Modern Love
May 24, 2005 2:19 PM   Subscribe

WeddingMusicFilter: A friend has asked me to help him compile fun songs for his wedding reception...

This is a wedding on the cheap, so there's no DJ. I know all the standards that people play but I'm avoiding them and wedding website lists as much as possible. Any recommendations for an eclectic mix of good, danceable music for a couple in their late 20's and their friends/ family? The wedding couple is into mostly folksy, cerebral stuff, but tastes for everyone else run the gamut from hip hop to salsa to cock rock (Sorry if this question has been asked before...I've searched the site and found nothing).
posted by ch3ch2oh to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Nazareth - Love Hurts
J. Geils Band - Love Stinks
AC/DC - Highway to Hell
and of course,
Kool and the Gang - Celebrate (by law, MUST be played at every wedding reception)

... wait, did you ask for the LEAST appropriate wedding mix?
posted by indiebass at 2:59 PM on May 24, 2005

Go on eBay and buy every 80's chart hit compilation you can find. For people in their late 20's there are just too many great songs to list.
posted by fire&wings at 3:05 PM on May 24, 2005

Fire & Wings has a great Idea. Personally, I own Like, Omigod! The '80s Pop Culture Box (Totally) box set. Which, for your purposes would be PERFECT (just skip that Billy Crystal track) PLUS you get to keep this great set afterwards. I know it seems like a lot for one box set but its got like 7 CDs! They have one for the 70's too, called Have A Nice Decade which seems really cool too. I believe that one has a shag rug cover on it. Just one of the sets is over ten hours of music, so... there you are, I guess. I think it could be cool. (but you still MUST play Celebration, as per the law)
posted by indiebass at 3:15 PM on May 24, 2005

I once worked at a non-traditional wedding where Garbage's #1 Crush was played and it was extremely popular.
posted by karmaville at 3:31 PM on May 24, 2005

Digital Underground - The Humpty Dance
-all day.
posted by patrickje at 3:36 PM on May 24, 2005

Response by poster: Good suggestions. The couple has a good sense of humor, so anti-wedding songs like Marriage Is For Old Folks (Nina Simone) and White Wedding are good.
posted by ch3ch2oh at 4:32 PM on May 24, 2005

Best answer: Whatever you do DO NOT put U2's One on the mix. Actually there are probably a half dozen songs that people are always enamoured with playing at weddings that are about breaking up. Someone else should make a list of these, actually I'm certain that you could Google for something like "shitty wedding music cliches" and make a decent list of what not to put on there. Do this first.

I would give you a super long list of songs, but since you've been tasked with this I imagine that you know these people well enough that you can probably tell the kind of music they enjoy better than the rest of us. That said, some good ones you may not think of are:

Adam Sandler - I'll Grow Old With You
B-52's - Love Shack
Al Green - Let's Stay Together
Chuck Berry - You Never Can Tell
Jack Black - Let's Get it On
Jill Scott - Do You Remember?
Lenny Kravitz - Let Love Rule
Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald - Dream A Little Dream Of Me
Patti Page - I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine
Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime

I'm certain that 30 minutes of brainstorming will lead you to all of the Beatles, Marvin Gaye, and Barry White that you can shake a stick at.

I'd find out how long the reception is going to be and burn a 60 minute CD for each hour (the CD player there may be some old crappy thing that doesn't like longer CDs and they're like $.002 these days anyway). Label the CDs simply with #1, #2, #3, etc. and hand them off to someone who won't be fucking with the FFWD button unless the bride goes into hysterics. Promise yourself that you'll not remember that track 7 on Disc #5 is Celebration by Kool and the Gang and ignore people who ask where it is...
posted by togdon at 4:40 PM on May 24, 2005 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Check the thread a few days ago about pre-wedding music...many of my suggestions to you would be the same. For less cheese, though, I'd replace the Bowie and Hayes tracks with "Golden Years" and "Good Love," respectively.

Parliament/Funkadelic and friends! You can't go wrong. "Together," "If It Don't Fit, Don't Force It," "Standing On The Verge of Getting It On," "Red Hot Mama," (may require editing to remove the first minute and a half of George Clinton rambling), of course "Flashlight" or "Atomic Dog" or hell, pretty much anything. Bootsy Collins, too..."Do The Freak" could get the dead to groove.

Tito Puente's "Dance Mania" does not advertise falsely and kicks much ass. (Vol. 1 is preferable to Vol. 2.) Many tracks from Doob Doob O' Rama (vol. 2) would also be excellent. And if you go with "Highway to Hell," try to track down the Hayseed Dixie version.
posted by Vervain at 4:45 PM on May 24, 2005

Response by poster: how did i miss that thread from only four days ago?? d'oh!
posted by ch3ch2oh at 4:47 PM on May 24, 2005

Best answer: I've found it frustrating to want to do partnership dances at weddings, if the music is clearly just a selection of chart toppers, rather than a selection of chart-toppers with some thought put into ensuring a variety of rythyms and tempos is represented, thus ensuring everyone gets the chance to dance the dances they like, so I applaud the question :)

Salsa can be danced to 4/4 music in vaguely the right tempo range, ie a fair chunk of pop (though many salsa dancers will be used to "salsa music"), so that one is less of a problem - any selection of chart toppers will have music you can salsa too if you really want to badly enough :)

Swing / rock'n'rock should likewise be covered without having to specifically check if you ensure the pop songs span a really wide range of tempos. Cha-cha ditto. But some good ones might be "Sway" (mucho mambo) by Shaft, or some of Michael Jackson's, as both general pop and cha-cha. Swing isn't really my thing, but maybe Zoot Suit Riot? (Can;t remember the name of the one I really really like) Still on the older pop, "Dancing Queen" for hustle, "Lady in Red" for Nightclub Two-step.

Waltz and vienese requires 3/4, which is not normal in pop, but by no means rare. Some of the classic heavy-metal ballards are 3/4. Stuff like "Knights in White Satin" covers viennese, but there probably aren't anyone at the wedding into that :) If anyone likes tango, that will probably want it's own song. "Hernando's Hideaway" perhaps, or one of Shakira's for something more modern, but you probably want to find out which kind of tango they like to be sure...

So long as there really is a wide range of tempo, and preferably, a range of rhythms, a lot of the dances will be possible. But in my experience, while HEAPS of pop spans the full range, there is a huge pooling in 4/4 in a narrow band of tempo, so if you don't pay at least a little attention to it, a random selection will not have good range.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:30 PM on May 24, 2005

Beatles - Why don't we do it in the road
Willie Nelson - Blue Skies
posted by Carbolic at 5:57 PM on May 24, 2005

If the reception includes dancing, you'll want to be sure that you get the first dance for the bride and groom right. We didn't dance at our wedding, but if we had, our wedding song would have been "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" by AC/DC. That's what happens when you burn a whack of mp3 CDs by genre and press play randomly, so let your conscience be your guide. After that, have some fun with it - you can always introduce the relatives to some new tunes. :)
posted by melissa at 6:37 PM on May 24, 2005

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