The ukulele seems to have made a huge comeback in the music world. More pop artists are using one than ever. Youtube is filled with covers of easy ukulele songs that are absolutely perfect for beginners.
When you get this awesome instrument and want to learn how to play it can seem intimidating. It’s not as hard as you think! And learning a musical instrument has benefits far beyond just entertaining a crowd — it can actually improve brain function.
We’ve compiled 10 easy ukulele songs that you can learn. Entertain your audience or have a sing-along. The best part is the songs all have five chords or less so there’s no need to worry about them being too complicated even if you’re just beginning to play.
Let’s get this show on the road!
1. Cups (When I’m Gone) – Anna Kendrick
The movie Pitch Perfect made the Cups song popular but it was actually written and first recorded in 1928 and released as the single “When I’m Gone” in 1931 by The Carter Family.
The movie inspired many to learn how to do the rhythm with plastic cups but you can wow your listeners and get them to join in singing as you strum away on your ukulele.
The chords are fairly easy for this simple ukulele song and made even easier for the novice player because chord changes are several bars apart. There’s no feeling rushed between ukulele chords.
2. Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye
Belgian Australian singer-songwriter Gotye got a lot of airtime from this song off his third album Making Mirrors in July 2011 and went to number one in August.
It’s been covered by everyone from the acapella group Pentatonix to Darren Criss on Glee. Even Weird Al Yankovic got in on the action. In fact, hundreds of versions of “Somebody That I Used to Know” have been recorded.
Gotye was so impressed and honored that he put together a video mix called “Somebodies” of hundreds of online covers of it. Every instrument you can imagine has been used in covers of this song but the ukulele is definitely among the favorites.
3. Bubbly – Colbie Caillat
This song from Colbie’s debut album in 2007 is perfect for the ukulele. It’s like they’re meant for each other. They both make your foot tap and your soul smile.
No matter what mood you’re in when you start, playing this simple ukulele song will put you in a better one. You’ll find yourself singing it long after you put the ukulele down and go about your day.
4. Ho Hey – The Lumineers
This folk rock song released in June of 2012 is sure to get everyone singing along at least for the “ho hey” parts. It topped the charts for 18 weeks and is pretty recognizable.
“Ho Hey” has been used in commercials, video games, TV shows, and movies both in the U.S. and the U.K.
The bonus is it’s pretty simple to learn on the ukulele or on the guitar.
5. Royals – Lorde
You’d never know that New Zealand singer Lorde was just a teenager when this song hit the charts in 2012. It got released for free on Spotify and Youtube. Lorde was 13 years old when she started writing songs.
Royals is a song that gets stuck in your head, which explains the warm reception it got from critics and listeners around the world. Musicians like David Bowie, David Grohl from the Foo Fighters, and Moby all sang its praises.
6. Stand By Me – Ben E King
It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t know the song “Stand By Me,” released in 1961 by Ben E. King and the Drifters. It’s a classic that has been redone many times including versions recorded by John Lennon of the Beatles, Prince Royce, Tracy Chapman, Seal, Aaron Neville, and most recently by Skylar Grey.
No matter what version is your favorite, “Stand By Me,” it’s a great beginner ukulele song to add your own flare with the ukulele.
7. Sunday Morning – Maroon 5
While “Sunday Morning,” recorded in 2002 and released in 2004, may not be the most well-known song by Maroon 5, it is one of the easiest of theirs to learn to play on the ukulele.
“Sunday Morning” did make the charts in several countries including ranking 4th on Billboard’s Adult Top 40 and taking the #1 spot on Ultratip Flanders list in Belguim.
8. Budapest – George Ezra
George Ezra’s debut studio album Wanted on Voyage in 2014 introduced the song “Budapest” to the masses and received tons of airtime. It has gone 4x Platinum in Australia, and 3x Platinum in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Italy.
Budapest is an easy beginner ukulele song that can be mastered with the use of only three chords and friends and family are sure to request it every time you start to play.
9. Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
Canadian Leonard Cohen was an acquired taste, but a poet and songwriter that could sing hauntingly beautiful songs like “Hallelujah” with ease. While there are five ukulele chords to conquer in this one, it had to make the list.
Originally released in 1984 on his album Various Positions, there are over 300 known versions recorded by various artists and groups since. It was even used in the movie Shrek in 2001. It is a popular beginner ukulele song for players of all ages as almost everyone will know it from somewhere.
10. All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
This Meghan Trainor song may be entitled “All About That Bass” but don’t let that discourage you from learning it on your ukulele.
More than 10 million copies of this 2014 hit were sold in the U.S. alone and it topped the charts in 19 countries around the world. No matter where your audience is from, they’re probably going to be singing along.
“All About That Bass” was even called a cultural phenomenon by the New York Times.
The easy four-chord progression has the feel of a 1950s-60s song and its body image message of youth accepting themselves as they are has been applauded.
These Easy Ukulele Songs Will Make You Feel Like a Star
You don’t have to be a professional musician to wow your audience. All it takes is a few easy ukulele songs and a willingness to learn.