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…

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,…

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:
5105

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,…

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…

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!

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!

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:
5117

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…

Leader of the German Band

From way back in 1905, this tune is lots of old-fashioned fun. So come join Schmidt, Schmaltz, Heiny, Jake and Heinz in some crowd-pleasing antics. This song is published by the BHS.

I Will Never Pass This Way Again

Truer words were never spoken, eh? Even when times are tough—as they are right now, in July of 2020—we need to do what good we can every day. This song was arranged for Harmony Inc. queen quartet Aged to Perfection, but there is a men’s version as well.

De Colores

This traditional Mexican children’s song is really sweet. A few years ago the Baton Rouge (La.) Chapter started a revolving quartet that dressed in scrubs and sang for the children who were patients at the local Shriners’ Hospital. When they realized that a large proportion of the kids were Hispanic,…

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. . . .

Anything Goes

No one else ever wrote lyrics quite like the great Cole Porter. Unfortunately, I messed up most of them in writing this parody for the comedy quartet Boardwalk. This piece sends up all sorts of recent trends in our barbershop world, so proceed with caution. . . .

Are You Havin’ Any Fun

Well, are you? This lively, cheery song is a reminder to us all to enjoy life. After all: “You ain’t gonna live forever. Before you’re old and gray, still O.K., have a little fun!”

We Rise Again

This song of resilience and hope was composed by Leon Dubinsky, a songwriter from Sydney, Nova Scotia, for a 1984 stage musical titled The Rise and Follies of Cape Breton. The Rankin Family’s 1993 rendition popularized the song across Canada. The message of this song is certainly fitting for the…

Learning tracks available from:
5116

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…

To Morrow

Well, this is sure a unique song. Written way, way back in 1898, this novelty tune was covered by the Kingston Trio in the late 1950s. The fellow tells the agent wants to take a train to Morrow, well, today. Confusion ensues, which will lead to merriment for you and…

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.