Wonderful Tonight | fingerstyle guitar
Photo by Jessica Rockowitz | Unsplash

Wonderful Tonight

Wonderful Tonight is far and away Eric Clapton’s most famous song — and one of the most romantic songs ever written. I’ve had this arrangement in my back pocket for 20 years. I had been developing and playing it at wedding ceremonies for friends and family. I like how it morphed into an Americana piece, especially when played on a steel string guitar.

He wrote Wonderful Tonight on the evening of September 7th 1976, as he was waiting for Patti Boyd to get ready. The couple were attending Paul and Linda McCartney’s annual Buddy Holly party:

“He was sitting round playing his guitar while I was trying on dresses upstairs. I was taking so long and I was panicking about my hair, my clothes, everything, and I came downstairs expecting him to really berate me but he said, ‘Listen to this!'” Patti Boyd, The Guardian 2008.

If you’re a fan of Eric Clapton, I highly recommend the documentary Life in 12 Bars. He was heavily involved in the documentary, and seems to use it as atonement for his past behavior. The film casts Clapton in a revealing light; a tragic childhood, a full blown narcissist, and overcoming addiction to drugs and alcohol.

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How to play Wonderful Tonight | fingerstyle guitar

The guitar tab for this arrangement is beautifully written across three pages. I recommend this piece for intermediate guitar players and up. I’ve given you the chord shape above the tablature so you can 1) learn your chord shapes, and 2) better navigate your way through the tab. Enjoy the guitar tab is available below:

My order of play look like this in accordance with the tab: Intro, Verse, Chorus — Intro, Verse, Chorus, Bridge — Intro, End.

Wonderful Tonight | fingerstyle guitar

This song is played in standard tuning. You’ll fret the 2nd fret with your thumb as indicated in the guitar tab.