The ukulele is an instrument which literally millions of people have discovered and enjoyed, because it’s fairly easy to learn, and because it’s just plain fun to play. The legendary George Harrison of The Beatles used to love bringing out his ukulele whenever friends would drop over for a visit, just for the fun and entertainment of it. You don’t need to have the chops of a George Harrison to enjoy playing the Top 10 ukulele tabs listed below, you just need to enjoy the music and let your fingers follow your feelings. For each of the songs on the list, a tab has been provided to show you how to play the song on your instrument.
1. The Beatles “Blackbird”
‘Blackbird’ is a song which was written by Paul McCartney, although like all other songs which either of the duo wrote, it is officially credited to ‘Lennon/McCartney’. It was recorded on the famous White Album by The Beatles, and is a perfect song for transposition to the ukulele. McCartney has often performed the song when on tour himself, because it provides a relatively quiet counterpoint to some of the more raucous rock numbers on the set list.
2. Van Morisson “Brown Eyed Girl”
Van Morrison first exploded into popularity as lead singer of the garage band Them, which had a big hit with the song ‘Gloria’. After the breakup of that band, Morrison released ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’ in 1967, and the song has been a staple of classic rock music ever since that time. Morrison continues to perform, and at virtually every public appearance, you can count on this song being a centerpiece.
3. Jake Shimabukuro “Blue Roses Falling”
Jake Shimabukuro is a Hawaiian-born artist who has soared to stardom as one of the great virtuosos of the ukulele, such that his talent has been compared to Jimi Hendrix on electric guitar. ‘Blue Roses Falling’ is a song of extraordinary beauty and power, and since it can get pretty complex at times, it should be saved until you’ve mastered the basics, and are ready for something challenging.
4. The Monkees “I’m A Believer”
At the height of their popularity in the ’60’s, The Monkees were sometimes compared to The Beatles, although it should be noted that The Beatles were the gold standard at that time, and every band in creation was compared to them. “I’m a Believer” was a big hit for the band, and has been covered by such artists as Neil Diamond and Smash Mouth.
5. Etta James “Hound Dog”
Etta James was a truly remarkable artist, comfortable in singing gospel, rhythm-and-blues, jazz, and almost everything else. This song is one made popular by Elvis Presley, who recorded the song in 1956 and enjoyed his own meteoric rise soon afterward. ‘Hound Dog’ is a very earthy song, perfect for Etta James’ own gritty performance style.
6. Weezer “Island In The Sun”
Weezer is an alternative rock band (touring alongside The Pixies in 2018), which has carved out a solid career from music that’s loaded with power hooks and melodies sprinkled with metal. Recorded by the band in 2001, ‘Island in the Sun’ has both a gently melodic component and trademark Weezer power chords that make it a natural for the uke.
7. John Lennon “Imagine”
‘Imagine’ is one of those songs which can inspire an entire generation (and it did), ranking as one of the finest things ever written by John Lennon in his post-Beatles days. A thoughtful, hopeful song, ‘Imagine’ is perfect for playing without accompaniment, either on piano or ukulele.
8. Bob Marley “Is This Love”
While Marley’s life was tragically short (he only lived to be 36 years old), his legacy still lives on in the reggae music he brought to the world. ‘Is This Love’ was recorded with his band, The Wailers, and is one of the best examples of Marley’s laid-back, bouncy musical style, along with his distinctive vocals.
9. Patsy Cline “Walking After Midnight”
Patsy Cline died tragically in a plane crash in 1963, cutting short a stunning career that saw her rise from darling of the Nashville sound in the late 1950’s, to superstar of the entire pop scene, as one of the first enormous crossover acts. ‘Walking After Midnight’ is just one of many big hits she had in her brief career, and it’s a sultry example of her hugely popular country singing style.
10. Randy Newman “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”
Many people probably recognize this song from the soundtrack of Pixar’s huge hit movie, ‘Toy Story’, and it was used in each of the sequels which followed the film’s initial success. A very poignant song which perfectly described the relationship between a young boy in the story and his favorite toy, this song has the appeal to become a personal favorite with all ukulele players.