Ever wondered which songs were the most popular with Rockschoolers around the world? Well, we’ve done a bit of number crunching and found out which tunes are your favourites. Behold: the top 10 most popular Rockschool Ukulele tracks!
10. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Kicking off our much-coveted top 10 is Queen with their timeless classic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. This piece is a grade 8 rollercoaster that requires an incredible amount of skill to ensure that you can do justice to the original song. As you will know, there’s a lot going on in this song. Different melody lines and fast-paced rhythms abound while dashing through a vast array of keys and time signatures. This one definitely requires some perseverance, but imagine the home concert once you’ve cracked it!
9. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas & The Papas
Sitting on our grade 3 syllabus, this well-loved tune is a great one for ukulele beginners looking to sink their teeth into an arrangement that’s a little meatier. The colourful chords are a great backdrop to the lyrics that convey the singer’s longing for the warm climes of a Californian summer in the midst of a bitterly cold New York winter. Good thing we’ve got the heating on at RSL HQ!
8. Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.
It wouldn’t be a ukulele syllabus without this classic track that’s been immortalised by the legendary Israel Kamakawiwoʻole. This brilliant tune fills us with hope every time we listen to it, and ranking at number 8 on our list, it clearly resonates with you too! Plus, at grade 1, the sheet music is easy enough for beginners to get their fingers round the fretboard and sounding confident.
7. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
As far as we’re concerned, Tay-Tay rules the roost when it comes to creating top notch pop. This arrangement features on our Debut syllabus, so there’s really no excuse for not having a crack at one of Ms. Swift’s most infectious tunes. It debuted at number one and stayed in the Billboard Hot 100 for 50 consecutive weeks. Sure, that’s impressive, but we think Taylor and her Swifites would be more chuffed with a place on our Debut Ukulele repertoire list.
6. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
This cheerful classic by happy-go-lucky scamp Jason Mraz was a breakout hit for the American singer-songwriter way back when in 2009. The song became an undisputed anthem, even earning Mraz a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year. Unfortunately, he lost out to industry nice boys, Coldplay, but we’re sure he’ll be consoled by a place on our grade 1 syllabus.
5. Havana – Camila Cabello
Coming in at number 5 is our fresh arrangement of Camila Cabello’s smash hit, ‘Havana’. This grade 4 piece makes clever use of syncopated rhythms to evoke the scene of the Cuban city. The salsa-inspired track ushered Camila to superstardom on its release in 2017, reaching the number one spot in several countries including here in the UK, making it a hugely popular choice for you uke lovers!
Bill Withers is our grade 4 cover star but his song 'Use Me' doesn't make the top 10!
4. Viva La Vida – Coldplay
Next up is another pop classic from one of the biggest bands of the past twenty years. A grade 3 piece that requires dynamic light and shade alongside some technical fingering passages, this is one song that is a real accomplishment to have mastered. Practise makes perfect, so focus on slick finger movement and you’ll be gliding along the fretboard in no time!
3. Rolling In The Deep – Adele
Another song from our Debut book, this Adele tune is a real treat to play. Adele herself described it as a “dark blues-y gospel disco tune”, and the fact that it’s on the Debut syllabus means it’s accessible to beginners and advanced players alike. Rolling Stone placed it at number 8 on their Top 100 Songs of the 21st Century, but Adele’s popularity with Rockschool musicians means she goes one better and takes the bronze medal on this list!
2. Let Her Go – Passenger
The second most popular track on our list is ‘Let Her Go’ by the English singer-songwriter Passenger. Released in July 2012, the song was a sleeper hit: it initially attracted little fanfare but garnered huge support in the following months. It became very popular on Dutch radio before eventually becoming a massive global hit. Sitting at grade 4, this arrangement beautifully highlights the melancholic tone of the song – it’s a real pleasure to play, so we hope you’ll have fun with it.
1. Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Topping our list of most popular Rockschool ukulele tracks is this anthem by the one and only Ben E. King. With such an iconic bassline in the assessed part, combined with some wicked cool chords to strum in the verse, it’s no wonder this song is such a hit with you budding rockstars. This song has been covered more times than you can shake a very large stick at, and now it’s time to add your cover to the list by hitting up this grade 1 banger. Go forth!
You’ll find all of these pieces, along with multiple backing tracks, on the RSL Learning Platform!
If you don’t see your favourite on this list, we want to hear from you! Head over to our socials and let us know your top tune.