Saturday, October 27, 2012

101-Two Chord Tunes

(C) Lil Rev 2012

For years now, like a pack-rat, i have collected bits and pieces of
what one might call a loose conglomeration of tune-lists.

Occasionally, i would have an organizing fit and...
into my moleskin notebook they would go, filed away for who
knows what.

For some reason, as a teacher, i simply found it to be wise to keep a
 running list of 2 chord songs.

After years, months and days, i have finally decided it was time to
conclude my search for the holy grail of two chord songs. So, now I
give to you my fellow Ukulele enthusiast a running list of 101 two
chord songs.

By no means is this list complete. It is merely a starting point,
a springboard from which to launch.

There are 1000's of two chord songs out there!

These songs come from many different sources including books, hymnals,
random songbooks, live concerts, song circles, rise-up singing, Jerry Silverman's
Folksong Collections, Little Red Songbook, Pete Seeger's Song File, Folk Songs
Of North America (Lomax), Wayne Erbsen Collections, Norm Cohen's Long
Steel Rail, Child Ballad Collections, Don Edwards Collection and too many other
collections to note here.

The songs themselves are kids songs, spirituals, play songs, world music,
folk, blues, rock, country, honky-tonk and more.

They all have one thing in common....they are all songs ripe for the singing!

Since this list took me years to compile, what i ask of you the reader is  a
simple courtesy. Should you choose to use this list in any way. Please give
credit where credit is due! No, i did not write these tunes, i merely, compiled
them and in exchange for my hours of searching, i ask only that you credit my
blog:, so that others might derive some
benefit from the many articles, interviews and essays contained herein.

The list below is random in its presentation and without regard to
alphabetizing or genre.

Please note: Some of these songs can be sung with an additional 3rd chord.
My written sources and recorded sources are merely variations. Ultimately,
these are all tunes that can be played with just 2 chords, or i would not have listed
them here. If you beg to differ, send your queries to:

1) Caught Us Doing It (The Hokum Boys)
2) Big Chief Buffalo Nickel (Desert Blues) (Jimmie Rodgers)
3) Tulsa Time (Eric Clapton, Don Gibson)
4) Pistol Packing Mama
5) Ain't No Bugs On Me
6) Iko Iko
7) Don't Mess With My Toot Toot
8) Aunt Jemimah's Plaster
9) Drunken Sailor
10) Polly Wolly Doodle
11) Hey Lolly
12) The Newsboy Jimmy Brown
13) The Bum Song
14) The Thinest Man
15) Rueben's Train
16) Buffalo Gals
17) Shortening Bread
18) Old Milwaukee Runaround (from: Uke Town by Lil Rev)
19) Pick A Bale O' Cotton
20) Champaign Charlie
21) Tom Dooley
22) Water Bound
23) Handsome Molly
24) Stay All Night
25) Da Boatman Dance
26) Going Across The Sea
27) Jambalaya
28) Louis Sands & Jim McGhee
27)  Dixie Darling
28) Roving Gambler
29) Honky Tonking
30) John Henry
31) Tideo
32) When Your Troubles Are Like Mine
33) Jack O Diamonds
34) Waltz Across Texas
35) Little Maggie
36) My Horses Ain't Hungry
37) Memphis
38) Sinner Man
39) Tombstone
40) Rock Island Line
41) Baby Please Don't Go
42) Simple Gifts
43) Rye Whiskey
44) The Cuckoo
45) Skillet Good N Greasy
46) Chisolm Trail
47) Buffalo Skinners
49) Black Jack Davey
50) Joshua Fit Jericho
51) Willie Seton
52) Willie Moore
53) Bright Morning Stars
54) Pastures of Plenty
55) Single Girl, Married Girl
56) Little Birdie
57) Old Man At The Mill
58) Where The Soul of Man Never Dies
59) Down In The Valley
60) Down By The River
61) 900 Miles
62) I Ride An Old Paint
63) Dollar Down, Dollar A Week
64) Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
65) Billy Grimes The Rover
66) Likes Liker Better Than Me
67) Up In Wisconsin
68) Carry It On
69) Sierry Pet Er
70) Root Hog Or Die
71) Aunt Rhody
72) Bheir Me O
73) Sweet Potatoes
74) Surle Pont D' Augnon
75) Dayenu
76) Zum Gali
77) Wade In The Water
78) Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo'
79) Gospel Ship
80) Buffalo Boy
81) Way Down The Old Plank Road
82) Alouette
83) Beans In My Ears
84) Bury Me Not
85) Green, Green Rocky Road
86) Down By The Bay
87) Everybody Loves A Saturday
88) The More We Get Together
89) Put Your Little Foot
90) Barbara Allen
91) Following The Cow Trail (Trail To Mexico)
92) Crow Black Chicken
93) I Have A Little Dreidl
94) Skip To My Lou
95) The Wheels On The Bus
96) Hot Corn
97) Sodeo
98) The Sow Took The Measles
99) He's Got The Whole World In His Hands
100) Billy Broke Locks
101) The Paw-Paw Patch

OK......So I lied....Here are a few more gems to add to your 101.....

102) Felix The Solider (Folk Songs of North America-Lomax)
103) Young Charlotte
104) I'ze The Bye (Who build the boat)(Canadian Folk Song)
105) Rattle Snake
106) I'm Troubled
107) Chickens There-A-Coming
108) Charles Guiteau
109) Muskrat, Oh Muskrat
110) The Boll Weevil Song
111) Clementine
112) Buddy Won't You Roll Down The Line (Uncle Dave Macon)
113) Season of the Witch (Donovan)
114) Dream Baby (Roy Orbison)
115) The Cowboy Song (Tom Hanks in Joe -vs- The Volcano) 
116) Shady Grove
117) Everyday People (Sly & Family Stone)
118) Mendocino *(Sir Douglas Quartet)
119) Can't Stop Uke'n (Lil Rev)
120) Sal'a Got A Meatskin
121) Walking Boss (Clarence Ashley)
122) Feeling Alright (Joe Cocker)
123) Chewing Gum
124) The Story The Crow Told Me
125) Hog Eye
126) Bringing In The Georgia Mail
127) Katy Daley
128) Take Me Back To Tulsa (Bob Wills)
129) Jubilee
130) Keep Your Lamp Trimmed & Burning
131) Can't You Hear Jerusalem Moan
132) See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
133) Paddy Works On The Railway
134) Ta Ra Ra Boom De ay
135) Joe Bowers
136) Love Somebody, Yes I Do (Jean Ritchie)
137) The Death of Cock Robin (Jean Ritchie)
138) Pretty Saro (Jean Ritchie)
139) I Wonder When I Shall Be Married (Jean Ritchie)
140) Cedar Swamp (J. Ritchie)
141) Hiram Hubbard (J. Ritchie)
142) Old King Cole (Jean Richie)
143) Skin & Bones (Jean Ritchie)
144) Old Betty Larkin (Jean Ritchie)
145) London Bridges (Kids Song)

146) Road To Nowhere (Talking Heads)
147) Pushing Too Hard (The Seeds)
149) Oye Como Va (Santana)
150) Baby I Need Your Loving (The Four Tops)
151) Paperback Writer (The Beatles)
152) Countdown (The Black Keys)
153) The Bottle Let Me Down (Merle Haggard)
154) Hey Gyp (Donovan)
155) Achy Breaky Heart (Billy Ray Cyrus)
156) Fire On The Mountain (Grateful Dead)
157) Anyone Else But You (The Moldy Peaches)
158) Feeling Alright (Dave Mason)
159) The Pepper Song (C) Lil Rev (On Frogwater CD Sparkle N Shine)
160) Rambling Man (Hank Williams

Whew! Now That's a List! That's all she wrote folks.

* The author wishes to thank the following folks for their help: Will Branch, Gene Nichols
Aaron Keim and Joe Hickerson.

Good luck,

Lil Rev 
October 27th, 2012

Updated: 6-21-15 (1st day of Summer)

PS: If you would like to add to this list with tunes that i have unintentionally left out, please email me at: and i would be happy to add your additions. In turn, if there is a tune here that has been mistakenly included that you'd beg to differ about, please let me know.

This list is meant to be a resource to all. My sincere hope is that it will turn into a definitive listing of over 200 to 300 hundred 2 -Chord Tunes. Thanks for visiting

I also hope to publish a book of 101 Two Chord Songs at some point soon.

PPS: Remember! This is just a list. The idea is that you the reader will track down these tunes via You Tube, Library, ITUNES, or some other source and then learn them. After all, its just two chords!


  1. How about that 70's annoyance, A Horse With No Name

  2. Extremely helpful, thank you. I know a few people who need a bit of motivating in their own abilities and some of these should do the trick. Cheers!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks Lil' Rev! Here are the 2-chord songbooks I've compiled:
    and for Christmas:

  5. great list Rev! thankyou!

    you forgot the greatest of em all though, "Shady Grove" ;)


                                                                   Lil Rev @ Sam Ash in Clearwater, FL                                      ...