Looking for a pick me up? Music teacher Willy M. put this great list of easy ukulele songs together that are sure to turn your frown upside down…
I’ve had bad days; you’ve had bad days, it seems that sometimes there’s no escaping them. It’s like the wise sage once said, “it rains on the just and the unjust.”
Well, you can sit around and sulk, eat a pint of ice cream and watch movies that make you cry your eyes out, or you can learn these five easy ukulele songs that will brighten any bad day!
1. I Make My Own Sunshine – Alyssa Bonagura
Get the tabs here: I Make My Own Sunshine
The first time I heard this song was on the Lowe’s commercial that launched this tune to fame. I couldn’t get it out of my head, and had to go about on a mad campaign to find it. I found it, and it turns out to be a simple song to play 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 chords G, D, Em D, C and finally D repeats 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
Get the tabs here: My Girl
Even if your girl (or guy) doesn’t bring you “sunshine on a cloudy day,” just pop in this Motown classic from The Temptations, and you’ll be smiling before you know it.
This song is so simple to play, with only C, Dm, F and G in it, that 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
Get the tabs here: Give Me A Kiss To Build A Dream On
Of all the songs in the list, this one will be the most challenging. It has a lot of chords.
If you go to ultimate-guitar.com and transpose it into the key of C it shouldn’t be too challenging.
The cool thing about this song is once you’ve mastered it, you will not only feel so proud of yourself for learning all these new chords, and the classic jazz progression, but you will forget all about all the crummy things that happened to drive you to learn it in the first place!
I have found that the toughest 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, but it will be easier to play, until you get the hang of the diminished forms.
4. Daydream – The Lovin’ Spoonful
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 Loving 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 day dream…” Suddenly, that bad hair day seems whimsical.
Your car won’t start — “What a day for a day dream…” Suddenly, you’re relaxing on vacation, not in a hurry to go anywhere.
It’s the end of the world and the apocalypse started — “What a day for a day dream…” 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 difficult, 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 that you like.
If you know your major chords, and most of your minor chords you should be able to play this piece. In the key of D, you will find your typical I, IV, V of D, G and A, but you will also find an Em and a Bm thrown into the mix as well. For the bridge, Powter modulates out of the original key to the key of F for a few measures, but then he’s back into the main 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, which is always a good way to turn a bad day around!
Bonus Song: Tonight You Belong to Me – Bernadette Peters and Steve Martin
Get the tabs here: Tonight You Belong to Me
I’ll leave you with one more song you can look up and learn to play. If you’ve seen the movie The Jerk with Steve Martin you know this popular ukulele song!
“Tonight You Belong to Me” was originally recorded by a group called Patience and Prudence, but Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters did an awesome 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!
So now you have five songs and a bonus to help you defeat your bad day, and get you started with playing the ukulele in no time! If you’re still looking for more songs to play, don’t worry, we have the ultimate list for you right here!
If you need a good teacher… well, you know where to go. That’s right, TakeLessons has some great ukulele teachers who can teach you how to play these songs, and who I’m sure will also put a smile on your face!
Does playing music cheer you up on a bad day? Share your favorite songs for blasting bad moods in the comments below!