Beatles tribute band will part after 6 years

Let It Be
Corey Perrine/Staff
Clockwise from left: Kirkwood Deal, Roger Davis, Ed Turner, Jeff Johnston, Tim Arbisi, Chip McDonald and Zach Swenson, center, all members of Ed Turner & Number 9, will perform at the Imperial Theatre Aug. 13-14 and 21 in Augusta.

Goodbyes are never easy, but after nearly six years recreating the music of the Beatles, local act Ed Turner and Number 9 have decided to Let It Be .


An album widely regarded as one of the band's lesser works, Let It Be , which will be performed in its entirety this weekend and Aug. 21 at the final Number 9 shows, was the Beatles' attempt to strip away the artifice that had marked many of the band's albums.

Turner said the band is discovering that despite the more simplistic writing approach, there are real challenges in the material.

"Stripped down, it turns out, doesn't necessarily mean less hard to sing," he said. "Songs like Dig a Pony and I've Got a Feeling are tough. There are also a lot of harmonies on this one."

Let It Be , explained Roger Davis, who handles lead vocals for the band, is an album kept intentionally raw. For a singer, that demands a certain physicality and measure of musical athleticism.

"Raw is hard," he said.

As with previous Number 9 performances, every attempt has been made to replicate the original release version of Let It Be . Turner said that although some believe the unreleased version of the album, which was to be titled Get Back , is superior, he felt the band had to adhere to the rules it had set.

"There was really no decision to be made," he said. "We did the original album, just like we did all the others. I mean Let It Be ... Naked (a version stripped of the controversial Phil Spector production flourishes, released in 2003) doesn't even exist for this band. Well, not until 2043."

Never content to play only an album's worth of Beatles hits, the Number 9 show will also include an opening set of Beatles favorites and a third set replicating the band's 1965 Atlanta concert -- 45 years to the week after it happened. It was to be the Beatles' only Atlanta appearance.

"We're really looking forward to that," Davis said. "By the third set at these shows, people are always ready to dance, and that's the kind of set this is."

The Beatles arrived in America in 1964, and by 1970 they were finished. Six years, the same length of time Number 9 has been active. Turner likes the symmetry.

"We always knew this day would come," he said. "Like George Harrison always said, all things must pass."

Reach Steven Uhles at

Want to go?

WHAT: Let It Be and other Beatles' Classics, presented by Ed Turner and Number 9

WHEN: The 7:30 p.m. shows for Friday and Saturday have sold out, so an encore performance has been added for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21

WHERE: Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St.

COST: $15-$40

DETAILS: (706) 722-8341,