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I couldn’t define my life without a mention of the Beatles, from their first hit song (Love Me Do) in 1962 when I was nine years old until today, their music has real meaning. Losing John Lennon first to Yoko Ono and then to gun violence and George Harrison to cancer struck a real hard blow. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are still going strong but no one has come close to recreating the Beatles magic than a group called “American English” which is one of the greatest Beatles tribute band in the world.
Click to watch Aaron Hanania’s interview with American English band
members after the show. (The video is shot and produced by Stephen Neuhaus.)
By Ray Hanania
I couldn’t define my life without a mention of the Beatles, from their first hit song (“Love Me Do”) in 1962, when I was nine years old until today, their music has real meaning.
My memory is jammed with lyrics from hundreds of their 309 songs and I couldn’t think of addressing any issue without some wisdom that the Beatles implanted in my brain through music and in the experiences of millions of other fans around the world.
Losing John Lennon first to Yoko Ono and then to gun violence in 1980, and George Harrison to cancer in 2001 struck a real hard blow for Beatles music lovers everywhere. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are still going strong but the concern was would their music be lost to us forever?
But no group has come closer to recreating that Beatles magic than a band called “American English” which is one of the greatest Beatles tribute bands in the world. (They’re more popular than Jesus Christ!)
American English not only gives audiences the iconic images of the actual Beatles — the band members not only do a great job “looking” like each of their Fab Four counterparts, but they sound impeccably like them. American English recreates the Beatles music to perfection.
They are very popular and perform for SRO crowds at festivals throughout the country and in the Midwest. I caught them this weekend at the Taste of Orland Park.
They were the closing band, the main performance, for the final night of Orland Park’s popular food and entertainment festival, Taste of Orland, on Sunday night (Aug. 7, 2016) rocking out several thousand attendees who packed the village municipal plaza and park.
As I stood their watching the performance by American English, it reminded me of actually watching the Beatles on their American TV debut on the Ed Sullivan Show in on February 9, 1964, reaching 73 million Americans.
I can still remember them singing “All My Loving,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” And yet I heard that same sound come to life in Orland Park again. It was amazing what their music can do.
American English brought that all back vividly, and that is not something that can be easily accomplished by any tribute band for any rock musicians.
American English is the real thing.
What made their performance even more memorable and exciting was that they stayed after the show to shake hands, take pictures, autograph pictures (that they gave to the audience for free) and just talk. There were old and young Beatles fans crowding around them near the Taste of Orland Stage, and even cute groupies wearing the unforgettable hippie colors and freewheeling style that marked the 1960s which changed the world.
Of course, I was only nine when I was first impacted by the Beatles. Music changed my life and has had an impact on me that can never be fully explained. All I know is that I am in journalism because I loved to play lead guitar and the Beatles hit song, “Day Tripper.”
(I was flunking English composition during my junior year in high school when my English teacher asked me what it was I liked to do. I explained I loved to play rock music on my guitar. She told me to write a column about rock music for the school newspaper, which I did do. That next year, I became the editor of the school newspaper and I know dozens of politicians that wished that teacher had never asked me that question. I’d probably be a doctor today, not a journalist or a writer.)
But the only good thing about being a journalist and a write is not only being able to write and share life stories, but also putting on a spotlight on real talent.
American English is one band that is a MUST SEE music experience not only for the Baby Boomers like myself, but for every generation that has followed.
Who doesn’t love the Beatles? And who wouldn’t love to hear Beatles music performed as true to its intent as it was performed by the original musicians, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
The musicians give you the whole experience in looks, feel, and musical movement. You really feel the Beatles when American English performs.
American English consist of four great musicians. Young Hines provides a remarkable likeness to John Lennon but in looks and sound and his guitar playing is amazing. Eric Michaels performs as Paul McCartney, and his voices blends with Hines to make each Beatles song resonate as if this were another performance of Beatlemania on the Ed Sullivan Show.
James Paul Lynch performs as George Harrison and his guitar sings and his voice on Harrison’s songs will move you. And Tom Gable performs as Ringo Starr and if you put the real Ringo Starr next to Gable, and had them both sing together, you would literally think it was one stereophonic vocal. He’s that good, as they all are.
Keyboard is performed by Ken Zemanek who also performs as George Martin.
American English is all over the Midwest. All they do is perform and bring back genuine memories of the Beatles in every song. You can visit their website at www.AmericanEnglish.com to get their full schedule, Make sure to catch them when they are near you.
But in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago, they will be at Worth Days on Sunday August 28, and at Oak Lawn’s Fall on the Green on Saturday Sept. 10th, among so many others you can catch.
American English is probably the number one musical group in the Midwest and every community and musical festival should be trying their best to make sure to book them.
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Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
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