Ukulele serenade series: “Navigate the Seas of the Sun”

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.

Yes, Dickinson is metal af, but the ballads on his solo albums are legendary.

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.

Chords

G

A|-2-|B
E|-3-|G
C|-2-|D
G|-0-|G

Am

A|-0-|A
E|-0-|E
C|-0-|C
G|-2-|A

Em

A|-2-|B
E|-3-|G
C|-4-|E
G|-0-|G

Bm

A|-2-|B
E|-2-|F#
C|-2-|D
G|-4-|B

C

A|-3-|C
E|-0-|E
C|-0-|C
G|-0-|G

D

A|-0-|A
E|-2-|F#
C|-2-|D
G|-2-|A

Verses & bridges

First verse

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

First bridge

            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

Second verse

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 

Second bridge

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 

Third verse

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 

Chorus

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
  • Chorus
  • Second bridge
  • Third verse
  • Chorus
  • 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 

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