Inspired by Record Press author Simon’s recent post on funeral songs ( albeit a sombre subject ), I thought a post on the wedding first dance song might uplift things a little. Such a joyous occasion, a wedding; with all the fabulous flowers, divine dresses, delicious food and, usually (sometimes regrettably) more than a little fizz!!
Mister and I didn’t have a wedding first dance song as such. We had a Ceilidh first, before the DJ did his disco set. We chose to have traditional country dancing to start things off, as we’d seen previously what a great ice-breaker it could be, and as many of our families and friends had not met before, that seemed ideal.
So the “wedding first dance song” was a Gay Gordon’s or Strip the Willow – something like that, I can’t quite remember – and everyone joined in. We didn’t really want to smooch around on the dance floor, dozens of pairs of eyes boring into our backs, so we gladly forsake the first dance in favour of a structured group fling.
We’re not really traditionalists. We had the speeches before the wedding breakfast, too – simply to calm my Dad’s nerves. I knew he wouldn’t enjoy his food if his stomach was churning at the thought of making a speech, and he breathed a huge sigh of relief when we suggested switching things around.
The other factor is Mister and his musical tastes. My musical taste is very eclectic; I’m not a huge fan of ballads in general and I draw the line at thrash metal, but the latter cannot be said about Mister. To me, Napalm Death sound like someone vomiting; for him they deserve a place in music history, if not quite in his music collection. (Although he does have a couple of White Zombie CDs.)
It takes two to have a wedding and therefore a wedding first dance song, but for the purposes of this piece it’s mainly my views I’m sharing, though there is of course more than a nod to Mister’s musical tastes here. The thing is, we do share a dislike of sugary sweet, fluffy ballads, and both prefer something with a bit more grit, a little edgier.
So, what to choose? This is a tricky one, and I’ve had to peruse our music collection at length in pursuit of some answers. Age comes into it, too, of course; we wed in 2002, so any music released after that date is out. The music of the 1980s and 1990s was what we grew up with, so that’s what I have to draw upon. Stock, Aitken and Waterman excluded, of course. Kylie and Jason’s ‘Especially for you’ is out, then, darn it.
Much of the music of those decades is out, in fact, because much of it is upbeat pop that just wouldn’t suit a slow, lingering dance. Anything too frisky is no good, either, frankly, as it’s highly likely that, after a verse or so, an Uncle will drag a bridesmaid onto the dance floor. Granny might even join in at some point. I can’t see her swaying her creaking hips to anything too sultry.
There’s an element, then, of one size fits all. The wedding first dance song should mean something to, and/or be loved by, the couple, but be suitable for all who share the occasion. It’s not easy, is it? I can see why – with a zillion other things to organise, working full-time and living over 350 miles away from our wedding venue – we opted out of picking a smoochy little number.
Then there’s the wording. Many ballads might sound right, in terms of tune, but once you listen to the words they’re simply not at all suitable. The lament of a jilted lover is totally at odds with lifelong promise made during the wedding ceremony. Think Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’. You see what I mean? Not to mention that it was released long after 2002 – Adele was only 13 when we wed.
INXS are one of the obvious contenders. They’re my all-time top band, and Mister is also a fan. They’re Australian, too, which is relevant because we met down under – even though we’re both British. Obviously we’re not looking at ‘Devil Inside’ or ‘Suicide Blonde’; I’m thinking more along the lines of ‘Never Tear us Apart’. Coincidentally, this was one the songs Record Press Editor Simon chose to see him out in his aforementioned funeral songs article.
It’s definitely a contender for a wedding first dance song, but is it suitably joyous and uplifting? It is all about love, but there’s an allusion to future hurt in there. ‘If I hurt you, I‘d make wine from your tears’ is one of my very favourite song lyrics ever, but it sits there in the middle of the song, like a slightly shadowy warning. Maybe not the number one choice, then.
I love George Michael, and he is King of the ballad. Boy, could that man’s voice make a ballad utterly searing and soulful, while sounding completely effortless. ‘Careless Whisper’, though, is once again essentially an effigy to a lost love. ‘Jesus to a Child’ is, too – as well as painfully raw and far too personal to George. ‘I Want Your Sex’ is out, obviously – that’s more of a one for the private, than the public, domain – and ‘Father Figure’ is not right, either, for obvious reasons. Which leaves ‘A Different Corner’, but like ‘Careless Whisper’ and Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’, the words are mournful. Not only that, but that song forever reminds me of the Brits 2017 and Andrew Ridgeley, Pepsi and Shirlie lamenting their lost friend. Besides, Mister isn’t anywhere near as big a fan as me.
Which takes me right back to the very first wedding first dance song I thought of. It’s not one that you might typically associate with weddings – but it’s absolutely perfect. For us, anyway. It opens with the lines: “I’ll protect you from the hooded claw. Keep the vampires from your door”.
Gothic, admittedly, but there’s also a romantic undertone. It’s a tender sentiment, really, wanting to protect the one you love, even if the mention of vampires is a little fanciful. ‘Sparkling love, flowers and pearls and pretty girls’ couldn’t (frankly, Frankie) be more appropriate for a wedding. The song speaks of love as a ‘force from above’, proclaiming ‘undying, death defying love’. What could be more pertinent than lyrics that proclaim ‘I’m so in love with you’? Yet the most fitting line, for me, is ‘make love your goal’. What’s heading into the future together, to embark upon married life about, if not that very premise from Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘The Power of Love’?…..
This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @ BloggerByTheSea.com
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