Arrangements

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…

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…

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,…

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.

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…

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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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…

Book of Love

This lively tune was a one-hit wonder back in 1958 for the Monotones. Hailing from Newark, N.J., the doo-wop group reached #5 with this pop classic. This was their only chart hit, but maybe if they had picked a more musically-skilled name. . . .

It’s Late

Remember the teenage angst of being out past your curfew—waaay past your curfew? Ricky Nelson sang about it back in 1958, but every word still applies today. And instead of feeling dread, your group, and your audiences, can have great fun with this tune. By the way, this song was…

Folsom Prison Blues

Do you have an outlaw sort of bass who is looking for a solo? This is a good one, with one caveat: The song is arranged to be accompanied by guitar and bass fiddle. It could be redone someday but not just yet, for the piece is exclusive to Boardwalk…

Steam Heat

From the 1954 Broadway musical The Pajama Game, this tune is hot. No, it’s hotter than hot! The Cleveland Heights High School Women Barbershoppers debuted this sultry song with great success at the Midwinter Convention, but is just fine for the grownups as well. The piece is probably not suitable for SAI…

Perfect Story

Idina Menzel, who played the Wicked green witch Elphaba on Broadway, sings this haunting tune. You are sure to tug on your audiences’ heartstrings when you sing about a mother reassuring her child that even though she and her husband must part, the child is wonderful and is truly loved.

Good Book Song, The

This offbeat tune comes from the film A Mighty Wind. (Hey, that would not be a bad quartet name!) You have never heard the stories of Noah and the Ark, and David and Goliath told like this. Requires a guitar and string bass. This arrangement is no longer exclusive to…

I Say a Little Prayer

When I first got involved with the Cleveland Heights High School Barbershoppers, I asked the young women what song they would most like to have arranged. Thinking of the Julia Roberts film “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” they choose this one. This sweet tune is now available to other youth groups,…

Sukiyaki

This lovely tune was a #1 hit for Kyu Sakamoto back in 1963. The Japanese lyrics tell a sad love story, not really anything to do with food. Surprisingly, the song made the Top Ten again in 1981 and 1995. And you should hear the delightful Yuki sing it, backed…

Hit the Road, Jack

This emphatic tune is arranged for four-part women’s voices with male solo. The fellow needs to be either a bass or a low baritone—low in more than one sense of the word? The arrangement is also available in German. That title translates as “Come, Drink Up, Jack.” Fun, eh?

Learning tracks available from:
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Old Lamplighter, The

Take a trip down memory lane with this sweet old song. It was arranged for Vintage Mix, a delightful Wisconsin quartet composed of teenage quadruplets. Their grandfather used to sing it to them, and they purely fell in love with it. Give yourself the same chance. . . .

Doo Wacka Doo

Ah, how much fun is it to sing a recently written tune about the songs and excitement of the Roaring ’20s? Big fun, that’s how much! This song will be exclusive to The Velvet Frogs until the fall of 2017, but you can start thinking right now about singing this delightful number.

Let’s Go to the Movies

Tickets: check! Popcorn: check! Candy: check! Drinks: check! Come on in and grab the best seat in the house. The lights have been dimmed, the commercials and trailers are done, and now it is time for the main feature. Roll ’em! And you will be able to roll ’em too—as…

Learning tracks available from:
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Bewitched

Did you ever fall in love with the wrong person? You know he or she is just not right for you—perhaps not for anyone—but there you are, hooked. Stuck in the magic spell. Well, maybe it will help you to sing about it. Sinatra did. . . .