One of the big superhits from the past few years, Counting Stars by OneRepublic actually follows a very simple chord progression that should be manageable for most beginning ʻukulele players.
The original OneRepublic recording is in the key of C#m so if you want to play along, either transpose or use a capo on the 4th fret. Or you can use an app like Anytune to shift the pitch of the recording to match the chords that are shown here.
Be sure not to use the same strum at the same volume the whole way through. The magic is where a change of pace grabs your attention. Listen to the recording for ideas of where to leave space and stop playing for emphasis.
I decided to keep these chords as simple as possible in the easy key of Am. But if you need to look up how to play some of them, you can use these chord charts.
The guitar intro can be approximated by playing this picking pattern for each chord:
A |--------0-----| E |--------0-----| C |-----0-----0--| G |--2-----------|
Use your thumb to pick the top two strings and then pluck up with your index and middle fingers for the pair of notes on the E and A-strings, returning back to the thumb for the last pick.
A low-G string will make the part sound most like a guitar, but a high-g will be fine too. It’s the same note either way, the difference is just which octave the note is in. One is higher, one is lower.
Repeat this right hand pattern twice for each chord.
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Chorus: Am C Lately, I've been, I've been losing sleep G F Dreaming about the things that we could be Am C But baby, I've been, I've been praying hard, G Said, no more counting dollars F We'll be counting stars, (yeah we'll be counting stars) Am C I see this life like a swinging vine, swing my heart across the line G F In my face is flashing signs, seek it out and ye shall find Am C Oh, but I'm not that old, young, but I'm not that bold G F I don't think the world is sold, I'm just doing what we're told Am C G F I feel something so right, doing the wrong thing Am C G F I feel something so wrong, doing the right thing F I could lie, could lie, could lie F/ Everything that kills me makes me feel alive Chorus X2> Am C I feel the love and I feel it burn, down this river, every turn G F Hope is a four-letter word, make that money, watch it burn Am C Oh, but I'm not that old, young, but I'm not that bold G F I don't think the world is sold, I'm just doing what we're told Am C G F I feel something so wrong, doing the right thing F I could lie, could lie, could lie F/ Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly Chorus X2> Am Take that money, Watch it burn, Sink in the river, The lessons are learned (x3) F Dm Everything that kills me makes feel alive Chorus X2>
Here are more songs like this one.