The WannaBeatles Celebrate 15 Years of Singalongs
Article by Sarah Skates
Photography by Provided
Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle
For 15 years The WannaBeatles have been delighting audiences with their tribute performances saluting the original Fab Four. “I call it our smorgasbord of Beatles’ music,” says band leader and Franklin resident Dennis Scott. “I believe in not just recreating the music but also giving people a great show. We love getting the audience involved in different ways, whether it is singing along, dancing or laughing at our funny parodies—like ‘Yesterday’ turned into ‘Creme Brulee.’ We put together mash-ups of different Beatles’ songs and also mix in other hit songs from the same era.”
The family-oriented performance group frequently plays festivals, theaters and events including last month’s 2023 Brentwood Summer Concert Series at Crockett Park. “With The WannaBeatles, you should expect the unexpected,” he continues. “Some people may expect the wigs, fake noses and Sgt. Pepper uniforms that other groups wear. But we don’t do that. We decided a long time ago that if we can be ourselves, we are more free to talk about the music, have fun onstage and do some comedy.”
The WannaBeatles evolved from a cover band with a standing gig at the Mexicali Grill in Franklin, where they noticed how much the audience enjoyed Beatles’ tunes. One of the regulars even came up with the band’s name.
“We were just doing the songs from memory,” says Scott. “We decided if we were going to form a tribute band, we needed to buckle down and do it right. We started pulling out all the music and isolated tracks that we could find. We learned that we were missing a lot, so we had to go back to school and really throw ourselves into the nitty-gritty of Beatles’ songs.”
In addition to Scott, The WannaBeatles includes Nathan Burbank, Bryan Cumming and David Toledo, all accomplished musicians. In order to re-create the music accurately, they often play more than one instrument simultaneously.
“We put an emphasis on creating the music as true to the record as we can and then incorporating what we bring to the table, which is our chemistry of four guys who have been together for 15 years. We aren’t confined by being The Beatles. We and no one else will ever be The Beatles, but we can honor them by doing their music right and having the same kind of joy and chemistry onstage.”
During their time together, The WannaBeatles’ milestones include a rooftop concert in downtown Nashville to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Beatles’ final performance, a 50th-anniversary concert commemorating The Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, and staging a “Welcome Back Paul Party” when Paul McCartney came to town.
The WannaBeatles earned a coveted Grammy Award nomination for Best Spoken Word Album for Fab Fan Memories—The Beatles Bond, which compiled verbal remembrances of fans’ encounters with the group. “We hold the dubious honor of losing to Betty White,” laughs Scott, who previously earned two Grammys for work in children’s music. “So we wrote “Oh Betty! (The Betty White Song)” and she sent us an autographed photo.
“I love playing in this band because it’s so joyful. You get such energy back from the audience because at the end of the evening, they are singing and waving their hands to ‘Hey Jude.’”
Experience The WannaBeatles’ magic on July 14 at Westhaven Foundation Park, July 15 at King’s Bowl or Sept. 5 at the Nashville Downtown Library courtyard. TheWannaBeatles.com