This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.
If you know the name Bruce Dickinson, you’re likely either aware of his role as lead singer of the legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden or you’ve come across the name while consuming quirky paranormal films and documentaries.
Less often do I speak with folks who are actually aware of the breadth of Dickinson’s solo albums. The solo albums were less traditional NWOBHM genre-wise, granting the singer — known for his signature style of super on-key hollering — a chance to show off a softer side in ballads like “Tears of the Dragon,” “Omega,” “Man of Sorrow,” and “Arc of Space.”
My fourth serenade selection is among those masterful ballads, “Navigate the Seas of the Sun” off of 2005’s “Tyranny of Souls.”
In some respects, “Navigate…” belongs on a soundtrack to a quirky paranormal film — with lyrics exploring the idea of connections continuing across lifetimes and generations. Yet at its core, it’s a beautiful song that translates well to ukulele. So, I trimmed it up — a lot — and tried to arrange it in a way that’s manageable for a beginner ukulele player.
As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.
So, let’s get into the chords.
Verses & bridges
G Am Distant earthrise long ago Am Em lingers at the borders of our minds G Am mysteries spinning in the dark Am Em in the frozen emptiness of time G Am we were lost and we never knew Am Em who we were or what we left behind G Am living half-lives we were blind Am Bm to the new frontiers that opened up our eyes
C To find our minds were spinning Em D souls entwined in a spiral dance Bm C the ancient ways had found us Em D again to give us one last chance
This verse lines up with the progression approximately halfway through the second line of the first verse with a similar feel.
Em G Living in this place G Am staring into space we find Am Em we might share the corners of our lives Em G infinity runs deep G Am eternity that we can keep Am melting through the frozen wastes of time
Bm C We can go on tomorrow Em D living death by gravity Bm C couldn't stand it anymore Em D we'll sail our ships to distant shores
This is played with the same rhythm and progression as the second verse.
Em G Purple gold and blue G Am living colors every hue Am Em flowers in the garden of the gods Em G no one can ever know G Am if you never saw them grow Am Bm this darkness is really full of light
G Am So we go and will not return Am Em to navigate the seas of the sun G Am our children will go on and on Am Em to navigate the seas of the sun G Am so we go and we'll not return Am Em we'll navigate the seas of the sun G Am our children will go on and on Am Bm to navigate the seas of the sun
Structure and ending the song
This song isn’t structured quite the same way as some of my other selections. You can play around with it a bit, but I’d recommend playing it in the following order:
- First verse
- First bridge
- Second verse
- Second bridge
- Third verse
- Third bridge
- Concluding chorus
To conclude using the chorus, I’d suggest either cutting the final chorus in half OR subbing the final Bm for an Em.
I personally lean toward cutting it in half because we’re already playing the chorus in it’s entirety twice before. However, either way should balance out.
G Am So we go and will not return Am Em to navigate the seas of the sun G Am our children will go on and on Am Em to navigate the seas of the sun
G Am So we go and will not return Am Em to navigate the seas of the sun G Am our children will go on and on Am Em to navigate the seas of the sun G Am so we go and we'll not return Am Em we'll navigate the seas of the sun G Am our children will go on and on Am Em to navigate the seas of the sun