15 Best Tenor Ukulele Songs 2021

So, you’ve got yourself a tenor uke. What songs should you learn on it?

Turns out you can learn just about anything you want. Tenor and soprano ukuleles are both tuned G, C, E, A, so you won’t even need to change your technique. You can use the exact same chord shapes and the position of notes doesn’t change either.

Even though you can learn whatever you want, it’s always nice to have a jumping off point. The following list contains both famous ukulele tunes as well as some pop and rock songs that (for a variety of reasons) fit the uke like a glove. There are even a few thrown in as a fun challenge!

So, let’s have a look, shall we? Here are some great song choices for that tenor ukulele of yours.

“Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Chords in this song: C, Em, F, G, Am

If there is such a thing as an essential ukulele song, it’s this – “Over The Rainbow” by the unforgettable Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole.

IZ’ voice on this track is simply unreal, and this version of “Over The Rainbow” can bring you to new emotional plateaus.

The good news, though, is that even if you can’t duplicate his vocal prowess, just about anyone can pick up the chords and play it on uke.

So, be sure to give this one a try.

Ukulele Tab: Ukulele Tabs and Chords

“Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles

Chords in this song: A, Bm, B7, C, D, E7, G

The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun” might not be the first song that comes to mind when thinking about which tune to learn on your tenor uke… But it’s one of those songs every ukulele player should challenge themselves to learn at some point (are you ready for the challenge?).

Why do I say that? Mostly because it represents a good opportunity to combine strumming with fingerpicking. And in the case of a song like “Here Comes The Sun,” this technique can really bring out the character and melody of the tune.

This is also a happy sounding tune, and… ukulele players are supposed to be happy aren’t they (unless you’re Eddie Vedder)? There are different ways of playing this song but fair warning – the video version is probably easier than the tab version (try both)!

Ukulele Tab: UkuTabs

“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

Chords in this song: Am, C, Em, F, G

Although it would be a crude summation at best, if you were to summarize Canadian singer-songwriter and legend Leonard Cohen’s career in a song, it would surely be “Hallelujah.” I say “crude,” because he wrote a lot of other great songs.

“Hallelujah” is perhaps the pinnacle, though, because it inspired so many covers by artists far and wide.

As it turns out, simplicity truly is at the heart of a great song, because “Hallelujah” is not overly complex. It is more about the vocals and lyrics than the chords themselves.

That said, there is an opportunity to work on your fingerpicking here, which is highly encouraged.

Ukulele Tab: UkuTabs

“Red, Red Wine” by UB40

Chords in this song: C, F, G

The melancholy, but somehow cheery and catchy “Red, Red Wine” is all about drowning your broken heart in – what else? – red wine.

Its Jamaican island vibes make it the perfect tune to transport over to the ukulele, and with just three chords, it doesn’t get much easier than this.

This is a highly recognizable tune, so for all those campfire and beach-side singalong occasions, it’s a suitable and welcome choice.

Ukulele Tab: Ukulele Tabs and Chords

“Hotel California” by Eagles

Chords in this song: A, Bm, D, Em, E7, Gb7, G

The leading ambassador for country rock band Eagles was surely this – “Hotel California.”

Like “Stairway to Heaven” or “Layla,” it transcended genre and audiences to become a true classic. And like the tunes we’ve just compared it to, it demonstrates a certain amount of sophistication with layers of intricate acoustic and electric guitars.

Naturally, you can start out by learning the chords and strumming along to the song. But it would be advisable to learn how you can pick along to the song too, and the video version below can help you with that.

Ukulele Tab: UkuTabs

“Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffet

Chords in this song: A, D, D7, G

When it comes to escapist island vibe vacation music, there’s no purveyor like Jimmy Buffet, and “Margaritaville” has that relaxed, chill mood that puts even a tired soul at ease.

This Parrot Head classic is probably better suited to the ukulele than the upbeat “Cheeseburger In Paradise,” though “Cheeseburger” might be the ultimate Buffet ditty.

“Margaritaville” can be played with just four chords, but if you want a bit of a challenge, you can learn all the licks in the video version too.

Ukulele Tab: UkuTabs

“Kokomo” by The Beach Boys

Chords in this song: Am, C, Cmaj7, D7, F, Fm, G7, Gm7

As a band that once waged musical war against The Beatles, The Beach Boys tunes were often a display of similar sophistication, innovation, gorgeous layers of harmonies, and bubblegum goodness, except with an ocean twist.

“Kokomo” is a catchy, memorable number. And while it may not be considered the very epitome of The Beach Boys sound (they wrote a lot of good tunes – “Good Vibrations,” “I Get Around,” “Surfin’ USA,” etc.), you can’t write it off.

Anyway, “Kokomo” has got those easygoing vacation beach vibes, making it a solid choice for the uke. If you want to learn other Beach Boys tunes, though, be our guest. It’s worth the effort.

Ukulele Tab: UkuTabs

“Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson

Chords in this song: Am, Bm, C, C7, D, D7, Em, G

If you’re a fan of Ukulele World, then you probably already know what we’re going to say here.

Jack Johnson was the perfect example of early- to mid-2000s, beach bum singer-songwriter archetype that knew how to play a handful of barre chords. And while we prefer Jason Mraz (who demonstrated more endurance and longevity overall), Johnson’s novelty hasn’t entirely worn off.

With all that said, the innocuous sounding “Banana Pancakes” is a great song for every ukulele student to study, because of the chord variety and intro licks. If Johnson can do it, though, we promise you can do it too!

Ukulele Tab: UkuTabs

“Have It All” by Jason Mraz

Easy beginner ukulele songs

Chords in this song: A, B, Dbm, E

With our previous endorsement of Jason Mraz, we couldn’t possibly go through this entire list without mentioning at least one of his songs, right?

We deliberately avoided any super obvious choices here because we’ve probably already covered them in another guide (“I’m Yours,” “Lucky,” “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry),” etc.), but there’s no denying “Have It All” is another obvious choice because of its syncopated reggae strum pattern.

The song itself is about how to live well, and one thing we know about Mraz is that he likes to include positive mantras in his songs, and “Have It All” is full of them. A great feel-good song with words to live by.

Ukulele Tab: UkuTabs

“California Gurls” by Katy Perry

Chords in this song: Bb, C, Dm, F, G

The sickly, sugar sweet bubblegum and ice cream pop of Katy Perry can make for a fun summer tenor ukulele project (and an easy one at that!).

Strumming along with the song is easy enough, and the original voicing of the chords is closer to double stops than triads (try it out for yourself and see what you come up with).

“California Gurls” is also a great study in modern pop, because once you get this riff under your fingers, you’ll be able to play a lot of other similarly catchy, fun pop tunes.

For a bit of a challenge (although not overly), try the video version with the melody tabbed out note for note.

Ukulele Tab: UkuTabs

“Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina & The Waves

Chords in this song: G, C, D

When it comes to upbeat, sanguine, three-chord wonders, Katrina & The Waves’ “Walking On Sunshine” kind of hits the spot.

It has spawned altogether too many modern covers which seem to get cheesier and campier with each iteration (cringe worthy even), but the original is still quite listenable and fun.

The only thing to watch out for here would be the somewhat dizzying tempo. It’s part of what makes the song what it is, but if you haven’t played anything at this speed before, it might strike you as uncomfortable, at least at first. You can do it. Just start slowly and build up gradually.

Ukulele Tab: Ukulele Tabs and Chords

“Boys Of Summer” by Don Henley

Chords in this song: Em, C, D, G, A

It’s easy to forget that Don Henley (of Eagles fame) created a substantial, impressive body of solo work, especially before the band had any thoughts of reuniting in 1994.

Here we find a radio-friendly classic that became a massive hit, earning Henley multiple awards. It’s certainly a product of its time, and while it can strike you as a deep, emotive, and contemplative song, it’s essentially about loving someone who errs on the side of “easy come, easy go.”

This isn’t necessarily what you’d immediately identify as a ukulele song. But the summer and beach themes are present, and its relatively straight groove might offer a nice break from island strums.

Ukulele Tab: Ultimate-Guitar.com

“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Chords in this song: D, C, G

This ode to Alabama continues to turn up as a summer and ukulele favorite, and that might have something to do with its southern rock vibes.

“Sweet Home Alabama” isn’t the first song that comes to mind for me when I think of the tenor ukulele, but I can still see it being a fun and welcome challenge for most.

Most of the song is made up of just three chords, so that’s not the challenging part. The part that you’ll want to study in more depth, especially if you want to challenge yourself to become a better ukulele player, are all the guitar licks strewn throughout the tune.

Everyone knows this song, making it a great choice for your performances and spontaneous jam sessions.

Ukulele Tab: Ukulele Tabs and Chords

Top Tenor Ukulele Songs, Final Thoughts

The journey of the ukulele begins with a single note. Once you’re hooked, it’s just a matter of following your passion. Lots of experienced players make it look easy, but learning chords and notes isn’t always a walk in the park. Be patient and take your time. You can do it!

Use the above songs as a starting point. Learn the ones with fewer chords at first, and then start branching out. Think of it as a staircase and take one step at a time.

If you ever try another kind of ukulele, check out our choice of baritone and soprano ukulele songs.

Above all, enjoy the journey!

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