Harmony

Here you can find videos of the songs we're learning, some great harmony songs that you can listen to or download, videos of harmony songs, some choral music and some documentaries, too.

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

You really should read about the song, the people and the film about them, A Lion's Tale

The original 'Mbube' by Solomon Linda, 1939

Mbube (Zulu: lion) was written in the 1920's by Zulu singer Solomon Linda of the Evening Birds and recorded in 1939. Mbube lent its name to the African style a cappella that evolved into isicathamiya of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Mbube by Solomon Linda (YouTube)

Wimoweh - The Weavers

Wimoweh - The Weavers

The Tokens - The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)

In 1961 RCA hired Juilliard-trained Geroge David Weiss to arrange a pop music cover of "Wimoweh". Weiss wrote the English lyrics: "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, The lion sleeps tonight..." and "Hush, my darling, don't fear, my darling...". Weiss also brought in soprana Anita Darian to reprise Yma Sumac's Exotica version
The Tokens - The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)

The Tokens Live

The Tokens Live

A Lion's Tale

A Lion's Tale (German)

Here's a video of the documentary (but in German); the film doesn't seem to be available at present. A Lion's Tale (German)

Trailer: A Lion's Tale

Trailer: A Lion's Tale

Stand by Me by Ben E. King

A live a cappella version with harmony from a TV show

Rockapella - Stand by Me (YouTube)

A cappella version by The Covers

A cappella version by The Covers (YouTube)

Multi-cultural version played together around the world

Playing For Change - Stand By Me (YouTube) mp3

Ben E. King - 1961

Ben E. King - 1961 (YouTube) mp3

In the Still of the Night by Fred Parris

written by Fred Parris when he was in the army, on guard duty one night. It was recorded in his church's basement. The doo wop, doo wah refrain in the bridge has often been suggested as the origin of the term to describe the musical genre. We're doing in C.

Fred Parris live, more recent, in F#

Audio starts at 0:08 Live - such a clear voice (age is no barrier) YouTube mp3

Boyz II Men, 1992, a cappella, in E

Live, a cappella, listen to how the bass singer carries the rhythm and the changes YouTube mp3

The Original - Fred Parris and The Satins, 1956, Doo Wop, in F#

Smooth moves! YouTube mp3

The Fleetwoods

The Fleetwoods are Gary Troxel, Gretchen Christopher, and Barbara Ellis. The Fleetwoods were the first group to have multiple Number One hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in a single year (1959) and the first mixed-gender trio ever with more than one No. 1 hit.

Unchained Melody by The Fleetwoods, A Cappella 1959

music by Alex North, lyrics by Hy Zaret, in D, we're doing in D YouTube mp3

Come Softly To Me by The Fleetwoods 1959, in C#

Two girls and one guy, in C#, we're doing in C YouTube mp3

In My Room by The Beach Boys 1963

By Brian Wilson and Gary Usher, inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

Gary Usher explained that

"'In My Room' found us taking our craft a little more seriously. Brian and I came back to the house one night after playing 'over-the-line' (a baseball game). I played bass and Brian was on organ. The song was written in an hour... Brian's melody all the way. The sensitivity... the concept meant a lot to him. When we finished, it was late, after our midnight curfew. In fact, Murry [the Wilson brothers' father] came in a couple of times and wanted me to leave. Anyway, we got Audree [the Wilson brothers' mother], who was putting her hair up before bed, and we played it for her. She said, 'That's the most beautiful song you've ever written.' Murry said, 'Not bad, Usher, not bad,' which was the nicest thing he ever said to me."

Gary Usher (who co-wrote the lyrics with Brian Wilson) further describes that "Brian was always saying that his room was his whole world." Brian seconds this opinion: "I had a room, and I thought of it as my kingdom. And I wrote that song, very definitely, that you're not afraid when you're in your room. It's absolutely true."

In 1990, Brian wrote,

"I also enjoyed producing 'In My Room'. There is a story behind this song. When Dennis, Carl and I lived in Hawthorne as kids, we all slept in the same room. One night I sang the song 'Ivory Tower' to them and they liked it. Then a couple of weeks later, I proceeded to teach them both how to sing the harmony parts to it. It took them a little while, but they finally learned it. We then sang this song night after night. It brought peace to us. When we recorded 'In My Room', there was just Dennis, Carl and me on the first verse...and we sounded just like we did in our bedroom all those nights. This story has more meaning than ever since Dennis' death."

We're doing in E.

In My Room by The Beach Boys, Original Demo 1963

The demo begins with an intro that was later scrapped, and launches into the first verse with full group vocals, unlike the finished recording. In C. YouTube mp3

In My Room by The Beach Boys, Live 1964

The final version brings in Brian Wilson's voice first, then his brother Carl Wilson and finally Dennis Wilson. Then in the title/hook ("In My Room"), Al Jardine, and Mike Love's bass voicing which both join in to complete the vocal mix. In C. YouTube mp3

They've got some moves from the '80's!

The Manhattan Transfer - Boy From New York City (Live ABC TV 'Fridays' (1981)

Live, from 1981 YouTube

(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher

The Mint Juleps 1990
A

Mint Juleps - Your Love Keeps Liftin' Me

A very energetic a cappella rendition from the movie "The Air Up There" YouTube mp3

Jackie Wilson
1967
A great song!

Jackie Wilson - Your Love Keeps Liftin' Me

The Original!
with The Funk Brothers and The Andantes from Motown YouTube

Jackie Wilson Live 1971
Very high energy

Jackie Wilson - Your Love Keeps Liftin' Me

On the Jerry Lee Lewis Show YouTube"

Univ. of Maryland 2013
Even white girls!

University of Maryland - Your Love Keeps Liftin' Me

They do this every year's class YouTube"

The song was recorded on July 6, 1967, at Columbia's studios in Chicago to be used as a backing track for Wilson to use later. Produced by Carl Davis, the session, arranged by Sonny Sanders, featured bassist James Jamerson, drummer Richard "Pistol" Allen, guitarist Robert White, and keyboardist Johnny Griffith; these four musicians were all members of the Motown Records house band The Funk Brothers who often moonlighted on sessions for Davis to augment the wages paid by Motown.

According to Carl Davis, the Funk Brothers "used to come over on the weekends from Detroit. They'd load up in the van and come over to Chicago, and I would pay 'em double scale, and I'd pay 'em in cash." Similarly two of Motown's house session singers The Andantes, Jackie Hicks and Marlene Barrow, along with Pat Lewis (who was filling in for Andante Louvain Demps), performed on the session for "Higher and Higher".

The song was originally written by Chess Records' in-house writers and producers, Carl Smith and Raynard Miner, and initially recorded by The Dells for the label but not released. Another writer, Gary Jackson made some changes to the song and pitched it to Davis at Brunswick. When the singer recorded his vocal track, Davis recalls, Wilson originally sang the song "like a soul ballad. I said that's totally wrong. You have to jump and go with the percussion...if he didn't want to sing it that way, I would put my voice on the record and sell millions". After hearing Davis' advice, Wilson cut the lead vocal for "...Higher and Higher" in a single take.

A publishing deal for the song was reached with Brunswick after Chess producer/A&R head, Billy Davis intervened. Writing credits were agreed with Smith, Miner, Jackson and Billy Davis all named. Later, Davis removed his credit and BMI now lists the song as by the three other writers. The Dells' version appeared on their album, "There Is" for Chess subsidiary, Cadet the same year.

More Great Harmony Songs (Oldies)

The Chordettes
Lollipop
1954

Chordettes - Lollipop

The Chordettes were one of the longest-lived vocal groups with roots in the mainstream pop and vocal harmonies of the 1940s and early 1950s. mp3

The Chordettes
Mr. Sandman
Live 1958

The Chordettes - Mr. Sandman (Live 1958)

Not actually live, lip-synced mp3

The Chordettes
Mr. Sandman
Much later

The Chordettes - Mr. Sandman

It's a difficult song, you can hear how imprecise they are live.

The Tokens
The Lion Sleeps Tonight 1961

The Tokens - The Lion Sleeps Tonight

The Tokens - The Lion Sleeps Tonight YouTube mp3

The Tokens
The Lion Sleeps Tonight 1961

The Tokens - The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Not actually live, lip-synced

The Diamonds
Little Darlin'
1957

The Diamonds - Little  Darlin'

The Diamonds
Little Darlin'
2000

The Diamonds - Little  Darlin'

All the original singers

The Teddy Bears
To Know Him Is To Love Him 1958

The Teddy Bears - To Know Him Is To Love Him

Inspired by his father's tombstone, "To Know Him Was To Love Him", Phil Spector wrote and sang in the only vocal group of which he was a member

The Darlings
To Know Him Is To Love Him 1963

The Darlings - To Know Him Is To Love Him

Listen to that lead!

Peter and Gordon
To Know You Is To Love You 1969

Peter and Gordon - To Know You Is To Love You

Peter, Paul and Mary
If I Had A Hammer
1963

If I Had A Hammer - If I Had A Hammer

Good old folk song mp3

Choral Music

O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen
Kings College

O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen - Kings College

One of the greatest choral pieces ever written, and in our times! (1994)

O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen
Sheet Music

O Magnum Mysterium by Morten Lauridsen - Sheet Music

If you want to sing along

Some documentaries

Girl Groups - The Story of Sound YouTube

Girl Groups - The Story of Sound
 

Current Harmony Songs

Imagine - Pentatonix

The message really gets powerful starting at about 2:09

 

Some great harmony songs (and girl groups)