Ukulele Video Lesson - Faithfully

In this ukulele video lesson, I'll be teaching you Journey's Faithfully. Faithfully is one of Journey’s best known songs. It’s also a classic example of 80’s pop.



Some Facts Behind Faithfully's Ukulele Video Lesson

Faithfully appeared on the 1983 album Frontiers and is among Journey’s many Top 100 hits. This song made it to number 12. It remains one of their most popular songs.

Faithfully is about being in a band, being on the road and how that tears apart the narrator’s life and relationship. It was written by Jonathan Cain, the keyboard player for Journey, and references an actual relationship of his, which ended in divorce.

Some of the song lyrics reference people that Cain worked with on the road, as well. The personal nature of the song has led some to believe that it’s actually Steve Perry who’s telling a story about his life, but they’re not his lyrics.

This song actually made it onto the television show Glee. The Glee recording of the song was a hit in its own right, getting into the Top 40. It has been covered by a variety of other artists, as well, across many different genres. There’s even a Cantonese version of this song recorded by Anita Mui.

The song is a challenging one to sing, given Perry’s vocal abilities. It’s also instantly recognizable, however, and a song that should be fairly easy to learn on ukulele, given how familiar it is.

Playing The Song

This song doesn’t use any complex chords, so it’s completely accessible to beginning players, at least in the most basic way. It uses A, F#m, D, and E7 primarily, in this lesson, but a different key in the actual Journey recording. I can barely sing it in the key of A! Haha! The hook, played by the electric guitar in the song, can easily be played on the ukulele.

This is a power ballad, so dynamics count for a lot. The song swells during the refrains, goes back to a moody, sorrowful feel during the verses and, at the end, it has a finale where Perry vocalizes the melody and the guitar rides on the top of the mix, adding fills, power chords and other ornamentations to, essentially, put the power in power ballad.

Note that the chord changes pull the song along very well. They punctuate the movement of the song, particularly at the end, where the bass line becomes increasingly complex and the guitar.

While the refrains tend to blossom in this song and drive the hooks home, note that the playing on all the instruments remains rather reserved for much of the song. Chords are allowed to ring out and fills on the guitar and keyboards emphasize the greater feel of the song rather than standing out as short solos.

Around the three minute mark in this song, where Perry starts singing “whoa”, the song starts to reach its dynamic and rhythmic peak. If you have a ukulele player in an ensemble who can add a solo, it would be well worth doing to keep the feel of the song.

This is pure 80s rock, so when it goes big it goes huge. If you’ve ever wanted an excuse to play a ukulele with a pickup and a distortion pedal, this is a good one. The power chords at the end give the song its anthemic feel, and the steady, pounding drumming only makes it more dramatic.

This is a great song to learn if you want to learn the basics of power ballads. Journey not only wrote quite a few of them, a lot of other bands tried to follow in their footsteps and few came close to their ability to work in this format. This is also a great song for showing off well-developed vocal abilities!

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