And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.
One of the most profound sentiments to be penned by Lennon/McCartney, this short line served as the complete lyric for the song “The End” which concluded the last album The Beatles would record: the timelessAbbey Road. This perfect farewell statement by the Fab Four will also appear in the grand finale of our upcoming concert, All You Need Is Love: The Music of The Beatles.
I will admit it. I was not a Beatles fan until a year ago. I was born at the height of their popularity and by the time I was old enough to understand what rock music was, their place had been taken up by the likes of Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan. In college, when I first heard that courses were being taught on the music of The Beatles, I remember thinking, “I should know more of their music than I do. Someday I’ll make time to see what all the fuss is about.”
Fast-forward a couple of decades to Christmas in Los Angeles when my friend Harry Aguado gave me a copy of The Beatles Complete Scores. I remember opening the 1200-page book and marveling at how much effort had gone into transcribing the finest details of each song the band recorded – everything from Ringo’s back beat to Paul’s hammering of the guitar strings. Even though I couldn’t fully appreciate what I held in my hand, I knew that this collection was a tremendous gift that I hoped I’d one day put to good use.
In early 2009, when we first began talking about a tribute to The Beatles, I was intrigued, but not sure how excited I would be about the music, though I had many reasons to be: It’s music written for male voices, we had access to original transcriptions, and it was music that epitomized the revolutionary 60’s when the gay rights struggle was just beginning. But, alas, I didn’t know this music.
Or so I thought. Once I began listening to these classic recordings, I realized something as profound as the music itself: I did know it. And when I didn’t, I felt like I did. Over the decades, the music of The Beatles has permeated society to the point where even non-aficionados know it by sheer osmosis. Plus, the 50th anniversary of the group (this year) has reignited a world-wide interest their music. (If someone wants to count them, I’d love to know how many Beatles apps there are for the iPhone. I stopped after the first ten.)
Once we determined that we could actually get permission to perform this music, our creative team began to assemble a short list of must-do Beatles songs (try doing that with ten gay men). I soon began to appreciate what Lennon and McCartney stood for, how they wrote, and what The Beatles were really about. Mind you, I couldn’t comprehend the lyrics of “Come Together” – turns out The Beatles didn’t intend for anyone to – but I understood that this band seemed to have been on a mission that remained relevant half a century later.
In July, the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus will be singing twenty-eight Beatles songs – perhaps a record number of pieces for the chorus in one performance. We feel we’ve brought them together in a unique way that supports our mission, maintains excellence, and remains true to The Beatles’ original recordings. No lyrics have been altered and in almost every case, the orchestration (for a five-piece rock band) is exactly as The Beatles recorded it. Why mess with something so perfectly timeless?
We’re excited to bring you what we think is the best of The Beatles (see the song list to the right). But we’re quick to note that we could easily program a second tribute.
Who knows? This Beatles fan might just suggest we do that at some point.