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verbistheword
06-19-2013, 08:14 AM
Hey UUers!

I started playing ukulele in large part because I adore sing-alongs.

Which songs get the most participation when you play them for informal groups, like friends or family?

I'm especially looking for the songs that folks love so much, they start singing without prompting. If a song goes over best with a certain group, feel free to specify.

As for me, I've had good luck with family (60yo parents and 25yo brother) joining in on All Together Now by The Beatles.

Thanks!
Veronica

frisbee fred
06-19-2013, 08:19 AM
Depends on who I'm playing for. If it's at a family gathering then everyone starts singing King of the Road as soon as I begin playing it.

bunnyf
09-23-2013, 08:48 PM
darn, I was hoping to get some ideas too from this thread. I sometimes play in small groups (mixed ages but leaning toward 50s,60s plus) and would like to have some reliable songs that most people find easy to sing along to (ones that they usually already know the words, or at least the chorus and with a range that most folks can handle w/o straining)

Puotta
09-23-2013, 09:16 PM
For years a couple friends of mine and I have had a running competition. The rules... Start singing Bohemian Rhapsody in a group of 10+ people, and you win if no one sings along. No one has ever one.

On the flip side, that's a really difficult song to learn.

You could always look for pub songs of various cultures. Few are likely to know them, but they're designed to be quickly learned (the chorus at least)

I really hope something comes from this thread though. I'd like to know song good simple songs I could play, and sing along too myself.

Ain't no rest for the wicked has worked for me a couple times, now that I think about it.

Cheeso
09-24-2013, 05:12 AM
Louie Louie
My Girl
Twist and Shout

Manalishi
09-24-2013, 07:13 AM
Show Me The Way To Go Home
Side By Side
Ain't She Sweet

peewee
09-24-2013, 07:35 AM
On Top Of Spaghetti
Hey Good Lookin'

Freeda
09-24-2013, 07:36 AM
The lion sleeps tonight

janeray1940
09-24-2013, 07:41 AM
I've played in a number of ukulele groups and consistently, regardless of age or other demographics, the sing-along crowd-pleaser is always, always, always "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

seeso
09-24-2013, 09:27 AM
An incomplete compendium. I may revisit later.

1960's
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin', The Righteous Brothers
Natural Woman, Aretha Franklin/Carole King
Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison
Space Oddity, David Bowie
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Bob Dylan
The Lion Sleeps Tonight, The Tokens
Under the Boardwalk, The Drifters
Do Wah Diddy, Manfred Mann
My Girl, The Temptations
Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin

1970's
Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
The Joker, Steve Miller Band
Drift Away, Dobie Gray
Down on the Corner, Creedence Clearwater Revival
Tiny Dancer, Elton John
Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
The Gambler, Kenny Rogers
American Pie, Don McLean
Fire and Rain, James Taylor
Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown, Jim Croce
Hotel California, Eagles
Piano Man, Billy Joel
My Sharona, The Knack
Baba O'Riley, The Who
The Weight, The Band
Lola, The Kinks
Rock and Roll All Nite, Kiss
Lean On Me, Bill Withers

1980's
Jack and Diane, John Mellencamp
Come On Eileen, Dexy's Midnight Runners
Don't Stop Believin', Journey
Free Fallin', Tom Petty
In Your Eyes, Peter Gabriel
Walking On Sunshine, Katrina & The Waves
Livin' on a Prayer, Bon Jovi
Tainted Love, Soft Cell
Faith, George Michael
Eye Of The Tiger, Survivor
Should I Stay or Should I Go, The Clash
Blister in the Sun, The Violent Femmes
Sister Christian, Night Ranger
Like a Prayer, Madonna
Iím Gonna Be (500 Miles), The Proclaimers
I Love Rock 'n' Roll, Joan Jett
Just a Friend, Biz Markie
Purple Rain, Prince

1990's
Waterfalls, TLC
Word Up, Cameo
Alive, Pearl Jam
I Want it That Way, Backstreet Boys
The Rooster, Alice in Chains
What I Got, Sublime
Santeria, Sublime
Where Itís At, Beck
Friends in Low Places, Garth Brooks
I'll Make Love to You, Boys II Men
Today, Smashing Pumpkins
Stay, Lisa Loeb
Say it Ain't So, Weezer
Creep, Radiohead
Give Me One Reason, Tracy Chapman
Livin' La Vida Loca, Ricky Martin
Under the Bridge, Red Hot Chili Peppers
MMMMBop, Hanson
What's Up?, 4 Non Blondes
You Oughta Know, Alanis Morissette
Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana

Olarte
09-24-2013, 09:51 AM
Those were the days

It's the only song where everybody finally sang along at a small cookout where I played for my closest friends...

Cheeso
09-24-2013, 09:52 AM
Day-O
Blue Moon

Cheeso
09-24-2013, 10:06 AM
That Franky Valli song, Can't Take My Eyes Off of You.
People even sing the horn part.

verbistheword
09-29-2013, 09:46 AM
Newly updated! Items added from later in the thread start with a ">".


Hello everyone,

What a great list! Thank you, bunnyf for getting the thread going again.

Below is a compiled list, ordered by decade, following seeso's lead. If a song doesn't have a "via" at the end, then it's part of his awesomely thorough listing.

Intriguingly, several of the songs suggested without an artist specified have been sung by many artists, so I either listed the writers or the person most well known (according to our friend Wikipedia). Note that some have also been popular across time. If you were thinking of a rendition by a different artist or decade, let me know so I can update and folks can be inspired by what inspires you and your sing-a-long friends. :)

Thanks, everyone!
óVeronica


1920s
Show Me The Way To Go Home, Irving King (via timebug)
Side by Side, Gus Kahn & Harry M. Woods (via timebug)
Ain't She Sweet, Milton Ager & Jack Yellen (via timebug)

1930s
The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Solomon Linda (via Freeda)
Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg (via janeray1940)
Blue Moon, Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart (via Cheeso)
> Minnie the Moocher, Cab Calloway (via igorthebarbarian)

1950s
Hey, Good Lookin', Hank Williams (via peewee)
The Banana Boat Song (Day-O), Harry Belafonte (via Cheeso)
> Witch Doctor, Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. (via ksiegel)
> Jambalaya (On the Bayou) (http://www.chordie.com/chord.pere/www.lindesign.se/uwp/guitar/w/hank_williams/jambalaya.pro?1944-06-06=always&url=&tuning=GCEA&transpose=-2), Hank Williams (via vanflynn, seconded by teruterubouzu)

1960s
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin', The Righteous Brothers
Natural Woman, Aretha Franklin/Carole King
Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison
Space Oddity, David Bowie
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Bob Dylan
The Lion Sleeps Tonight, The Tokens
Under the Boardwalk, The Drifters
Do Wah Diddy, Manfred Mann
My Girl, The Temptations (via seeso and Cheeso)
Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin
King of the Road, Roger Miller (via frisbee fred)
Louie, Louie; The Kingsmen (via Cheeso)
Twist and Shout, The Isley Brothers (and many more) (via Cheeso)
On Top Of Spaghetti, Tom Glazer (via peewee)
Those Were the Days, Gene Raskin (via Olarte)
Can't Take My Eyes Off of You, Franky Valli (via Cheeso)

1970s
Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
The Joker, Steve Miller Band
Drift Away, Dobie Gray
Down on the Corner, Creedence Clearwater Revival
Tiny Dancer, Elton John
Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
The Gambler, Kenny Rogers
American Pie, Don McLean
Fire and Rain, James Taylor
Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown, Jim Croce
Hotel California, Eagles
Piano Man, Billy Joel
My Sharona, The Knack
Baba O'Riley, The Who
The Weight, The Band
Lola, The Kinks
Rock and Roll All Nite, Kiss
Lean On Me, Bill Withers
Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen (via Puotta)
> Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffett (via hent)

1980s
Jack and Diane, John Mellencamp
Come On Eileen, Dexy's Midnight Runners
Don't Stop Believin', Journey
Free Fallin', Tom Petty
In Your Eyes, Peter Gabriel
Walking On Sunshine, Katrina & The Waves
Livin' on a Prayer, Bon Jovi
Tainted Love, Soft Cell
Faith, George Michael
Eye Of The Tiger, Survivor
Should I Stay or Should I Go, The Clash
Blister in the Sun, The Violent Femmes
Sister Christian, Night Ranger
Like a Prayer, Madonna
Iím Gonna Be (500 Miles), The Proclaimers
I Love Rock 'n' Roll, Joan Jett
Just a Friend, Biz Markie
Purple Rain, Prince
> I Know What Boys Like, The Waitresses (via coolkayaker1)

1990s
Waterfalls, TLC
Word Up, Cameo
Alive, Pearl Jam
I Want it That Way, Backstreet Boys
The Rooster, Alice in Chains
What I Got, Sublime
Santeria, Sublime
Where Itís At, Beck
Friends in Low Places, Garth Brooks
I'll Make Love to You, Boys II Men
Today, Smashing Pumpkins
Stay, Lisa Loeb
Say it Ain't So, Weezer
Creep, Radiohead
Give Me One Reason, Tracy Chapman
Livin' La Vida Loca, Ricky Martin
Under the Bridge, Red Hot Chili Peppers
MMMMBop, Hanson
What's Up?, 4 Non Blondes
You Oughta Know, Alanis Morissette
Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana

General ideas
Look up pub songs of various cultures (via Puotta)

ksiegel
09-29-2013, 10:33 AM
Witch Doctor.

No matter where I play it, regardless of age group, people just have to sing along.

Ross Bagdasarian was a Genius.





-Kurt

igorthebarbarian
09-29-2013, 06:55 PM
If I knew it, Cab Calloway (and the Blues Brothers) Minnie The Moocher. It has a fun call-and-response interactive part to it... Hide dee hide dee hide dee ho....

vanflynn
09-30-2013, 03:49 AM
I would add Jambalaya http://www.chordie.com/chord.pere/www.lindesign.se/uwp/guitar/w/hank_williams/jambalaya.pro?1944-06-06=always&url=&tuning=GCEA&transpose=-2
It's only 2 chords and most folks of all ages sorta know the words. Great learner song

seeso
09-30-2013, 10:31 AM
Hello everyone,

What a great list! Thank you, bunnyf for getting the thread going again.

Below is a compiled list, ordered by decade, following seeso's lead. If a song doesn't have a "via" at the end, then it's part of his awesomely thorough listing.

You are awesome! :we're not worthy!:

teruterubouzu
09-30-2013, 12:14 PM
I would add Jambalaya http://www.chordie.com/chord.pere/www.lindesign.se/uwp/guitar/w/hank_williams/jambalaya.pro?1944-06-06=always&url=&tuning=GCEA&transpose=-2
It's only 2 chords and most folks of all ages sorta know the words. Great learner song

I was going to chime in with that one too.

hent
10-02-2013, 05:29 AM
Margaritaville!!!

coolkayaker1
10-02-2013, 05:38 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4X_pmHr7zW8

I Know What Boys Like by The Waitresses.

It's pure mouth candy.

verbistheword
11-20-2013, 04:34 PM
Hey all!

I dig the additional recommendations. Y'all rock.

The original list is updated (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?82280-What-are-your-irresistible-sing-along-songs&p=1395352#post1395352).

I also made an Rdio playlist (http://rd.io/x/QVXywzM8ik0/) right after I made the original list, and have updated that as well. It's been super fun to listen to, and helps me discover songs that I didn't realize I knew. Hope you enjoy it, too!


You are awesome! :we're not worthy!:

And, haha, thanks, Seeso!

óVeronica


Note: On the Rdio playlist, I sometimes settled for a non-original version of the song, or couldn't find one available (the latter are noted in the description). If you find one that I've missed, please do leave a comment on the playlist, and I'll correct when I get a chance. Thanks!

Christie
01-12-2014, 09:29 PM
I have limited experience with playing in a group or for an audience, but I must say that John Denver's Country Roads always gets the biggest response and the most people singing in every situation I've been in. So, maybe consider adding that to your 70's list.

MikeOnTheUke
04-19-2014, 06:19 PM
I haven't really gotten to do too much in regards to playing the uke for a group (a little bit, but I'm still kinda new to the instrument) however, i have learned a few of my guitar standards on it, especially the ones that fit this topic (can't be helped. always good to have a few good sing-alongs in your repertoire.) That being said, I'm also on the young side, so some of these may be more specific to my age group (20 somethings, basically).

It was said before, but Country Roads tends to get a good response.
Kiss Me, by Sixpence None The Richer as well.
Wonderwall, by Oasis (and I've even managed to get one of the guys from my old college dorm building to do a freestyle rap over my playing it.)
Hey Baby, by... i don't know (I know... I'm showing my age again... every college marching bander knows it, though.)
Brown Eyed Girl, (again, was said before, but even at college parties I've gotten LARGE groups singing it)
ANYTHING by Jimmy Buffet

Peterjens
04-19-2014, 10:18 PM
Ain't She Sweet
Love Me Do
Five Foot Two

Daktari
06-30-2014, 10:48 AM
American Pie everyone seems to love singing along
Hotel California sans the awesome double guitar solo!
Scooby Doo theme tune
Puff the Magic Dragon
and a number of others...


I'm a relative uke noob so I'm more limited in song choice for now. On guitar there'd be too many to choose from. I hope to get to that point with the uke too.


Happy strumming!

sukie
06-30-2014, 10:56 AM
Wanna get me to sing? Play Guava Jelly or Surf.

UkeTX
06-30-2014, 11:57 AM
We sing to the elderly folks at nursing homes - and wow are they ever appreciative! Here is a list and I have noted the ones they always sing along with:
1. All I have To Do is Dream*
2. Amazing Grace*
3. Calendar Girl
4. Could I Have This Dance
5. Donít Sit Under the Apple Tree
6. Elvira*
7. Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue*
8. Give Me That Old Time Religion
9. Hello Mary Lou
10. How Great Thou Art*
11. I Want A Girl (just like the girl that married dear old dad)
12. I'll Fly Away*
13. In the Garden (He walks with me and He talks with meÖ)*
14. In the Good Old Summertime
15. In the Sweet By and By*
16. Just a Closer Walk With Thee*
17. Moonlight Bay
18. Old Folks At Home
19. Roses Are Red (My Love)
20. Sentimental Journey*
21. Silver Wings
22. Sincerely (has a few more chords than I like but I LOVE to sing this song)*
23. Sixteen Tons - have not tried this one
24. Tennessee Waltz*
25. The Old Rugged Cross*
26. These Boots are Made for Walking
27. This Land is Your Land*
28. You Are My Sunshine*
29. What A Friend We Have in Jesus
30. Aint She Sweet*
31. By the Light of the Silvery Moon
32. Chapel of Love
33. Hey Good Looking
34. This Little Light of Mine*
35. Tonight You Belong to Me

IamNoMan
10-04-2014, 07:47 AM
UkeTx's list is right on. BTW 16 tons does work.

My specialty as a performer is getting group participation. I am good at it. I will give some general guidelines then list my favorites.

I look for popular covers. The top two covers of all time are Somewhere over the rainbow and Silent Night.

FolkSongs are a winner all around. the simpler the better. If you sing a foreign language folksong its native environment People will quickly join in no matter how poor a job you do. Katyushka works for any language group in the former USSR. Also in this group are any songs you learned at school or camp that you remember. Also Any song where the last line repeats as chorus. Songs where the last two lines of the verse repeat as chorus work too, but not as well.

Gospel Songs. Even Jews like to sing gospel songs. (no slight intended): I'll Fly Away, Amazing Grace

Sea Songs whether shantys of forebitters or tinpan alley: What do you do with a drunken sailor, Rolling Down to Old Maui, I've got Sixpence, Popeye the sailor man. Some of these are best done accapella.

Cowboy Songs: Red River Valley, home on the range, ghost riders in the sky

Beatles Songs

Uncle Tommy's Favorite Singalongs
I've been Working on the Railroad
I'll Fly Away
Paradise - J. Prine
Oh Susanna
Jingle Bells
Heart of my Heart
Five foot two
Jambalaya
Katyushka
Gilligan's Island
La vie en Rose
This land is your land
Battle of New Orleans
Johnny I hardly knew you aka When Johnny comes marching Home
Mac the Knife
Home on the Range
Rolling Down to Old Maui
I know you rider
Ripple
Star of the county Down
Four Green Fields
Lumberjack Song -(monty python)
I'm my own Grandpa. - chorus only
Five Constipated Men
Wagon Wheel :rolleyes:
Country Roads
Waltz Across Texas - Take note UkeTX

hoosierhiver
10-04-2014, 07:59 AM
Was just going to add County Roads, but Tx beat me to it. Magic Moment is a gooder too.

Patrick Madsen
10-04-2014, 08:00 AM
We do mostly adult convalescent homes and senior centers. I include a brief history of the song and a little of the times it was written. (Did you know Choo Choo Cha Boogie was actually a protest song about the working conditions for vets after the war?) We also had songbooks made up so they can sing along.


Sentimental Journey (see pdf.)
Button Up Your Overcoat
My Little Grass Shack
Any Time
Red River Valley
Choo Choo Cha Boogie
Ukulele Lady
That's Amore
Jamaica Farewell
A White Sports Coat
I'm Walkin'
Yellow Bird
Goodnight Irene
I'll See You In My Dreams
God Bless America

jollyboy
08-04-2015, 10:51 PM
This is a great list - absolutely spot on the money :)

I remember several years ago (during my time as a professional chef) working in a restaurant kitchen with a bunch of tough-looking Brazilian guys (several of them rumoured to be ex street gang members, most of them only speaking very basic English). They, for some reason, always listened to the easy listening channel on the radio (Heart FM IIRC). One morning Carole King started to play and I was treated to a word (and note) perfect rendition of 'You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman' by the whole brigade. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life :P


A few more suggestions:

The Air That I Breathe - The Hollies
California Dreamin' - The Mamas & the Papas
River Deep, Mountain High - Tina Turner
Teenage Kicks - The Undertones
Band On The Run - Wings
I Can See For Miles - The Who
Stand By Me - Ben E. King
True Colours - Cyndi Lauper

Hippie Dribble
08-05-2015, 03:09 PM
Great idea for a thread. I find myself singing along to almost anything!!!

But if Dean Martin is on the mic, I'm a goner...or any of the old crooners, really. :)

actadh
08-05-2015, 03:24 PM
The Hokey Pokey
Lava
Singin' in the Rain

terrgy
09-01-2015, 08:26 AM
Great success with: "Pay Me My Money Down".

RIVER (take me along)

Loads of fun with: "Boil them cabbage down."
This is a hoe down song. Have some kazoos to hand out.

UkeOregon
05-15-2016, 10:15 AM
Christie I totally agree! We are having a get together this summer and when asked what songs we should play for a sing-along Country Roads came up first.

brUKEman
05-30-2016, 05:40 PM
My favorite songs to perform at Nursing Homes are:

You Are My Sunshine
This Land is your Land
Five Ft. Two
For Me and my Gal
Up a Lazy River
Bicycle Built for Two
Hey Good Looking

and I always end it with G-d Bless America, in which they always stand up (if possible) and put their hands over their hearts and sing along.

RedBeth
08-30-2016, 11:40 AM
The two that come to my mind are:

Blowin in the Wind
Country Roads

There's nothing like a little Dylan and Denver when sitting around playing with friends.

Auni
11-17-2016, 08:47 AM
Don't worry, be happy!:D

Sven-Uke
11-17-2016, 11:21 AM
Don't worry, be happy!:D

This one!!

lizalele
01-13-2017, 05:06 AM
I'm new to the uke, so I've not done much performing for others, however I did sing Puff the Magic Dragon at my local classical guitar society.

I got a surprise because everyone sang along in the chorus and people told me how much they enjoyed it.

Very nice experience!

Cassie
04-04-2017, 02:24 PM
John Brown's baby is actually one that the children in my family love. There are loads of recordings of it on YouTube so you can learn the words and their actions that go with it for the kids to do along with you