“Today’s music ain’t got the same soul” seems to be part of a perfect song written for this new music era, but you’ll be surprised when you find out that actually the song that we’re about to learn today named “Old Time Rock and Roll” was a single released back in 1979 when –surprisingly– the music was already pretty great, huh?
In today’s new post we are going to learn not only the facts about Old time Rock and Roll, but we’re also going to learn how to play this awesome song on our ukulele. Hint: Although this song has a very bluesy feel, it’s not actually a blues in its form!
Old Time Rock and Roll, a trip to the past!
Imagine yourself listening to the radio on a warm and bright day of March, trying to get lucky and find a cool song to sing along, when all of the sudden one random song “soothes your soul” with the lyrics… Can you imagine being in that scenario? If not, try again, because that’s exactly what happened back in March, 1979, when the blues, rock and soul singer and songwriter, Bob Seger, released the single “Old Time Rock and Roll” as a part of his 10th studio album called “Stranger in Town”.
Read more: The history behind “Lion Sleeps Tonight”
The feeling of this song speaks by itself. Jackson talks about his desire of going back to the old time rock and roll music! (And, to be honest, I share the same feeling, what about you?). The complete piece is just a sentimentalized search of going back to the rock origins, and that’s what Jackson and the so-called co-writers, Thomas E. Jones III and George Jackson were searching when the song was recorded at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama.
Old Time Rock and Roll was well received by the audience and managed to reach to the #28 spot in the Billboard Hot 100 rank in 1979. Yes, it was a great hit, but it wasn’t until 1983 (4 years after its release) than the song gained more popularity than ever thanks to the movie Risky Business, where a young actor named Tom Cruise appeared in a very popular scene, where he does a lip-sync of the song while dancing in his underwear:
The iconic scene not only gained the public’s attention, but also sent the song back on the music charts and helped it reach the #48 on the Billboard chart of 1983. Today, the song remains a staple on classic rock radio and Tom Cruise’s scene is often used these days as a way to remind people about the good old days from the past:
Now that you know more about the song, it’s time to grab your ukulele and learn how to rock this song as Seger and Jackson.
The best way to start learning this song is by embracing the spirit of the old rock music. Are you a rockstar? ok, let’s begin! You will only need 3 easy chords: C – F – G7. This song has that blues feel, so to play the song you’ll need to start playing the C chord, jump to the F chord, change to the G7 chord and then go back to the route chord, the C chord.
Terry Carter, from Uke Like The Pros, recorded a cool LIVE session for this song as a part of our new Beginner Ukulele Song Challenge. If you want to be a part of that challenge and get access to the song sheet for that song, as well as the backing tracks to play along with, just check this link. Now, if you want to get access not only to this challenge but all the Uke Like The Pros content, courses, challenges, giveaways and LIVE Q&As, check out our memberships and choose the one that fits the most with your requirements.
When you hear the song, you’ll notice a cool piano riff that starts the song, and –lucky you– we have that riff for you in the image below, right after the chord diagrams! Remember, we’re teaching this song in the key of C, using a different key than the original so you can play it if you’re a beginner. If you want to play this in the original key, replace the C-F-G7 chords with F#-B-C#. All those chords have bars in them, so… To help you out, you can also put a capo in the 1st fret and play the chords:
Now that you know the chords, let’s learn the rhythm. To master Old Time Rock and Roll you can just play 8th notes for the whole song while changing the chords according to the song sheet, just as explained in the image above. If you want to get crazy with it because you feel the need to rock and roll, you can just add a chuck in the beats 2 and 4 for each measure, as explained in the same image.
Time to play Old Time Rock and Roll!
Now it’s time to use everything you’ve just learned and turn it into a complete song in 3….2…1… GO!
VERSECJust take those old records off the shelfFI’ll sit and listen to ’em by myselfG7Today’s music ain’t got the same soulCI like that old time rock and rollCDon’t try to take me to a discoF
You’ll never even get me out on the floorG7
In ten minutes I’ll be late for the doorCI like that old time rock and rollCHORUSCStill like that old time rock and rollFThat kinda music just soothes the soulG7I reminisce about the days of oldCWith that old time rock and roll!SOLO|C |C |F |F|G7 |G7 |C |CVERSECWon’t go to hear ’em play a tangoF
I’d rather hear some blues or funky old soulG7
There’s only one sure way to get me to goCStart playin’ old time rock and rollCCall me a relic, call me what you willFSay I’m old fashioned, say I’m over the hillG7
Today’s music ain’t got the same soulC
I like that old time rock and rollCHORUSCStill like that old time rock and rollFThat kinda music just soothes the soulG7I reminisce about the days of oldCWith that old time rock and roll! (REPEAT TO FADE)
How did you do? Leave a comment below if you liked this song and if you want to learn more songs like this one. Remember, to master this and every other song, the key is REPETITION. Repeat the chord changes over and over again until you play them in the most smoother way possible; then, add the lyrics and practice the complete song until you think it sounds best.
If you want the song sheet Terry used for this song and the awesome backing track for it, you can get it with the VIP access for the Beginner Ukulele Challenge. You still have time to get it!
Good luck with this song, and let’s keep it rocking!