The super influential English rock band The Beatles made their mark on a number of genres and completely redefined pop music during their relatively short but incredibly fruitful time as a band. The fact that the band largely wrote and recorded relatively straightforward pop music means that much of their fantastic catalogue is easily adapted to the ukulele.
No matter what mood you’re in, there’s likely a Beatles song to fit the occasion. The Beatles recorded music that touches on an astounding array of subjects and themes. It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling happy, sad, or somewhere in between; you’ll likely find that the band has a song in its back catalogue that perfectly fits the moment.
So, if you’re looking for a list of easy Beatles ukulele songs, then look no further. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best songs by the Beatles to adapt to the ukulele. Also, we include links to chord diagrams and video tutorials for each of the songs, making learning and playing along to these Beatles classic practically effortless.
If you’re new to the ukulele but want to start learning these Beatles songs, then we have some advice that will help make the process of learning and practicing the instrument easier. One thing that is important to keep in mind is muscle memory. Many beginners to the ukulele (or music in general) struggle in the beginning and become frustrated by their lack of progress.
But it’s crucial to remember that learning to play an instrument is a marathon, not a race. Committing techniques and basic ukulele chords to muscle memory is a vital part of the process. So, if you’re struggling with a particular song or part of a song, don’t give up. Try isolating the elements of the song that give you trouble and slow them down.
Practicing something slowed down gives you the chance to commit it to muscle memory while being able to keep up. Then, once you’ve nailed it, you can work your way up to faster tempos. Whether you’re working on strumming patterns or chord changes, this is a versatile and important part of learning any instrument and should not be neglected.
On Strumming Patterns
A key part of playing just about any song on the ukulele is perfecting its strumming pattern. As many of the songs on this list were not originally recorded on the ukulele, they don’t have an original strumming pattern that you can learn in order to play along to the song. You will generally need to copy the strumming you see in the video tutorials that are supplied, or you can come up with your own.
While this may sound daunting, giving an old song an original approach is a great way to express your creativity and personality with the ukulele. As long as you more or less capture the spirit of the original recording, then just about anything else is fair game as far as strumming goes. Don’t be afraid to experiment in order to find out what works best for you.
Our List of Easy Beatles Songs to Learn on the Ukulele
We have compiled our list of the best, easy Beatles songs to learn on the ukulele based on a number of criteria. We have chosen first and foremost classic songs, which are harmonically simple and only require a few chords to play but are also fairly recognizable. Also, we have tried to select songs that work when adapted to the ukulele, as we feel this will give you the most enjoyable and authentic experience of the songs we have chosen.
“Yellow Submarine” (chords used: C, Em, G, D)
“Yellow Submarine” is arguably one of the Beatles’ best known and most charming recordings. Initially intended to be a children’s song, “Yellow Submarine” has received numerous interpretations since its release. Co-written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, the song borrows elements of folk music and rock music while delivering an edge all of its own.
What’s more, “Yellow Submarine” is based around 4 simple chords. So, if you can play these chords comfortably, then you can play through the whole song without issue. This might seem very rudimentary, but the piece has considerable depth and charm despite being so harmonically straightforward. Find the ukulele chords and a video tutorial below.
“Hey Jude” (chords used: F, C, C7, Csus4, C7sus4, Bb, F7, Fmaj7, F6, Bb, Gm, Gm7, Eb)
Not everyone is aware of this fact, but “Hey Jude” is actually purported to be based on a real life situation. McCartney reportedly wrote the song as an address to John Lennon’s son and ex-wife, Cynthia, while Lennon was in the process of separating from Cynthia during a rough patch in their relationship in order to be with Yoko Ono. The song is meant to encourage the two to have strength despite the challenging emotions that the situation created at the time.
“Hey Jude” is undoubtedly one of the more complex songs on this list. However, it’s worth going to the effort in order to learn what might be one of the most covered and significant songs in the history of popular music. And while it may seem daunting to learn all of the chords to “Hey Jude”, you’ll likely notice fairly quickly that most of them are played similarly, with only slight variations in fingering.
“Let it Be” (chords used: C, G, AM, F)
Based on a dream visitation from his dead mother, “Let it Be” may be one of Paul McCartney’s best feats of songwriting, in addition to truly being one of the Beatles significant hits. Plus, it’s a rather beginner friendly tune, requiring only a handful of chords to play. Despite its simplicity, the original song was released to great acclaim and proved to be one of the last hits of the Beatles’ career, with dreamy lyrics mentioning ‘Mother Mary’ and a soaring melody throughout.
And while they may sound different, the chorus and verses in “Let it Be” feature more or less the same chords, with some minor variations. So, don’t despair if you’re finding it tricky to learn this particular song, because it’s likely not quite as complicated as you think!
“Eight Days a Week” (chords used: A, Bm, D, E, E7, G)
This rather original Beatles song isn’t dedicated to much more than love and hard work. As the story goes, Paul McCartney asked his chauffeur how he was upon getting in the car, to which the man replied that he had been working 8 days a week.
As far as easy ukulele songs go, it’s hard to beat “Eight Days a Week”. Like many of the songs written earlier in the Beatles’ career, the song is based around only six very simple chords, meaning players at all skill levels shouldn’t have too much trouble tackling this one.
“Here Comes the Sun” (chords used: A, Bm, B7, C, D, E7, G)
One of the few Beatles songs chiefly written by George Harrison, but perhaps among the band’s best known. Harrison wrote “Here Comes the Sun” to encourage himself while going through a darker period. During live performances, Harrison would often perform the song solo, which was fairly uncommon for him otherwise.
So, if you’d like to bring some sunshine into your day or brighten up those around you, then a bit of “Here Comes the Sun” might be in order. Its charming lyrics are matched only by its lithe melody, which characterized much of Harrison’s best work during this period.
“Across the Universe” (chords used: A, A7, A7sus4, Bm, D, Em7, Gbm, G, Gm)
“Across the Universe” is arguably one of John Lennon’s most beloved pieces of work. With its soaring melody and nearly countless renditions, “Across the Universe” was originally composed in 1970 and was based on an exchange of words in an argument between Lennon and his ex-wife.
This song may be one of the trickier entries on the list, with some less typical chord voicings appearing. However, we feel strongly that learning these voicings is very much worthwhile, especially if you are planning on learning to play the uke in the longer term. They are simply part of what makes this song so rich and sonically interesting, and once you’ve practiced them a bit, they shouldn’t be too difficult to play.
“Can’t Buy Me Love” (chords used: Am, C7, Dm7, Em, F7, G7)
Representing Paul McCartney’s view on possessions and materialism, “Can’t Buy Me Love” reinforces the importance of love and thinking about what truly matters in one’s life. While McCartney was initially reluctant to discuss the meaning of the song, he eventually divulged to a group of journalists in 1966.
And we’re glad that he did! “Can’t Buy Me Love’s” message is simple, but poignant. The song is otherwise held together by a punchy instrumental and strong melody. Plus, the fact that the song is only held together by 6 chords means that it should be relatively simple for beginners to learn and then master in no time at all!
“Act Naturally” (chords used: G, C, D, A)
“Act Naturally” is another song that the Beatles made incredibly popular by covering. This particular recording is notable for the fact that Ringo Starr took lead vocal duties, which was something of a rarity for him at the time. The recording has a distinct country vibe, and Ringo’s twangy vocals make a fantastic addition to the overall sound.
This recording may well also be the most straightforward entry on this list, requiring only 4 simple chords to play from start to finish. So, if you’re a beginner looking for Beatles ukulele tabs at your skill level, then “Act Naturally” would be a great place for you to start!
“Blackbird” (chords used: G, Am7, A7, Am, D, C, Em, D7, F)
Combine its poetic, moving lyrics and beautiful melody, and it isn’t difficult to see why “Blackbird” has become such a beloved song and been covered by various artists throughout the years. According to McCartney, the lyrics reference both the struggle for racial equality in the USA in the late 1960s, as well as the sound he had heard of a blackbird during time spent on a course for learning transcendental meditation in India. Since then, the song has made a huge impact on contemporary music everywhere.
Ukulele players have a number of nice cover versions of “Blackbird” to choose from. The song lends itself just as well to fingerpicking on the ukulele as it does on the guitar, making it an excellent choice for a uke cover. The song is actually fairly simple harmonically, so it is relatively straightforward to learn and remember on the instrument.
“Happiness is a Warm Gun” (chords used: Am, A7, Am6, C, Dm, Em, F, Fm, G, G7)
Known to be one of the Beatles’ own favorite songs around the time of its recording, “Happiness is a Warm Gun” is one of the more complex numbers on this list. According to John Lennon, the original songwriter, “Happiness is a Warm Gun” was essentially a tribute to Lennon’s lover at the time, Yoko Ono.
While this song does go beyond requiring you to know three basic ukulele chords somewhat, we’d still highly recommend that you take up the challenge if you’re passionate about wanting to play the song. Many of the chord voicings are only one step away from each other, meaning that you don’t need to learn too many truly different chord shapes in order to play the song.
“I Should Have Known Better” (chords used: B7, C, D, Em, G, G7)
“I Should Have Known Better” is truly one of the songs that characterizes the Beatles’s style of songwriting at the beginning of the band’s career. Smart, passionate lyrics resulted in this single hit, which ended up being a truly great song in its own right, despite the young band’s relative inexperience at the time of its recording.
Unlike many songs in the Beatles’ back catalogue, “I Should Have Known Better” is relatively simple, requiring only 6 chords to play through from beginning to end. What’s more, it’s likely one of the most sentimental Beatles songs ever, boldly and honestly discussing regret and remorse in relationships and all the danger that comes with them.
“Bésame Mucho” (chords used: Am, Dm, A, E, B)
The Beatles’ cover of the Mexican hit “Bésame Mucho” was just one example of their commitment to other genres and musical worlds outside of pop music in the UK. Jimmy Dorsey had his own success with a cover of the song in the 1940s, and the Beatles would later go on to make it a staple part of their 1962 live sets, which they played at the Hamburg Star-Club.
“Bésame Mucho” translates roughly to ‘kiss me a lot,’ and was allegedly written by the Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velazquez in 1940. At the time, kissing was supposedly taboo in Mexican culture, which is what led Velazquez to address the subject in song. In order to best replicate the sound of the original recording, we’d encourage you to strum a little lower than usual on your uke, which will give you an especially warm sound.
“Octopus’ Garden” (chords used: E, C#m, A, B, F#m, D)
One of the underrated Beatles songs and one of Ringo Starr’s most unique offerings, “Octopus’ Garden” features a whimsical melody and charming, dreamlike lyrics. At the time of its conception, “Octopus’ Garden” was only the second song that Starr had ever written for the band, and it was also the last to ever feature him on lead vocals.
This Ringo Starr track is a fantastic choice if you’re looking to play a top notch ukulele cover. The song is relatively simple, but it is dynamic, diverse, and alluring. If you’re looking for a song to strum along to that is instantly recognizable and incredibly charming, it’s hard to go wrong with “Octopus’ Garden”.