Ratliff, an Annandale native—and member of the AHS Class of 1981—is also in the bands Bad Hair Day and Monkee Business, a Monkees cover band.
Thousands of people are expected at the Beatles festival, which runs from 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1 through 6 p.m., Monday, Sept. 5. There will be 166 events, including Beatles cover bands, Beatles tribute bands, and bands that play music from the Beatles era, from all over the United States and several other countries. You can order tickets onlineThe Apple Core will perform a “Rubber Soul” show on the main stage Saturday at 6 p.m. They will play the entire album, which includes such songs as “Drive My Car,” “The Word,” “Michelle,” “Norwegian Wood,” and “In My Life.”
The group will perform an “Abbey Road” medley at 11 p.m. Saturday at Harrington’s Pub.
On Sunday, Apple Core will perform its “Best of the Cavern to the Rooftop” show at 5:30 p.m. on the terrace stage. That show focuses on the Beatles’ early hits like “Some Other Guy,” and “Please, Please Me.” Monkee Business will perform at the festival on Monday at 4 p.m.
Some of the bands at “Abbey Road on the River” impersonate the Beatles, putting on wigs and costumes and speaking with Liverpudlian accents.
“We don’t do that,” Ratliff says. “We are extremely faithful to the original music without dressing the part.” In fact, Apple Core goes one step further; it has five members.
The Beatles “had a lot of help in the studio with others contributing additional instrumentation or overdubbing extra parts, like Ringo doing percussion after he’d already tracked his drumkit part,” Ratliff says. “Apple Core has an extra member to replicate that.”
Ratliff handles all the percussion, which includes tambourines, shakers, maracas, claves, bongos, woodblock, cowbell, finger cymbals, and the ‘anvil’ from “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” He also sings lead vocals on about 50 percent of the tunes (and backing vocals on the rest), which are predominantly the ones on which Paul McCartney sang lead. The band has posted several videos on its website.
Apple Core often plays at bars around the Annandale area. Their next gig after the Beatles festival is Oct. 1 at Public House No. 7 in Seven Corners.
Ratliff grew up in the Broyhill Crest neighborhood in Annandale and went to Masonville Elementary School (a new school is being built on that site) and Poe Middle School. At Annandale High School, he was in the percussion section of the marching band and played the bassoon in the symphonic band.
After graduating from AHS, Ratliff worked as a recording artist in Florida. He returned to Northern Virginia in 1995, where he got back into performing with local bands. Bad Hair Day plays everything from the Everly Brothers to Radiohead. The group’s bass player, John Davenport, is the band director at Falls Church High School.
Most of Apple Core is local, too. Two members went to Edison High School and one went to Fort Hunt. The drummer is from southwest Virginia. Ratliff got involved with Apple Core in May 2010, after Monkee Business opened for Apple Core and the group invited him to join.
“The Beatles thing has really taken off,” Ratliff says.