Ukulele & Languages

Different countries,
Different cultures
one common language... the ukulele.

Beatles Ukulele covers : 1963 – 1964

08 2010

Listening to The Beatles and liking English was totally uncool in France when I was a teenager. But it had other advantages. Have you ever realised how many idioms, and grammar rules are illustrated in Beatles songs? I did have English classes at school, yes, but The Beatles taught me real, spoken English.

Learning a language through music is very effective : you start humming a melody you like, then you get down to the words and before you know it, you can sing the song off by heart.

The Beatles were experts in creating catchy songs, the type that easily gives you ‘earworms’. Listening to them non-stop over a few years taught me more English than school and its boring approach ever did.

Do you realise that when you’re singing When I’m Sixty Four you’re actually illustrating the fact that you should use the present tense after ‘when’ ? (In French you use the future as in Quand j’aurai 64 ans). There are tons of example like this one but not for today’s post.

As a tribute to The Beatles, who made me love English and the British sense of humour, I have decided to do a World Tour of Beatles ukulele covers, sorted chronologically by Album. Going through the whole Beatles discography in one post is a bit too much so this first post will focus on the years 1963 and 1964.

Please Please Me (1963)

Tony and Becky from the United-Kingdom have done a ukulele and melodica cover of Love Me Do

Michael and Jussi from Finland play When I Saw Her Standing There.

Joe from the island of Guam performs Twist and Shout (song written by Medley and Russell)

With The Beatles (1963)

山下セイジ from Japan in a cover of You Really Got A Hold On Me

Keonepax from Hawaii has covered many Beatles songs, including this lovely cover of Till There Was You (song written by Meredith Willson for the musical play The Music Man)

From the United-States, Skip and his buddies cover All My Loving on a Fluke. Not as easy as it first seems… but certainly fun !

A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

Among many other Beatles songs he has arranged, WS64 from Germany has done an excellent solo version of A Hard Day’s Night.

Music Teacher Ukulele Mike teaches you how to play And I Love Her

A baritone ukulele cover of Things We said Today by Tom from the United-Kingdom

That’s it for today. If you cannot wait until next Friday for more Beatles ukulele covers, check out The Beatles Complete on Ukulele project by Roger and Dave.

Looking for ukulele songs from a specific country? Try entering the name of the country in the search field at the top right of this page.

To see all the posts for a specific country, click on the appropriate flag on the sidebar (flags are sorted in alphabetical order).

2 Comments »

  1. Kyle on the 9th of January 2010 @ 00:44

    Wow! Armelle, this is a fantastic undertaking.
    Learning another language through music would have been much better for me, and I imagine a lot of other people too.
    It will be so nice to have this uke/Beatles music catalogued all in one place – a wonderful resource.
    All the best,
    Kyle

  2. Armelle Europe on the 9th of January 2010 @ 09:33

    Kyle : Thanks! I am glad you like the idea of this post. I enjoyed writing it a lot.

    Music is a very effective way to learn languages!
    In my opinion, one should never try to learn a language by comparing it to one’s native language, which is unfortunately the way it is taught at school over here.
    Instead one should be like a child learning to speak, understanding new words because of their context and through interactions with others, singing nursery rhymes etc…

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