 25th, 2011 1:09 pm

    I loved The Smiths since I first heard them in the early 80’s. Never found them depressing.I thought them new and exciting along with many other bands of that period.

  8. Ben R. May 25th, 2011 3:44 pm

    I am taken by the simple tune and lyrics. Clean and crisp. Love the chording. Real pleasure to listen to excellent musicians. Thanks.

  9. cardboardfrog May 25th, 2011 5:45 pm

    i got to shake johnny marrs hand when i saw him play with modest mouse back in 08, he has a very firm handshake for someone who was in a band in the 80’s.

  10. Ian Emmerson May 25th, 2011 8:48 pm

    The Smiths are mighty fine.

  11. King Uke May 25th, 2011 9:21 pm

    Trite, derivative and annoying! How very dare you! Ha ha. Couldn’t disagree more Craig – you miserable get! Did you see what I did there? Oh no! Am I starting a war?

    Agree with the comment on the solo Woodshed… nicely done! Intro takes a bit of getting used to… but I like that too! Yay!

  12. mictoboy May 25th, 2011 11:01 pm

    good work Al, bit of a smiths fanboy without being a Morrissey apologist, so very happy to have these chords

  13. Craig Robertson May 25th, 2011 11:19 pm

    Right. Like I said, seems to be a British thing, this Smith-liking.

  14. Rob NY May 26th, 2011 2:56 am

    I’m not British.

  15. Em May 26th, 2011 5:29 am

    i love the Smiths so I was excited to see you posted this, that is until i tried to play it. Damn hard! Oh well :(

  16. Woodshed May 26th, 2011 10:41 am

    Rob: I remember tend to think of the 80s as a black hole in terms of music. But there were a few bands that managed to produce good music.

    Ben: Thanks!

    cbf: Ahahaha!

    King: Yeah, the intro is a bit tricky. Worth practicing though.

    mictoboy: Glad to hear it.

    Craig: No! As well as Rob, Emily is an American Smiths fan. And I think Redmond is too.

    Em: It is difficult. Keep it in mind though. It’s very fun to play when you get the hang of it.

  17. Garce May 26th, 2011 7:48 pm

    How you manage to read my mind with all the tabs and chords you put up, I just don’t know.
    Absolutely no objections though – keep on doing it!!
    Thanks again! :D

  18. Woodshed May 27th, 2011 6:47 am

    Garce: I have a secret camera set up in your bedroom.

  19. Rob NY May 28th, 2011 1:54 am

    I think you had to be there Al. For me it was an exciting time. Growing up with my Woodstock era brother always listening to the now “Classic Rock” in the room we shared. I found the late 70’s 80’s Punk/New Wave/Alternative music whether it be UK or US intriguing. I fell in love with the whole scene.Albeit sometimes weird and cheesy I thought it my music. I still listen to it today.

  20. King Uke May 28th, 2011 6:47 am

    Agree with your comment about having to be there Rob. There was lots of exciting stuff going on at the time (and some terrible stuff too) and these guys were ground breakers. On the ‘derivative’ comment… I can’t think of a single artist before the Smiths that you can point your finger at and say that they were copying them. Even at the end, when they were cashing in, they were still doing their own thing (albeit, it was starting to sound a bit more samey). Anyone got any ideas? Obviously they had influences (and they famously ‘stole’ a few songs) but it’s all pretty cleverly hidden by Marr. And no Woodshed, Butler’s not in the same league, but like you, I rate him too…

  21. Woodshed May 28th, 2011 8:18 am

    Rob and King: I was, technically, there. Although too young to know about the Smiths. I was mostly into Go West.

  22. King Uke May 28th, 2011 8:25 am


  23. Woodshed June 2nd, 2011 11:36 am

    King Uke: :D

  24. Jessica Delfino July 18th, 2011 8:30 pm

    In general people are so ready and willing to hate stuff. Obviously the Smiths are hilarious and this is pure comedy. They’re hilarious! I find the brits to be actually more open minded. Americans are the most uptight and bratty people ever! And I’m saying that as an American, and I’m including myself.

  25. Woodshed July 19th, 2011 12:55 pm

    Jessica: Being uptight and willing to hate stuff is definitely an English trait as well. It’s strange, most of the funniest people ever are American. But I think there’s a sort of understated English humour that most Americans don’t get.

  26. dan June 19th, 2012 9:58 am


    If you’re american, then you sir are definitely the funniest person in the world. “most of the funniest people in the world are american”

    You Berk!

  27. Woodshed June 19th, 2012 11:02 am

    dan: I’m not American.

  28. dan June 20th, 2012 7:47 am

    i don’t know why i got so angry there, sorry. Regardless its was still a ridiculous comment.

  29. King Uke June 20th, 2012 8:09 am

    Half an apology is better than none at all Dan… kudos. Woodshed… was it you I saw in the Uke Hunt T-Shirt at the Cheltenham Uke-Fest earlier this month?

  30. Imsha February 16th, 2013 12:46 pm

    I discovered the Smiths through a friend who made me listen to this song, telling me how sad it was. I was like “No it isn’t.” It’s actually a funny song to move your body to and get figuratively (or literally, if you roll that way) drunk to, and cry about shit things that happen with shit people.

  31. Woodshed February 16th, 2013 8:43 pm

    Imsha: I’m with you. I think it’s hilarious.

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