Ukulele fingerpicking may seem challenging at first, but it is certainly possible. Practice makes perfect so make sure that you find an experienced teacher to guide your efforts!
The Beatles – ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’
I Want To Hold Your Hand was the first Beatles single ever recorded on a four-track machine, enabling true stereo reproduction compared with earlier singles which had been recorded using two reel to reels. This marked an enormous advancement from previous singles which were recorded using just two tracks at once.
This song was recorded in 17 takes, an impressive feat given The Beatles’ technical limitations at Abbey Road and learning to use their four-track desk properly.
They had to make the most of the limited space on their recording tapes, as four-track tapes only allowed for one track per side – meaning The Beatles needed to find ways to balance between individual sounds and microphones while keeping Ringo singing both ways at the same time. This proved challenging.
Kenneth Womack’s book The Beatles: Long and Winding Roads states that ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ by The Beatles was one of their most ambitious, self-conscious compositions and thus signalled a change in how the group approached music.
One aspect of the song that was important to the band was its message. The song served as a political statement about society at that time; consequently, its lyrics may have caused debate with conservative commentators at that time.
Thus, it was only released in America on December 26, 1963 and quickly became a hit, becoming one of the best selling singles ever from The Beatles.
This song became an enormously successful hit and ignited an interest in American music. Additionally, it marked the start of The Beatles’ British Invasion which would see numerous groups from England appear and vanish on charts over time.
As a result, the song became an instant classic and helped pave the way for The Beatles’ meteoric rise to stardom. It marked their entry into America and remains their signature tune today.
The Beach Boys – ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’
Brian Wilson and Mike Love collaborated in 1963 to write a song inspired by Chuck Berry’s 1958 hit “Sweet Little Sixteen”. Wilson liked one part that listed Boston, Pittsburgh, and Texas – so much that he used this line in his song which eventually became one of their Beach Boys first top 10 hits.
The Beach Boys were deeply influenced by surfing, with several of their early hits featuring this emerging subculture. At that time, adventure and fun were an integral part of popular culture and many teenagers were engaged by it; taking advantage of this trend, The Beach Boys combined vocal harmonies with new production techniques with surfing’s rising tide to become an instantaneous phenomenon that resonated throughout popular culture and beyond.
As such, many of their songs had surf themes to them, often as tributes to California – which wasn’t very well known outside of its home state at the time. This gave the Boys an edge in making themselves more relevant within music’s scene.
One of the songs they wrote about surfing was “Surfin’ USA,” a rework of Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” with lyrics written by Wilson and Love that charted in the UK charts for them for the first time.
Berry’s publisher then approached the Beach Boys, threatening legal action unless they gave over publishing rights of the song to Arc Music (Berry’s publisher). Wilson’s father intervened and agreed to give Arc Music (Berry’s publisher) their copyright for distribution.
Despite this legal setback, the Boys continued to utilize Berry’s music during live performances of their shows and even used some of his lyrics in their version of ‘Surfin’ USA’.
It’s an intriguing tale, one which demonstrates the value of homage over plagiarism, demonstrating how taking inspiration from someone else requires hard work – especially considering Berry was already serving prison time at that point. Additionally, this case proves that for any copycat music to succeed it must pay respect to its original creators if success is to be had.
John Mayer – ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’
John Mayer is a talented musician with a long track record of creating music. Although once considered narcissistic and womanizing, now John puts himself first while further developing his music career. On his latest release “Sob Rock”, Mayer explores more personal aspects of himself while reflecting upon what it means to be an artist.
John Denver wrote “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” one of his iconic songs from 1966 during a layover at Washington airport. Peter, Paul and Mary later recorded it and it became one of their top hits from their 1967 album 1700.
It’s about leaving behind everything familiar in order to venture on an unfamiliar journey, taking risks and trying something different. This song is great for beginners as its easy nature will allow them to practice playing guitar more frequently.
Not only is the music great, but the video for “Leaving on a Jet Plane” is equally amazing. Featuring lyrics from the song and showing an engaging scene.
As John stands on a dirt road near a barn, his bright clothes stand out against the natural surroundings and highlight their muted earth tones.
Once more he begins to move his knees up and down while his feet make contact with the ground sporadically, seemingly incapable of movement yet doing his best to propel himself forward.
The end of this song indicates it may be about someone who has died; or it could also refer to a relationship that no longer works out well. The lyrics are poignant and moving; especially when considered alongside how hard it can be to let someone go after they have become part of your life for such an extended period.
Vance Joy – ‘Beautiful Stranger’
One of the great pleasures of picking ukulele songs is discovering new musical styles. When selecting songs, one may come across an artist with an unfamiliar or niche style or genre; when this occurs it’s wise to keep an open mind when searching for single tracks which cover multiple genres (for instance blues bands that cover blues jazz country may seem unlikely, yet can often provide some fantastic music) This might lead to discovering some stray tunes to add to your current playlist or maybe even discovering entirely new favorite artists – who knows… this might even spark romance!