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The WannaBeatles, a Beatles tribute band made up of four well-known Nashville musicians, played to a packed Rippey’s downtown rooftop recently. The two-hour-long show celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the Beatles’ rooftop session, a legendary concert atop the Apple building in London. The original show featured such hits as “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Get Back.”

“As a matter of historical note,” said Bryan Cumming, whose guitar and vocals are reminiscent of George Harrison, “when the Beatles played 40 years ago on this date, they actually performed the song ‘Get Back’ three times. We’re only going to do it once. But you better pay attention.”

“We might do it more than once,” said Dennis Scott, reminiscent of John Lennon, jokingly.

“We might do it twice,” said Bryan, as the audience laughed and cheered. After the WannaBeatles played “Get Back,” Bryan said, “Already we’re making history. That’s a lot different than the Beatles sounded 40 years ago.”

But the WannaBeatles do sound a lot like the Beatles, and that’s what’s so surprising. Almost as if they really are channeling the Beatles, their vocals are almost spot on, and Bryan’s guitar solos are on par with George Harrison’s.

Also featuring David Toledo on drums (reminiscent of Ringo Starr), and Jim Hayden on keyboards and vocals (Paul McCartney) The WannaBeatles set list spanned much of the fab four’s musical career. They played “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “She Loves You,” “Two of Us, “Here Comes the Sun,” “Let It Be,” “Nowhere Man” and many others.

The real purpose of the show—other than to listen to some good music and have fun—was to raise awareness for musical education in music city. Spokespersons for the National Association for Music Education encouraged the audience members to sign petitions. These signatures will hopefully ensure that music education does not lose funding. Also present was the gorgeous 2007 Mrs. Tennessee, Christina Ryan, who also passed out fliers. “The many times that funds get cut—and yes, in this economy, funds will get cut—music education and physical education are the first two things to go. So the Music Educators Association is taking the initiative to keep it in our schools,” she explained.

“Your contributions will go to making your kids music savvy,” said John Lennon (Ooops, I mean Dennis Scott). Later, making fun of Bryan’s attempts to play the trumpet, piccolo and soprano saxophone, Dennis said that if Bryan had taken music classes, he wouldn’t be so rusty on the brass and woodwind instruments. Still, though, Bryan managed to belt out a few good tunes, including “Yellow Submarine,” “Penny Lane” and “All You Need Is Love.” Clearly, what he lacked in official music education, he more than made up for by educating himself.

Of course, Nashville is not in short supply of musicians. Members from the Songwriters Guild of America were also present at the event, showing their support for the WannaBeatles. “And I hope they can recruit. We really need more songwriters in this town,” said Dennis sarcastically.

Like most artists, songwriters and musicians have to support themselves with “real jobs” if they wish to continue making music. Or, as Dennis put it: “Please be generous to your waiters and waitresses—or songwriters, as they are otherwise known.”

Find out more about the National Association for Music Education at

Want to hold their hands? Check out this fun tribute band at / Issue 91 - September 7041
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