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.

I Don’t Care

The young woman in question is clearly going to live life her way, no matter what. And her way includes making it big on Broadway. Popularized by Harmony Inc. queen quartet Taken 4 Granite, this tune is lively, saucy and just plain fun!

Fun, Fun, Fun

This Beach Boys’ classic is in women’s voicing right now—darned if I can remember why—but it could easily be redone for men. And for another unknown reason the melody is in the bari part rather than the lead. Of course, the two singers could just swap. Anyhow, this pop hit…


Written by barbershopper Ken Carter for his late wife, this song is short, sweet, sad and most heartfelt.

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. . . .

Blue Skies

Written by Irving Berlin, this cheery tune was a last-minute addition to the Rodgers and Hart musical Betsy. The song was an immediate hit, with the audience on opening night demanding an astounding 24 encores from star Belle Baker! Would you settle for just one encore from your listeners?

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. . . .

Anti-Marriage Medley

This medley has a, shall we say, certain point of view. A combination of 1912 songs “I Was Married Up in the Air” and “When You’re Married,” this piece takes a dim view of the institution of marriage and could serve as a light-hearted warning for men who are considering…

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!”

All Night Long

The wonderful Chilton Price wrote this spicy song. Though no more than R rated, the song makes its meaning clear. Ms. Price’s biggest hit was “You Belong to Me.” She composed the latter song alone, though a couple of the band members who introduced the piece wangled their way into…

Alarm Clock Blues

Do you hate to get up in the morning? Are you sometimes tempted to smash your alarm clock into a thousand tiny little bits? If so, this is the song for you—even in contest.

I’m Nobody’s Baby

This tempo ballad just drips loneliness. Songs like this can sometimes effect a real healing when a listener who is in the same boat realizes that he or she is not alone.

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:

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.

I’m Henry VIII, I Am

A goofy golden oldie, this English music hall song is quite repetitive, so you might want to make part of it a sing-along with your audience.

Learning tracks available from:

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,…

Taylor, the Latte Boy

A scaled-down version of Steve Tramack’s marvelous arrangement for Harmony Inc. queens Taken 4 Granite, this piece is sweet fun — even with no sugar added! It is in young women’s key right now, having been edited for the Cleveland Heights High School  Women’s Barbeshoppers. Best to get the longer,…

What Do You Do with Your Arms?

A witty conundrum for us singers, this tune was arranged for the Cleveland Heights High School Men’s Barbershoppers. The funny, clever piece, with lots of built-in movement ideas, would be great for adult men too (and could be put into women’s voicing).

Candlelight and Gold

Barbershopper Gary Markette wrote this song to honor his late wife, Sarah. Gary’s images are purely lovely and would certainly fit other longtime love affairs as well, so do give this song a look.


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…

Rocky Top

This tune is high-energy, recognizable and just plain fun. On top of that, the arrangement is fine for contest. So what are you waiting for? Have a sip of moonshine and give it a try!

River of Song

This lovely song was written by Newfoundland folk singer Shirley Montague. Newfound Sound, the Harmony Inc. chorus from St. John’s, commissioned the piece in honor of their late member Elaine Sparkes. Though the piece is very specific to Elaine’s life, it probably could be rewritten to honor another barbershopper.

Precious Lord, Take My Hand

The lyrics to this timeless hymn were written by the grieving Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey after the death of his wife and infant son in childbirth. Dorsey based the tune heavily on the 1844 hymn “Maitland,” composed by George N. Allen.  This moving piece is available in men’s, women’s and mixed…

Etkö uskalla mua rakastaa

What? You mean you don’t have a song in Finnish in your repertoire? My friend, you have a serious shortage of double letters in your life. Actually, this is a lovely song in any language, and an English translation is in the works. So take a chance and givve  itt…

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:

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. . . .

Long Word Song, The

The word in question is indeed long. It is very long. It is very, very long. Would you believe “hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliaphobia’? And it is a real word too, unlike a certain one from the musical Mary Poppins. See if your group can wrap your brains, and tongues, around this delightful, energetic…

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…

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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. . . .

Mein Bruder macht im Tonfilm die Geräusche

Partly in English and partly in German, this song is, well . . . what it is, is . . . different—and great fun! The English title is “My Brother Makes the Sound Effects for Movies.” The sounds included are a mix of vocal, electronic and mechanical effects. And the…

My Brother Makes the Sound Effects for Movies

Partly in English and partly in German, this song is, well . . . what it is, is . . . different—and great fun! The sounds included are a mix of vocal, electronic and mechanical effects. And it is contestable too. It could be redone for your group to be…