The Beatles were known to be one of the most iconic English rock bands that took the 60s musical world by storm. Until this very day, they remain praised by numerous generations for being a successful icon in the world of music.
With their music being among the best-seller records around the world, people are still fond of playing their songs. Today, their songs are being played on different instruments. They’re even possible to play on ukuleles, which are among the most heartwarming musical instruments to play. Imagine having this perfect combination easily within the walls of your place!
12 Beginner Ukulele Songs by The Beatles
There are many songs to start learning to play on your ukulele. But, if you’re looking for the right place to take off, the Beatles songs should be on top of your list.
Not only do they have several hits to choose from, but also their songs were made compelling yet straightforward. That was exactly how they built their career. Surprisingly, their mesmerizing songs were proven to translate well into simple musical instruments.
With so many compelling songs to choose from, it is hard to decide which one you want to start with. For that reason, we have piled up a list of their best hits to make the process easier for you.
1. I Should Have Known Better
We’ve put this song on top of the list, for it was iconic and one of the Beatles’ significant hits.
The Beatles were known to take the lead when it comes to writing or composing their songs. This song is no exception, as it was written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney. Lennon also composed it.
The song was first released on 13 July 1964. It was issued on their symbolic album: “A Hard Day’s Night.” Their debut film was released under the same name of the album in which the song was featured.
It was claimed the song was first recorded on 25 February of the same year. However, some changes were made to the original arrangements, leading to an impeccable result.
Learning to play this song on the ukulele can be a walk in the park should you learn its up and down strums correctly. Check out this top-notch ukulele cover played by someone who made it simple.
2. Bésamo Mucho
Although it is not an original song by the band, it is one of the significant songs that the Beatles have recorded. This song was originally a Mexican hit by Jimmy Dorsey. It was written by the Mexican songwriter, concert pianist, and recording artist, Consuelo Velázquez, in 1940.
The literal translation of the song is “Kiss Me a Lot.” It was rumored that when Velázquez wrote that song, she had never been kissed at that time. That was because kissing was deemed a sin in her culture by that time.
The Mexican song appeared in the movie “Follow the Boys” back in 1944 for the first time. Later on, Paul McCartney, a member of the Beatles, became so fond of the song. Sunny Skylar, an American composer, and singer was the one who translated it into English.
The Beatles first recorded the song on 6 June in 1962. They sang it among their numerous songs during their time in Hamburg Star-Club on New Year’s Eve.
Here is an easy cover with on-screen tabs to help you play the song on your ukulele with ease.
3. Yellow Submarine
This song received liberal interpretations on both social and political levels despite intending to be a children’s song. The song was first recorded on 5 August 1966 and was released on 1 June of the same year.
Yellow Submarine was included in the Beatles album Revolver that was released in 1966. Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote the song together. They also worked on composing it by combining two rhythms of songs that they worked on separately.
The style of that song was quite different from what the Beatles used to present to their audiences. Their songs were usually more of the Rock genre.
However, the band claimed that there was no significance or meaning behind creating the song. They just wanted to make a happy song for children.
This song inspired the creation of an animated United Artists film that was released in 1968 under the same name. It also became the soundtrack of the animated movie.
Teaching yourself to play Yellow Submarine on your ukulele is quite a different experience. Your biggest challenge will be knowing how to change the chords rapidly. However, once you get a grip on picking up the right speed, it will be a piece of cake.
Here’s a fun cover to get you to play the song with great ease while still having fun:
4. Hey Jude
This is one of the most sentimental Beatles songs that was produced based on a real-life situation. It was a non-album single that was released on 26 August in 1968. Paul McCartney wrote the song, and it became a number-one hit in different places around the world.
McCartney wrote the song during the upheaval separation of John Lennon and his wife Cynthia due to Lennon’s affair with Yoko Ono, the Japanese artist.
Long before the Beatles became famous, Cynthia had been part of their social circle. McCartney was concerned about her wellbeing as well as her little son Julian.
In the light of the separation events, McCartney paid Cynthia and Julian a visit. He had written the song to comfort little Julian and help him through the stressful divorce of his parents.
The original title of the song was “Hey Jules,” as in Julian. However, the name was changed to Jude only because it sounded better.
If you are looking for a song that bears a positive outlook on a melancholic situation, “Hey Jude” should be your next stop. Lift your ukulele and play along with this beautiful ukulele cover of the song.
5. Let it Be
Let It be was ranked the 6th most played song on the Billboard Hot 100 back in the 70s when it was first released. The song was both written and sung by Paul McCartney. It was his last song with the Beatles before going his separate way.
McCartney declared that the idea of that song hit him two years before its initial release. He was inspired by a dream he had about his mother during the recording of their 1968 “The White Album.”
In that dream, McCartney said that he heard his mother telling him, “It will be alright; just let it be.” And, that’s where the title of the song came.
He had also announced that he lost his mother to cancer at the age of 14. He dedicated the lyrics of Mother Mary to her. However, most of the fans thought it was a reference to the Virgin Mary.
Responding to the Virgin Mary claim, McCartney had answered in one of his interviews that the fans were free to interpret the songs however they like.
That’s where the beauty of art and lies; you get to choose your interpretation of any artistic piece according to your perspectives.
Watch this easy ukulele cover of the song if you would like to play Let It Be. The best part is, the performer is going at a slow pace to make things easier for new beginners.
6. Here Comes the Sun
Here Comes the Sun was released on 16 September 1969, included in the Beatles’ album “Abbey Road.” The song was written by George Harrison, the lead guitarist of the band when he was going through a rough patch.
That song had helped Harrison to gain high recognition like his other fellows; no wonder he was usually called “the Quiet Beatle.” While most of the songs were written and composed by Lennon and McCartney, this song remains among the most popular Beatle songs.
Right before Harrison wrote that song, he was on a respite from all the band’s business affairs due to being arrested for possession of marijuana. He also had had a surgery where he got his tonsils removed.
Harrison used to play that song during his live performances as a solo artist, which was deemed relatively rare compared to the achievements of the other members.
Watch this easy ukulele cover made by the trending vlogger on YouTube, the Ukulele Teacher.
7. Across the Universe
Across the Universe was one of the many songs written by Lennon. The song was first recorded on 8 February in 1968. It was formerly featured in1969 in the album No One’s Gonna Change Our World, which was a charity compilation album made by various artists.
Two years after the initial date of its recording, the band re-recorded the song in a different form in 1970 on 1 April. That was a month before its second release on 8 May, where it was included in their 1970 album “Let It Be.”
According to Lennon, he wrote that song back in 1967 when Cynthia was still his wife. He said that she kept talking about the same thing over and over. Her words were stuck in his head for a long time that he couldn’t fall asleep on that night.
Thus, he got up, took his wife’s words, and turned into a song. The rest of the song’s lyrics just flew easily. He then went to bed again and forgot about his late-night words until later when they had recorded it.
Here is a nice cover of the song and an easy ukulele tutorial.
8. Can’t Buy Me Love
This song was a single hit released in 1964 in both the United Kingdom and the United States. It also topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a whole month right after its initial release.
They wrote the song during their stay in Paris post the tremendous success of their song “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Back then, the band’s members stayed in George V Hotel, where they had a piano moved into their suites to carry on their songwriting process.
McCartney was the one who wrote the song. Two years after the release of the song, he declared to some American journalists the true meaning of the song. At first, he said that he believed that people were free to interpret songs the way they see them.
However, he was told that some of the fans thought the song’s lyrics were about prostitution. That was when he started gushing out what he meant by the song.
McCartney explained that the lyrics suggest the idea that possessing materialistic assets is quite satisfying, yet money can’t buy you the things you want from life, including love.
Check out this ukulele cover that will explain to you how to play Can’t Buy Me Love on your instrument through an easy tutorial.
9. Act Naturally
Just like Bésamo Mucho, Act Naturally is not an original Beatles song. The original song was made by Buck Owens and The Buckaroos in 1963. However, that country song, despite its former success, went even more viral with the Beatles’ version.
The Beatles recorded the song two years after the original song was released, and it was featured on their album Help!. Ringo Starr was the one on vocals in this song. He was usually just the drummer of the band, but he took the vocal leads occasionally in every album.
Act Naturally gave Ringo Starr more recognition thanks to its worldwide success. It was the only song where he was the vocal lead on their album Help!.
Act Naturally is one of the prominent Beatles’ country songs to try playing on a ukulele given its folky nature. Watch this uke cover of the song and start playing your melodies.
10. Eight Days A Week
This song made it to the Billboard Hot 100 throughout just one year upon its release. Well, we may have all once dreamt of having extra days in the week to enjoy a more extended weekend, but that wasn’t the original idea behind writing the song.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the song, and it was released on 4 December 1964. However, the original idea of the song belonged to McCartney solely. According to him, he was inspired by a chauffeur that once drove him to Lennon’s place.
McCartney narrated that, on one fine day, when that chauffeur was giving him a ride, they had a quick conversation during which McCartney asked the guy how he had been. The response of the guy was as follows: “Oh, working hard. Working eight days a week.”
While the expression was meant to expose how overworked the driver was, McCartney saw it as a catchy title for their next song.
Here is a nice ukulele cover for the Beatles’ Eight Days A Week with a simplified chord guide.
Blackbird is one of the songs featured on the Beatles’ double album known as either The Beatles or The White Album. The song was written by Paul McCartney and recorded on 11 June in 1968. However, it wasn’t released until later in November in the same year.
McCartney had actually given two scenarios when he was asked about the source of his inspiration to write that song. One of them was hearing the call of an actual blackbird during the band’s Transcendental Meditation study in India.
The other version of the story was being moved by the uprising racial turbulence that was taking place in the United States in 1968.
Check out this sound-compelling ukulele tutorial made by the YouTuber Cynthia Lin.
12. Happiness Is a Warm Gun
Here’s one more song on the list that was featured in their double album: “The Beatles” or “The White Album” that was released in 1968. The song was released on 22 November 1968 and written by John Lennon.
That song was inspired during Lennon’s ongoing affair with the Japanese artist Yoko Ono at that time.
Lennon had declared that the lyrics of the song worked as a double entendre where he expressed his sexual desires for his lover and also referred to guns. The entire band members claimed that the song was their ultimate favorite on this album.
Surprisingly, music critics praised the song despite its complex structure. However, the song was later banned by the BBC for its explicit lyrics and meaning.
Take a look at this beautiful ukulele cover of the song.
While there is much music out there to choose from to take off your ukulele learning journey, the Beatles music remains the most prominent. Not only were they a unique rock band during the 60s, but also their songs are easy to learn on ukuleles.