Arrangements

Broken

This rousing number sung by Coldplay is backed by a group of enthusiastic gospel singers. If you check out Coldplay’s version on YouTube, you will likely want your quartet or chorus to sing this tune!

Made You Look

The lyrics to this fluffy yet sexy Meghan Trainor hit have been toned down a bit for younger singers; for example, “even with nothing on” is now “even with my blue jeans on.” Arranged for the delightful Cleveland Heights High School Women Barbershoppers, this tune would be great fun for…

Hang On Sloopy

Originally called “My Girl Sloopy,” this tune reached No.26 on the charts for the Vibrations in 1964. The McCoys had a No.1 hit with it the next year. By one account, the inspiration for the song was Dorothy Sloop, a jazz singer from Steubenville, Ohio—also the birthplace of Dean Martin—and…

I Wish You Love

Songs don’t get much prettier than this tempo ballad. The arrangement is patterned after Natalie Cole’s rendition, so it is bittersweet—more sweet than bitter—and heartfelt rather than being just energetic, as some barbershop renditions are. Do yourself a favor and check out this lush gem!

Learning tracks available from:
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Something

There are not many prettier or more heartfelt songs than this Beatles’ love ballad. While most of the group’s tunes were written by the duo of Lennon and McCartney, this song was penned by lead guitarist George Harrison. This arrangement is probably good for contest but could possibly incur a…

Aquarius

The biggest hit from the musical Hair, this powerful song offers us hope still today. By the way, my college girlfriend and I saw the Broadway production back in 1969. When the cast invited any interested audience members to dance the finale with them on stage, up we went. So, yes,…

Stumbling

Not everyone is a great dancer. And truth to tell, some people are just no good at all. But even if you fall into the latter category, things can still turn out well for you. Have at look at and a listen to this clever song from the 1920s.

Once Upon a Long Time Ago

Written and performed by Jesse Goldberg, this nostalgic tune is sure to touch your audiences’ hearts. Riding bikes, playing games with friends, being loved by Mom and Dad, and just plain feeling safe—this song has it all, in surprisingly warm, non-sappy fashion. Do check this gem out for your quartet…

Instrument of Peace

Patterned after the inspirational version sung by the Canadian Tenors, this song is purely beautiful. One might think of it as being similar to “Let There Be Peace on Earth” but with more specifics included. Such lyrics as “Where there is darkness, let me bring light” and “Where there Is…

Help!

Your quartet or chorus might want to, uh, help itself to this classic from the Beatles. The arrangement is partly lead solo and partly all-skate. So give it a shout, eh?

Learning tracks available from:
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You Walk with Me

This beautiful tempo ballad comes from the Broadway musical version of The Full Monty. At first hearing, I assumed it was a religious piece. While “You Walk with Me” certainly can be sung that way, in the musical it is sung by two people who love each other. Do yourself…

I Believe in You

A beautiful, haunting piece, “I Believe in You” encourages a friend who is down and out to believe in herself or himself. The lyrics are mostly in English, partly in French. The format is solo with four-part background, with the final chord splitting into seven parts. Do check this wonderful…

Here Comes Santa Claus

All four voice parts get a shot at the melody of this delightful holiday tune—yes, even the baritones! Written by the famous singing cowboy Gene Autry and the wonderfully named Oakley Haldeman, this song is sure to bring seasonal cheer to your audiences.

When the Meadow Was Bloomin’

This lyrics to this haunting song were written by the great Johnny Mercer. Barry Manilow, who is no slouch himself, composed the music. The story is familiar—love was sweet as spring in April but turned cold by December—but this piece is something special. Partly a lead solo and partly all-skate,…

We Are a Gentle, Loving People

Singer and lesbian activist Holly Near wrote this song after the 1978 assassination of Harvey Milk. Milk had been the first openly gay person elected to high office in California. There are many verses to this song, and you can make up your own easily enough. This powerful song is…

Taps

The origins of “Taps” date back to American Civil War. This bugle call began as a lights-out signal to soldiers at night but now is played at military funerals and memorials. Though not a cheery song, it can be very powerfully sung when the occasion calls for it.

Streak, The

Okay, maybe streaking is not as popular as it once was, but gratuitous nudity will always sell well. It is recommended that you perform this piece fully clothed, though, letting your audience members use their imaginations—hopefully happy ones.

Stairway to Heaven

What? You don’t have a Led Zeppelin song in your repertoire? Well, isn’t it high time you got one? The answer is, maybe. For one thing, this arrangement requires an extra soloist or two, making it better suited to a chorus than quartet. Also, many of the tricky instrumental effects…

Song Is Ended, The

The great Irving Berlin composed this haunting tune back in 1927. Berlin paints a brilliant, poignant image for the end of a love affair. The men’s version of this arrangement is published by the BHS.

Soldier Medley

The songs included in this medley are Irving Berlin’s “Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning” and “This Is the Army, Mister Jones” and the George M. Cohan tune “Over There.” This lively compilation should stir up the martial energy just fine!

Silent Zombie Night

I am not sure whose idea this was, but putting “Silent Night” into minor mode was way interesting. Want to scramble (but not to eat!) your audiences’ brains? This tune will do it. . . .

Pinocchio Medley

Five well-known barbershop songs are given new lyrics, and new life, in this fun romp. Wonder what could be paired with it in a high-concept contest set. “I Don’t Have a Wooden Heart,” “I’m Your Puppet,” “I’ve Got No Strings”—we could think of something!

Piano Medley

The three songs in this cheerful medley are “Mr. Piano Man,” Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano” and Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” Each song brings a different, interesting slant to the tale. So get yourself ready to enjoy some vocal ivory-tickling!

Peel Me a Grape

This is a delightful song of sensual, well . . . entitlement. Uppity in the manner of “Santa Baby,” this tune hides its desires—not all that subtly—behind words of luxury and being spoiled. Show off your inner femme fatale with this seductive piece.

Old Shep

This wonderfully maudlin tale of a boy and his dog was written by Red Foley and Arthur Willis. The story was based on a German Shepherd, Hoover, a dog Foley owned as a child. Hoover died due to an unfortunate incident with a neighbor. Elvis Presley really made the lyric…

Notre Dame Victory March

Are you ready to “wake up the echoes”? This famous tune was written by brothers Michael J. Shea (’05) and John F. Shea (’06). Rumor has it that singing this song will get you in tight with Touchdown Jesus, so order your copies today!

No One Knows

This song of loneliness was beautifully written back in 1908. The composer really knew what he was doing, writing the melody such that a major ninth chord, a most melancholy sound, was required on “knows.” See what you think of this tune for your quartet or chorus.

Learning tracks available from:
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New Old Songs Medley

This one is rather tough to describe. For one thing, it does not exist yet—at least not in a completed form. The gag is pairing the lyrics from songs by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and so on with the melodies of much older songs. Some examples of the latter are…

Dollar Down, A (and a Dollar a Week)

How much debt can you get into if you make your purchases for a dollar down and a dollar a week? Well, if you buy enough items that way—and get the same terms when you run afoul of the law—the answer is: plenty! Both the Limelighters and Woodie Guthrie had…

My Love Is like a Red, Red Rose

By gosh, no one wrote ’em quite like the Scottish poet Robert Burns. If you like singing the old songs, and if you like singing love songs, this piece from 1794 qualifies nicely as both.

My Guy

When this song went all the way to #1 back in 1964, it was no miracle. Written and produced by Smokey Robinson—get it?—this happy tune of loyal love made in big on both the pop and R&B charts for Motown star Mary Wells. This tune will make your audiences smile,…

Learning tracks available from:
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Lovesick Blues

Her sweetie has left her, and the woman is feeling a deep, dark shade of blue. Despite that, the melody and rhythm lilt along nicely, so give this lively tune from 1922 a try.

Little Baby on My Shoulder

This lovely tune was written by barbershopper Peggy Hill. Though a mother pleads with her infant son not to grow older, he of course does and eventually marries. Then he begs his child, “Don’t grow older.” Give this heartfelt, well-written song a try.

Lil’ Red Riding Hood

The Dallas rock ‘n’ roll group Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs earned a gold record with this catchy tune, which rose to #2 on the charts back in 1966. Their breakout hit from the year before, Wooly Bully, had also charted at #2. Time to get delightfully funny with…