Looking for some happy ukulele songs to play? Music teacher Willy M. put together this great list of easy ukulele songs that are sure to brighten your day…
I’ve had bad days. You’ve had bad days. Sometimes there’s no escaping them. It’s like the wise sage once said, “it rains on the just and the unjust.” But instead of sulking, it always helps to find a pick-me-up, whether that be a delicious pint of ice cream or learning some fun ukulele songs!
What Are Some Happy & Easy Ukulele Songs?
Turn that smile upside down as you learn to play these fun, happy ukulele songs!
- I Make My Own Sunshine – Alyssa Bonagura
- My Girl – The Temptations
- Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On – Louis Armstrong
- Daydream – The Lovin’ Spoonful
- Bad Day – Daniel Powter
1. I Make My Own Sunshine – Alyssa Bonagura
Thank you to Laurie Kammer for the use of this video!
Get the tabs here: I Make My Own Sunshine
I first heard this song on the Lowe’s commercial that launched this tune to fame and couldn’t get it out of my head. So, I went on a mad campaign to find it. I found it, and it turns out to be one of the more easy songs to learn on the ukulele.
There are a few versions of this song out there now, but I have found that Alyssa’s original recording is the one I like the most. With her infectious happiness, it’s like getting a shot of sunshine directly into your cerebral cortex!
The song itself is incredibly simple. It uses a modified version of the “oldies progression” for the entire song. The uke chords G, D, Em D, C, and D repeat throughout. So once you get the basic pattern, you should be fine to put a halt to the bad day, turn it around, and create some of your own sunshine.
2. My Girl – The Temptations
Thank you to Danielle Ate the Sandwich for the use of this video!
Get the tabs here: My Girl
Even if your girl (or guy) doesn’t bring you “sunshine on a cloudy day,” play this Motown classic from The Temptations, and you’ll be smiling before you know it.
This is one of my favorite easy ukulele songs because of how simple it is to play. With only C, Dm, F, and G in it, there’s no excuse not to add it to your collection of songs to help you fight off the blues!
“My Girl,” even has the added bonus of containing one of the funkiest solo lines of all time, which you can play around with until you have it down. Once you’ve mastered that into line, all your worries will be a thing of the past!
3. Give Me A Kiss To Build A Dream On – Louis Armstrong
Thank you to Sophie Madeleine for the use of this video!
Get the tabs here: Give Me A Kiss To Build A Dream On
Of all the songs on the list, this one will be the most challenging because it has a lot of chords. But, it’s a go-to for happy ukulele songs!
If you go to ultimate-guitar.com and transpose it into the key of C, it shouldn’t be too difficult.
The cool thing about this song is once you’ve mastered it, you’ll feel so proud of yourself for learning all these new chords and the classic jazz progression. You’ll also forget all about the crummy things that happened to drive you to learn it in the first place!
I have found that the most challenging part of learning this song is to learn the diminished and major 7th chords. But if you find that you have a hard time forming those chords on your ukulele, you might want to try making it slightly simpler by just sliding up from the chord to the next fret.
The diminished chords are used in this song as passing tones to get to other chords in the progression. If you gloss over them with minor variations of the chords, it won’t sound exactly the same. However, it’ll be easier to play until you get the hang of the diminished forms.
4. Daydream – The Lovin’ Spoonful
Thank you to lilmisstodd1 for the use of this video!
Get the tabs here: Daydream
One of the best ways to defeat a bad day is by whistling. And what better accompaniment to your ukulele than a good whistling tune? “Daydream” by the Lovin’ Spoonful is one of those infectious songs that you can’t get out of your head, and you just can’t have a bad day while whistling it. Just think about it.
Your hair’s a mess — “What a day for a daydream…” Suddenly, that bad hair day seems whimsical.
Your car won’t start — “What a day for a daydream…” Suddenly, you’re relaxing on vacation, not in a hurry to go anywhere.
It’s the end of the world and the apocalypse has started — “What a day for a daydream…” OK, well, maybe that one won’t work for that, but you get the idea!
This song is another one of those simple tunes that shouldn’t be too hard to master. It has an unusual chord progression, with a classic jazz heritage, C to A7, then Dm and G7 for the verse, and F, D/F#, C, A7 for most of the chorus, with a slight change to G, C, G, C at the end of the chorus.
You will be smiling in no time at all!
5. Bad Day – Daniel Powter
Get the tabs here: Bad Day
Daniel Powter wrote the ever-popular anthem for bad days with “Bad Day!” Originally a piano song, this song makes a great ukulele piece. It isn’t too tricky, and it’s actually one of the best easy ukulele songs for beginners.
According to the online chord charts that I found, the song is in the key of D. However, when you watch the video, it looks like Powter is playing it in C.
Either key is simple enough to play it in, and you can find a decent chord chart at ultimate-guitar.com, where you can also transpose it into any key you like.
You should have no problem playing this piece if you know your major chords and most of your minor chords. In the key of D, you will find your typical I, IV, V of D, G, and A. You’ll also find an Em and a Bm thrown into the mix as well. For the bridge, Powter modulates from the original key to the key of F for a few measures, but then he’s back into the primary key of the song. While in the bridge, there is only an F and a Bb to deal with.
While this song has quite a few chords, it will hone your ukulele playing skills, help you get your mind off of your bad day, and get you focused on learning something new. These are all excellent ways to turn a bad day around!
Bonus Song: Tonight You Belong to Me – Bernadette Peters and Steve Martin
Thank you to Ben Ames for the use of this video!
Get the tabs here: Tonight You Belong to Me
Let’s go ahead and add one more happy tune to our basic ukulele songs that are easy to learn! If you’ve seen the movie The Jerk with Steve Martin you know this popular ukulele song!
“Tonight You Belong to Me” was initially recorded by a group called Patience and Prudence. Still, Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters did a fantastic version complete with harmony and coronet on the movie. Once you look up the clip on YouTube and start singing along, whip out your uke and start strumming along with Steve, you won’t help but start smiling, and that bad day will disappear into the past!
Get Happy Playing These Easy Ukulele Songs!
So now you have five happy ukulele songs and a bonus to help you defeat your lousy day. Best of all, they’re all easy and fun to play! If you’re still looking for more songs to play, check out this ultimate list of ukulele songs for every occasion.
If you need an excellent teacher to help you learn these easy ukulele songs and other skills, TakeLessons has some great ukulele teachers!
Does playing music cheer you up on a bad day? Share your favorite songs for blasting bad moods in the comments below!
Willy M. teaches guitar, ukulele, and mandolin lessons in Winston, NC. He is the author of the Dead Man’s Tuning series of mandolin songbooks, and is a former member of the American Federation of Musicians. Willy has been teaching for 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to folks in their 80’s. Learn more about Willy here!
2 thoughts on “5 Happy & Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners (With Videos & Tabs)”
One of my absolute “happy” ukulele songs is Swing Into Spring from the Curious George movie. The original version from the movie, NOT the much slower version on Youtebe! Thanks for posting happiness…
That was rather impressive to read, nevertheless I think I have checked out something quite similar already. Excellent work nonetheless, liked to look at it!