easy ukulele songs

How to Play 5 of This Summer’s Hits on the Ukulele

easy ukulele songs

Looking for a new song to play on your ukulele? Music teacher Christopher S.  shares how to play five of this summer’s hottest songs on the ukulele…

Whether you’re at the beach this summer, traveling the world, or having lawn parties and barbecues with friends, you can always pull out your ukulele for a quick song while enjoying the summer festivities. If you’re looking for some new, easy ukulele songs to learn this summer, here are some ideas that will fit perfectly with the summer vibes.

These are five of this summer’s hits that everyone is going to know, along with chord diagrams and lyrics so you can learn how to play them on ukulele.

So, let’s learn how to rock this summer with these easy ukulele songs!

1. “The Nights” by Avicii

Strum along to this song by Swedish DJ and music producer Avicii. Released in December 2014, this “pirate-y folk song” was number 1 on U.K. dance charts and will make any summer experience a rockin’ good time.

The song is in the key of Eb minor, and the chords go like this:

The Nights Avicii Chords

 

[Ebm] Once upon a younger year

[Ebm] When all our shadows disappeared

[Db] The animals inside came out to [Ebm] play

[Ebm] When face to face with all our fears

[Ebm] Learned our lessons through the tears

[Db] Made memories we knew would never [Ebm] fade

One day my father— [B] he told me,

“Son, don’t let [Gb] it slip away”

He [Db] took me in his arms, I heard him [Ebm] say,

“When you get [B] older

Your wild life will [Gb] live for younger days

[Db] Think of me if ever you’re [Db] afraid.”

(Pre-chorus : single strum)

He said, “One [B] day you’ll leave this world [Gb] behind

So live a [Db] life you will [Ebm] remember.”

My father [B] told me when I was just a [Gb] child

These are the [Db] nights that never [Ebm] die

My father told me

B – Gb – Db – Ebm – Db

[Ebm[ When thunder clouds start pouring down

[Ebm] Light a fire they can’t put out

[Db] Carve their name into those shinning [Ebm] stars

He said, [Ebm] “Go adventure far beyond these shores.

[Ebm] Don’t forsake this life of yours.

[Db] I’ll guide you home no matter where you [Ebm] are.”

One day my father— [B] he told me,

“Son, don’t let [Gb] it slip away”

He [Db] took me in his arms, I heard him [Ebm] say,

“When you get [B] older

Your wild life will [Gb] live for younger days

[Db] Think of me if ever you’re [Db] afraid.”

(Pre-chorus : single strum)

He said, “One [B] day you’ll leave this world [Gb] behind

So live a [Db] life you will [Ebm] remember.”

My father [B] told me when I was just a [Gb] child

These are the [Db] nights that never [Ebm] die

My father told me

B – Gb – Db – Ebm – B – Gb

These are the [Db] night that never [Ebm] die

My father told me

B – Gb – Db – Ebm

2. “Bright” by Echosmith

The song “Bright” is by the young and up-and-coming band Echosmith. It is their latest song, which was realized in February 2015 and is becoming a well-known hit of the summer. It has a folksy resonance, and it would be a great song to strum on those bright, starlit summer nights. This song requires an intermediate knowledge of playing the ukulele, because it has some tough chord shapes. It is also tuned a half-step down.

Here are the chords to get you on your way to strumming along to this song!

Bright Echosmith Chords

 

Intro: G – Cadd9

-Verse 1-

G G/F#

I think the universe is on my side

Em7

Heaven and Earth have finally aligned

Cadd9 D G – Cadd9

Days are good and thats they way it should be

G G/F#

You sprinkle stardust on my pillow case

Em7

It’s like a mooning brushed across my face

Cadd9 D G – Cadd9

nights are good and thats the way it should be

-Pre-Chorus 1-

Em7 Cadd9

You make me sing ooohhh la la laaa

Em7

You make a girl go oohhh oohhh

Cadd9 D

I’m in love, love

-Chorus 1-

Cadd9 G Em7 D

Did you see that shooting star tonight?

Cadd9 G Em7 D

Were you dazzled by the same constellation?

Cadd9 G Em7 D

Did you and Jupiter conspire to get me?

Cadd9 G Em7

I think you and the Moon and Neptune got it right

D G G/F# Em7 Cadd9

‘Cause now I’m shining bright, so bright

G G/F# Em7 Cadd9

Bright, so bright

-Verse 2-

G G/F#

And I see colors in a different way

Em7

You make what doesn’t matter fade to grey

Cadd9 D G – Cadd9

Life is good and that’s the way it should be

-Pre-Chorus 2-

Em7 Cadd9

You make me sing ooh la la laaa

Em7

You make a girl go oohhh oohhh

Cadd9 D

I’m in love, love

-Chorus 2-

Cadd9 G Em7 D

Did you see that shooting star tonight?

Cadd9 G Em7 D

Were you dazzled by the same constellation?

Cadd9 G Em7 D

Did you and Jupiter conspire to get me?

Cadd9 G Em7

I think you and the Moon and Neptune got it right

D G G/F# Em7 Cadd9

‘Cause now I’m shining bright, so bright

G G/F# Em7 Cadd9

Bright, so bright

Bridge

Em7 A

(oooohhh) so bright

Em7 A

And I get lost (ooohh) in your eyes

Final Chorus

Cadd9 G Em7 D

Did you see that shooting star tonight?

Cadd9 G Em7 D

Were you dazzled by the same constellation?

Cadd9 G Em7 D

Did you and Jupiter conspire to get me?

Cadd9 G Em7

I think you and the Moon and Neptune got it right

Cadd9 G Em7

I think you and the Moon and Neptune got it right

Cadd9 G Em7

I think you and the Moon and Neptune got it right

D G G/F# Em7 Cadd9

‘Cause now I’m shining bright, so bright

G G/F# Em7 Cadd9

Bright, so bright

G G/F# Em7 Cadd9

Bright, so bright

G G/F# Em7 Cadd9 G

And I get lost in your eyes tonight.

3. “Better in the Morning” by Little Boots

This is a fun song to play and is easy enough to pick away on the ukulele. It is by the artist Victoria Christina Hesketh, better known as “Little Boots.” The song was released on her latest album titled “Working Girl” (2015). The song’s riff is very easy to learn with some practice and repeats throughout the entire song. Here is the tab for the riff.

Better in the Morning Tab

4. “Tear In My Heart” by Twenty One Pilots

This is a cool song that uses some advanced strumming, but is easy to get the hang of after listening to it. It’s by an American alternative hip hop duo, who released this song on their fourth album “Blurryface” in May of 2015. This is an interesting song, because it has a more of a punk-rock feel than most of their more hip-hop style songs. It sounds very cool and has that island, summer feel when played on the ukulele!

The basic progression of the song goes like this:

Tear in My Heart Twenty One Pilots Chords

 

[Intro]

D F# G

D F# G

[Verse 1]

D F# G

Sometimes you gotta bleed to know

D F# G

That you’re alive and have a soul

A7

But it takes someone to come around

A

To show you how

[Chorus]

G

She’s the tear in my heart

I’m alive

A Bm

She’s the tear in my heart

I’m on fire

A D

She’s the tear in my heart

A

Take me higher

D F# G

Than I’ve ever been

[Verse 2]

D F# G

The songs on the radio are okay

D F# G

But my taste in music is your face

A7

And it takes a song to come around

A

To show you how

[Chorus]

G

She’s the tear in my heart

I’m alive

A Bm

She’s the tear in my heart

I’m on fire

A D

She’s the tear in my heart

A

Take me higher

G

Than I’ve ever been

A Bm

Than I’ve ever been

A D A

Than I’ve ever been

D

Than I’ve ever been

[Bridge]

D A D F# G D A D

ohh, oh-oh, oh, ooh, oh-oh, ooo, oo-oo, oo, ooo, oo oo

D F# G D A D

You fell asleep in my car I drove the whole time

D F# G D A D

But that’s okay I’ll just avoid the holes so you sleep fine

D F# G

I’m driving here I sit

D A D

Cursing my government

D F# G D A D

For not using my taxes to fill holes with more cement

D F# G D A D

You fell asleep in my car I drove the whole time

D F# G D A D

But that’s okay I’ll just avoid the holes so you sleep fine

D F# G D

I’m driving here I sit

D D

Cursing my government

A7 A D F# G

For not using my taxes to fill holes with more cement

[Verse 3]

D F# G

Sometimes you gotta bleed to know, oh, oh

D F# G

That you’re alive and have a soul, oh, oh

A7

But it takes someone to come around

A

To show you how

[Chorus]

G

She’s the tear in my heart

I’m alive

A  Bm

She’s the tear in my heart

I’m on fire

A D

She’s the tear in my heart

A

Take me higher

Than I’ve ever been

G

My heart is my armour

A Bm

She’s the tear in my heart

She’s a carver

A D

She’s a butcher with a smile

A

Cut me farther

G

Than I’ve ever been

A Bm

Than I’ve ever been

A D A

Than I’ve ever been

Than I’ve ever been

G

My heart is my armour

A Bm

She’s the tear in my heart

She’s a carver

A D

She’s a butcher with a smile

A

Cut me farther

D

Than I’ve ever been

5. Paloma Faith – Ready for the Good Life

The final summer hit is by the British soul singer and actress Paloma Faith. It is a funky and soul-filled song, which will get you wanting to play those funky bass lines on your ukulele through the whole summer!

The song uses a walk-up line, going from the notes F#, G, to G#. It is easy to play and sounds great in octaves on the uke! The chords to the song are as follows:

Ready for the Good Life Paloma Faith Chords

 

Intro

F# G G# F# G G#

Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ahhh

F# G G# F# G G#

Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ahhh (Woo child)

Verse

G#

Baby give me diamonds, give me gold

G#

Take the pain away from in my soul

B C#

Oooh ooooh oooh ooooh (yeah)

G#

I’m ready for the good life (hey)

G#

Cause I’ve been slaving

G#

Gave it all I got

G#

It seemed the best to me, was not enough

B C#

Oooh ooooh oooh ooooh (yeah)

G#

I’m ready for the good life

F# G

Let me sing it now

Chorus

G#

Tell me I’m a diva

B

Take away my wings

C#

I know I give you fever tonight

G#

Ah ah ah ah ah

G#

Dancing to my rhythm

B

It’s time for me to shine

C#

Shake it for the living

G#

I’m ready for the good life

F# G G# F# G G#

Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ahhh

G#

I’m ready for the good life

F# G G# F# G G#

Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ahhh

G#

I’m ready for the good life

Verse 2

G#

It’s my time now, tell everyone

G#

The ones that hurt me, they better run

B C#

Oooh ooooh oooh ooooh (yeah)

G#

I’m ready for the good life (hey)

G#

I’m gonna get mine, before I’m old

G#

I’m coming up now, I’m in control

B C#

Oooh ooooh oooh ooooh (yeah)

G#

I’m ready for the good life (come on now)

Chorus

G#

Tell me I’m a diva

B

Take away my wings

C#

I know I give you fever tonight

G#

Ah ah ah ah ah

G#

Dancing to my rhythm

B

It’s time for me to shine

C#

Shake it for the living

G#

I’m ready for the good life

Bridge

F# C#

Ohhh, I can’t let go of this feeling

G#

Let’s raise the ceiling

B

Singing ohhh ohh yeah yeah yeah

F# C#

So come on child if you’re with me

D#

Let me hear you say yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah) YEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH

F# G G# F# G G#

Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ahhh

F# G G# F# G G#

I’m ready for the good life

F# G G# F# G G#

Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ahhh

F# G G# F# G G#

I’m ready (come on)

Chorus

G#

Tell me I’m a diva

B

Take away my wings

C#

I know I give you fever tonight

G#

Ah ah ah ah ah

G#

Dancing to my rhythm

B

It’s time for me to shine

C#

Shake it for the living

G#

I’m ready for the good life

G#

Tell me I’m a diva

B

Take away my wings

C#

I know I give you fever tonight

G#

Ah ah ah ah ah

G#

Dancing to my rhythm

B

It’s time for me to shine

C#

Shake it for the living

G#

I’m ready for the good life

Ready to start strumming? Invite your friends over, and start playing these easy ukulele songs that will get everybody singing their favorite summer tunes!

ChristopherS.Post Author: Christopher S.
Christopher S. teaches bass guitar, guitar, and composition in Jamaica Plain, MA. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Humboldt State University and is currently atttending New England Conservatory for his Master of Music degree. Christopher has been teaching students since 2004. Learn more about Christopher here!

Photo by GanMed64

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