I also made an Rdio playlist 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!
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!
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.
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
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. Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree
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 me…)*
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
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
Uncle Tommy's Favorite Singalongs
I've been Working on the Railroad
I'll Fly Away
Paradise - J. Prine
Heart of my Heart
Five foot two
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
Star of the county Down
Four Green Fields
Lumberjack Song -(monty python)
I'm my own Grandpa. - chorus only
Five Constipated Men
Waltz Across Texas - Take note UkeTX
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
Red River Valley
Choo Choo Cha Boogie
A White Sports Coat
I'll See You In My Dreams
God Bless America
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
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