Ukulele Video Lesson - Three Little Birds

Featured in this ukulele video lesson, is Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. It's a simple 3 chord reggae song that anyone can play. The song was released in 1977 and, of course, is one of the most definitive of the reggae genre.

It is not terribly difficult to play from the standpoint of the chords involved, but executing it correctly depends greatly upon the player’s ability to utilize the very distinctive reggae strumming style.



This song uses very common and very easy chords. It utilizes G, C, and D, all of which should be well within the capabilities of even a raw beginner ukulele player. When learning the song, it’s useful to learn it with a simple reggae strumming style, incorporating the more energetic, crisp reggae strumming as one gets better at the song.

As you become more familiar and comfortable with the timing, introduce the sharp upstroke strumming used on the offbeat of the measure as heard on the original recording. This gives it the very distinctive reggae sound and being able to carry that off successfully is necessary for anyone wanting to perform this song.

If you’re playing this in an ensemble, it’s an opportunity to introduce the fills and other ornamentations on the original Wailers recording.

Three Little Birds is an easy song to learn, but offers endless opportunities to develop one’s style and one’s ability to play reggae music correctly. For anyone who wants to learn Bob Marley’s music, this is one of the most obvious choices and one that will be instantly recognizable to most audiences.

A Little History About This Ukulele Video Lesson

This is one of the most well-known Bob Marley and the Wailers songs. It is among the reggae songs which people who may not even be fans of the genre will be familiar with.

The song was released in 1977 and appeared on the Bob Marley and the Wailers album Exodus. The song made it to number 17 on the UK charts in 1980, after it was released as a single. Over the years, however, it has endured to become far more significant than its chart position would indicate.

There are two stories regarding the origin of the song. One, from a group of female singers who Bob Marley knew, claims that the song was written about them, as he referred to them as his Three Little Birds. The other story holds that the song is literally about three little birds of which Bob Marley was particularly fond that would perch on his windowsill.

According to the Bob Marley Wiki, the song was recorded at his back garden and was produced by Chris Blackwell, Bob Marley and the Wailers. Bob Marley wrote the lyrics.

Obviously, this is one of the most popular Bob Marley songs because it is so incredibly optimistic and because it is a call to stop worrying about all of the things that distress human beings so much. It is also likely very much responsible for the image of Bob Marley as a carefree, happy go lucky sort of guy, even though some of his other music was politically very sharp, sometimes quite dark and did not lack for depth in any regard.

This song became very popular in the early 1980s and a cover of the song by Connie Talbot was released in 2008, which actually outperformed the original on the UK charts. The original, however, remains an important song, in the context of the history of reggae and in the context of the history of popular music on the whole.

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