Daniel Johnston/Eels – Living Life (Chords)

Daniel Johnston/Eels – Living Life (Chords)

There was a time in my life when I counted Before Sunrise as my favourite film. Which at least proves I wasn’t always the empty husk of a man I am today. If anyone asks why, I insist it’s because it was the first time I heard a Daniel Johnston song.

The original version is pretty complex and in the uke-unfriendly key of E. So I’ve gone with the Eels version of the song for this arrangement.

Suggested Strumming

You can use this as the main strum for the verses:

d – d – d u d u

And this once for each chord in the chorus:

d u d u

Twiddly Bits

I’ve adapted the intro in the Kathy McCarty version for this intro:


Daniel Johnston Version
Eels Version
Kathy McCarty Version

View Comments


  1. TJ Luschen August 23rd, 2011 8:02 pm

    I am way ahead of you on this one!


    Daniel Johnston has many songs which work well on the uke – I’m practicing “Walking the Cow” now.

    By the way, I finally received your Ukulele for Dummys book and it is amazing. I love how you cover the many different styles of playing the ukulele – I am partial to the jazzy and bluesy styles, but the punk rock is awesome too.

  2. Woodshed August 23rd, 2011 10:44 pm

    TJ: Thanks very much. Very glad you liked the book.

  3. Dan August 24th, 2011 5:53 pm

    “There was a time in my life when I counted Before Sunrise as my favourite film. Which at least proves I wasn’t always the empty husk of a man I am today.”

    I know exactly what you mean: I used to really like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but I cannot stand that movie anymore. Hepburn’s character is such a headcase and the male lead is way to old to be sucked into that kind of crazy.

    Or maybe she just reminds me of my ex-wife. That is probably more the truth.

    Also, I got your Dummies book Woodshed and I am really enjoying it so far! I too have been looking at the different playing styles section and learning a lot!

  4. The Captain August 24th, 2011 8:12 pm

    Great choice! I love Eels and Daniel Johnston and especially this song. Nice touch to add the intro, kind of an ultimate version.

  5. pepamahina August 25th, 2011 4:50 am

    Before Sunrise is still in my top 5. Apparently I’ve still got some kernels left under mine. If you haven’t seen Before Sunset you should give it a go. It is sufficiently jaded in enough ways, I think, to satisfy you, but is still as well done as the first. Julie Delpy, as always, is smashing.

    The Eels version is great, thanks Al.

  6. Woodshed August 25th, 2011 7:25 am

    Dan: Thanks very much! Really glad you like the book.

    Captain: Thanks!

    pepamahina: Yes, I saw Before Sunset. I liked that one too (although not as much). I might have to watch them both again soon.

  7. Joseph Comm August 27th, 2011 2:37 am

    Love this site! I grew up with Daniel and appear in the first musical montage in “The Devil and Daniel Johnston,” in fact, it was shot in my bedroom when I was in high school. I ordered my first uke three years ago and have been having a blast. Another DJ song that works well on the uke is “I Live My Broken Dreams.”

  8. Woodshed August 27th, 2011 3:36 pm

    Joseph: That’s quite a claim to fame!

  9. Joseph Comm August 28th, 2011 4:58 am

    Woodshed, Your ukulele chords have given me endless hours of fun! Yes, DJ was someone I looked up to growing up. He was an amazing artist. When he caught wind that a freind and I were messing around with Super 8 stop-mtion photography he stopped by and we experimented. I’m the guy whose shirt changes colors rapidly in the opening montage.

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