It’s summertime! Today the French have La Fête de la Musique (a street music festival), and we celebrate the summer solstice with a list summer songs for your Uke! The ukulele is the perfect instrument for lazy summer days and late night campfires after-all… They are small enough to carry almost anywhere making them perfect for parks, campgrounds, and downtown for a little busking! (Busking is setting up an impromptu show on a busy pedestrian street or sidewalk and playing music for money). Whether you are playing for an audience or just a couple friends, below is a perfect list of summer and sunny day songs for the ukulele. Everyone will smile when you play your uke on a warm summer day.
This classic by the Lovin’ Spoonful is perfect for beginning and intermediate ukulele players. The chords are not too complicated and you can always use a cheat on D7 which is 2020 (instead of the usual 2223 barre chord). John Sebastian was a great songwriter and this song perfectly encapsulates nice sunny days and good feelings.
One of my favorite songs, The Kinks lyrics may be a little depressing but the vibe of this summer song is relaxing and toe tapping. When playing this on the ukulele I like to give it a bit of a reggae vibe in the strumming. There are some seemingly complicated chords, but if you take a look at the diagrams on the side it is manageable with some practice.
Good Day Sunshine
Of course we can’t leave the Beatles out of many song lists, their song Good Day Sunshine is upbeat and sounds great on the ukulele. If you have any troubles fingering the E chord than this song will not be easy, as it has the Eb which is the same as E but one fret down. It also has Bb7, but these chords both need practiced and this song isn’t too difficult and fun to play!
This song is also challenging because it has the E chord in it. However, this Seals and Crofts masterpiece is very easy otherwise. Even if they hadn’t used the word summer in the title it would still be an awesome summer tune. Once you get used to switching to and from that E chord this song will be a breeze!
I love this song for the pure silliness of some of the lyrics, and of course the ukulele is already fun to play so a ditty like this is perfect. It was written to have a cockney East end of London accent to it, so make sure to sing it as such.
The Small Faces wrote this song and Lazy Sunday above; Itchycoo Park is another fun song to strum on the ukulele. As a psychedelic pop song it is always a great tune to play in a park on a nice summer day. The C#m will probably take some practice when getting the chord progression down.
This song by Donovan is a perfect summer sing along. This is an excellent piece to help learn your 7th chords as you will do a lot of switching between C and C7 and G and G7. Remember it’s a bit of a ‘trippy’ song so make sure to experiment with the strum.
Flowers in the Rain
Of course summer isn’t always sunny and pleasant, but songs like this show the rain is just as nice. Originally played by the band The Move, here on the ukulele none of the chords are that complicated and there is again the use of 7ths. It is actually quite an upbeat tune for the topic of rain.
Hot Fun in the Summertime
The wonderful band Sly and the Family Stone, they have many feel good songs but this one is perfect for summer. The chord changes in the song are not too easy on the ukulele, but the good news is this song isn’t played fast. Like a hot summer day, just kickback with a light strum and a little dash of funk and soul.
In the Summertime
One of the more cliché summer songs out there, but still a great one by Mungo Jerry (whose lead singer had some of the more interesting side burns ever!). This song does use the dreaded E chord, but you need the practice. Otherwise it is three simple chords played throughout the whole tune.
Bridge Street Song (Feelin’ Groovy)
A classic by Simon and Garfunkel, this happy song is perfect for summertime playing on the ukulele. It is three simple chords and the only hard part is changing the chords fast enough as you play. This song would be perfect to play on the Saturday morning street at a Farmers Market, everyone would love it.
Friday on My Mind
The Easybeats, an Australian rock group, made this song popular back in 1966. It is an excellent summer night song about kicking back and having fun, and it is a challenge to play on the ukulele! You will notice the verse has more minors while the uplifting chorus switches back to a major. It will take some practice to get the chord changes down in this song, but well worth it once you do.
Well even some people get the blues in the summer! This popular Eddie Cochran tune has the dreaded E chord but it is possible to play on the ukulele. The practicing will be in switch from the E to A and then the B7 chord back to the E. If you strum that just right everyone will recognize this summer tune.
There are many more summer songs out there, I tried to list songs that work well on the ukulele. Granted many of the best lazy summer day songs come from the 60’s with psychedelic pop and the Merseybeat. Many modern songs that are dance numbers or harder rock may not translate too well on the uke. However, it is always fun to experiment and try doing song covers in unique and fun ways! This summer try taking any popular tune for the warm season and play it for your friends and family on the ukulele!
Featured image by Freepik.