wedding music

Uptown Funk-Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson’s collaboration of “Uptown Funk” won the “Album of the Year Award” for the 2016 Grammys last night even though it feels like it’s been around for two or three years. The very first time I heard it, near the end of 2014, I was dazzled by its unabashed homage to 80s and 90s R & B giants Earth Wind & Fire and Morris Day & The Time. The prominent staccato Earth Wind & Fire horn line is as memorable as any of the lyrics. The groove, as well as the all-male dance line, is a loving tribute to Morris Day & The Time’s 1990’s “Jungle Love.”

However, Mars wasn’t finished in his loving tribute to the great funk music of the 80s & 90s. His performance at last month’s Super Bowl keeps all the elements of his original recording but adds a musical and visual homage to MC Hammer “U Can’t Touch This” and James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing.”  The dance moves and baggy pants are a direct, loving nod to MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.” The new bass line provided a more subtle nod to the undeniably identifiable James Brown classics. To Marc Ronson’s credit, he humbly thanked to great George Clinton, and his group Parliament-Funkadelic, as well as the late, great Earth Wind & Fire’s Maurice White during last night’s GRAMMY AWARD acceptance speech.

Bruno-Just The Way You Are

Bruno Mars is clearly emerging as the ultimate Pop Music Maestro of the 21st century. The man is a hit-making machine, and will hopefully keep churning them out, and performing them with his charismatic charm and astonishing dance moves. The best thing about Bruno Mars, missing in so many young Pop performers, is that he clearly LOVES what he’s doing. No matter how enjoyable it is to watch this remarkable sensation, he always seems to be having a better time than us.

Keep going Bruno. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
-Doug

Air On The G String-J.S. Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach’s 1722 masterwork, most often referred to as “Air On The G String,” is a spectacular choice for your wedding processional. The full title is actually “Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major (Second Movement.) BWV 1068.”

Paired with Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” “Air On The G String” flows seamlessly  from the Full Procession to the separate Bridal Procession. Both works, written three hundred years ago have uniquely recognizable melodic themes, making them accessible to even the most casual “Classical Music” fan. As opposed to instrumental arrangements of contemporary tunes, the one-two punch of Bach and Pachelbel serve as a timeless accompaniment to both the simplest and most elegant of wedding processionals.

images

Let me know what you think.
-Doug

Honey I’m Good-Andy Grammer

 

 

Go figure.  A song about the virtues of  fidelity!   You know, that works at a wedding!  It  has a “feel-good, be-good” optimism — just look at the couples in the song’s video.

“Honey I’m Good” by Andy Grammer was released in 2014 and was an immediate hit. Ignore the fact that this song has an incredibly similar “feel” to the unfortunate novelty song “Cotton Eye Joe”.  What separates the two songs is the cleverness of Andy Grammer’s lyrics. The story he told on “The Today Show” was that he had just gotten married, and was about to go on tour to support his new album. With all the temptations of women on the road, he composed the lyrics “I could have another but I probably should not, I got somebody at home.” The rest of the song is filled with similar reasons to say “no” to groupies on the road. So instead of being a dumb country “Cotton Eye Joe” rip-off, it’s an incredibly catchy anthem of remembering your marriage vows. The video itself, very subtly shows couple after couple holding up numbers, presumably representing the number of years they’ve been together as a couple, while singing along to the song. It works wonders on the dance floor. It’s a surefire winner for wedding crowds. Here are the lyrics.

Nah nah honey, I’m good
I could have another but I probably should not
I got somebody at home 
It’s been a long night here, and a long night there
And these long long legs are damn near everywhere
(hold up now) You look good, I will not lie
But if you ask where I’m staying tonight
I gotta be like ah, baby, nah, baby, you got me all wrong, baby
My baby’s already got all of my love
So nah nah honey I’m good
I could have another but I probably should not
I got somebody at home, and if I stay I might not leave alone
No, honey, I’m good.  I could have another but I probably should not
I gotta bid you adieu to another I will stay true (ooh ooh I will stay true)images
Now better men, than me have failed, drinking from that unholy grail
I got her, and she got me, and you’ve got that ass, but I kindly
Gotta be like ah, baby, nah, baby, you got me all wrong, baby
My baby’s already got all of my love. So nah nah honey, I’m good…..

 

 

I love the a capella introduction with nothing but vocals and handclaps. For a simplistic :tongue-in-cheek “throwaway” song, it’s lasted quite nicely for the past three years, It’s a definite dance-floor filler. Check it out and leave me a comment.

Sugar-Maroon 5

This delicious song,  as smooth as a slice of wedding cheesecake,  has already become a “contemporary classic” for weddings.  It’s relentlessly catchy and upbeat, and the rhythm begs you to get up and start dancing.  And though the lyrics are a bit plaintive, the effect is wedding-joyful and entirely happy.  As Adam Levine and Maroon 5 visit “every wedding in LA today”, (Adam announces that intention before they start piling into the car) it may, for some, set up the expectation that Adam Levine and Maroon 5 will show up with us at your wedding. Gotta be honest; I actually haven’t heard from him in a long time! Still, it’s simply the perfect dance song, especially for weddings. The song has amazing harmonies, as well as an incredibly strong Chorus that’s sung by the whole band in unison, making it that much more powerful.
The video is genuinely fun, as the band actually shows up, unexpectedly, at random weddings. What could be better for those of us who do this for a living? Thanks to Adam and the boys.

Here are the lyrics to sing along:
I’m hurting, baby, I’m broken down
I need your loving, loving I need it now
When I’m without you I’m something weak
You got me begging, begging I’m on my knees

I don’t wanna be needing your love
I just wanna be deep in your love
And it’s killing me when you’re away, (ooh, baby)
‘Cause I really don’t care where you are
I just wanna be there where you are
And I gotta get one little taste
Your sugar, Yes, please. Won’t you come and put it down on me?
I’m right here, ’cause I need a little love, a little sympathy
Yeah, you show me good loving, make it alright need a little sweetness in my life
Your sugar, yes, please. won’t you come and put it down on me?

My broken pieces, you pick them up
Don’t leave me hanging, hanging,come give me some
When I’m without ya, so insecure
You are the one thing, one thing I’m living for

maroon 5

Sugar!  It’s just a fantastic dance song. What a great, truly gratifying song for those of us whose do this for a living. Thanks for the tuxedoed homage, fellas.

Leave a comment to let me know what you think of this song for your wedding !

Shoop-Salt-N-Pepa

“Shoop” by Salt-N-Pepa was a #1 hit in 1993. Salt-N-Pepa was one of the first successful female rap groups. Cheryl James (“Salt”), Sandra Denton (“Pepa”) and Deidra Roper (“DJ Spinderella”) created a truly unique sound. Their songs combined a danceable, infectious groove accompanying quasi-R-rated lyrics. Consider the fact that two of their other most popular songs are “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “Push It.”

Not being a rap aficionado, I can only guess that the sexually-tinged lyrics were their female response to the often misogynistic lyrics of early male rap groups. Other “Girl Groups” that emerged out of the same period were TLC, En Vogue, The Spice Girls, and Destiny’s Child, whose lead singer, Beyonce Knowles, went solo, dropped her last name…and the rest is history.

But, back to Salt-N-Pepa. Here are some of “Shoop’s” lyrics. The song is a must dance/guaranteed crowd-pleaser that every woman in the room will magically know the words to. *Special thanks to one of my favorite brides, Maggie, who reintroduced me to the song last May.

Here I go, here I go, here I go again (again)
Girls, what’s my weakness? (Men!)
Ok then, chillin’, chillin’
Mindin’ my business (word)
Yo, Salt, I looked around, and I couldn’t believe this
I swear, I stared, my niece my witness
The brother had it goin’ on with somethin’ kinda, uh
Wicked, wicked (ooh) had to kick it
I’m not shy so I asked for the digits
A ho? No, that don’t make me
See what I want slip slide to it swifty
Felt it in my hips so I dipped back to my bag of tricks
Then I flipped for a tip, make me wanna do tricks for him…

salt n pepa

I’d love to know what you think.
-Doug

You Are The Best Thing

Any list of First Dances would be sorely lacking were it not to include “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. It’s certainly one of the most frequently requested songs. LaMontagne has the kind of soulful growl reminiscent of Joe Cocker or Van Morrison. The horns,  as well as the “Ray Charles” backup singers, certainly add to the purposeful vintage feel. The lyrics are incredibly simple, universal, and perfect for your first dance together as husband & wife,  “You are the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Baby, it’s been a long day, 
Baby, things ain’t been going my way and now I need you here
To clear my mind all the time
And baby the way you move me, it’s crazy
It’s like you see right through me and make it easier
Believe me, you don’t even have to try
Oh, because, you are the best thing (you’re the best thing)
You are the best thing (you’re the best thing, baby)
You are the best thing (you’re the best thing, ooh) that ever happened to me.
imgres-1

Fun fact: With the exception of separating the word “you’re” to ” you are,”  LaMontagne appears to have borrowed the title from Gladys Knight & The Pips 1973 hit“You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me.”
They’re both great songs, and keep watching for a blog post on the Gladys Knight’s song very soon.
Let me know what you think.
-Doug

100% Pure Love-Crystal Waters

Crystal Waters’ 1994 100% Pure Love is a tried-and-true certified dance hit.
The song establishes its strong dance beat from the very first note…using the unique combination of a lone cowbell and syncopated synthesizer patch. Those initial four bars are then joined by the kick drum for the second four bars…ending with a “stop-time hit” right before the first lyrics come in.
This song, like so many of the others on this blog, is here because of the simplicity of the oft-repeated chorus. I’ve always said that  guests will dance to songs they recognize and more importantly, sing along to. Without knowing a single lyric of the verses, everyone can jump in on…“From the back to the middle and round again…”
My personal favorite part of the song is the “stop-time” a cappella vocal section right when you think the song is becoming too repetitive. Here are the lyrics to the first verse and the chorus, followed by the “stop-time” section. Enjoy!

It’s 12 past midnight, don’t close your eyes
Your soul’s half alive, and I’ll be by your side
I’ve come to take you there, show you how to care
Just be aware, that you’ll have to share
I want your love, I want it tonight
I’m taking your heart, so don’t you fight
I’ll be your answer, I’ll be your wish.
I’ll be your fantasy, your favorite dish.
CHORUS
From the back to the middle and around again
I’m gonna be there til the end, 100% pure love (2xs).

[STOP TIME – After the 2nd VERSE & CHORUS]
You’ll never have to run away
You’ll always have a friend to play
You’ll never go out on your own
In me you will find a home, home

Crystal Waters

Fun Fact #1: Crystal Waters‘ great aunt was the amazing early 20th century African American vocalist, Ethel Waters, who was breaking new racial ground along with other iconic singers Bessie Smith, Lena Horne and Josephine Baker.
Fun Fact #2
: Listen carefully to the bass. It contains a grand total of four ascending notes from the beginning to the end. #Simplicity.
Let me know what you think.
-Doug

You Make My Dreams Come True

“You Make My Dreams Come True” is pretty much the 1980s Philadelphia-based band Hall & Oates’s most recognizable hit. I couldn’t resist putting the scene from the Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie “500 Days Of Summer” on this post, because they use “You Make My Dreams Come True” to represent the lead character’s ultimate “feel good” song.

I’ve always loved the funky piano intro that sounds almost off-beat until the down-beat lands right as the vocals come in. Actually, it’s precisely that piano introduction that makes the song feel so familiar. It’s such a great 80s-90s dance tune. Trust me, the dance floor will be packed by the time the first verse begins.
When the upbeat lyrics start, that first verse has that same kind of “jangly” feel, with the syllables of those lyrics not really arriving precisely when and where you would expect them. It was unique in 1980, and is just as fresh today…to which the hit 2009 movie will attest.

What I want, you’ve got, and it might be hard to handle
But like the flame that burns the candle
The candle feeds the flame, yeah yeah
What I’ve got’s full stock of thoughts and dreams that scatter
You pull them all together, and how, I can’t explain,
Oh yeah, well well you. You make my dreams come true
Well well you, oh yeah. You make my dreams come true

Their style became known as “blue-eyed soul” because their songs were so strongly influenced by more traditional “soul” music. Some of their other most popular songs include “Sara Smile,” “Man Eater,” and “Rich Girl.”  Hall lives up in the Hudson Valley, two hours north of NYC, and I’m not sure where Oates resides, but their hybrid rock-soul imprint seems to stay with me (at least) forever.

Hall & Oates

Daryl Hall’s the one on the left, John Oates is on the right. Their success has been celebrated by being inducted in to the “Songwriters Hall of Fame” in 2003, and the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” in 2014.
Check it out and let me know what you think.
-Doug 

 

Everything-Mary J Blige

Aside from Mary J Blige‘s spectacular voice, I love how she pays homage to one of my favorite 70s classics, “You Are Everything” by The Spinners. The music on the choruses is lifted directly for The Spinners’ “You Are Everything.
The simple phrase “You are everything, and everything is you” appears in both versions. Those seven words say everything that needs to be said in a first dance. I’ll include the original 1975 version on the bottom of this post, so you can see how Mary J made it her own.

You take me away from the pain, and you bring me paradise
And when there were cloudy days you brought sunshine in my life
It never occurred to me the first time I saw your face
I would fall so deep in love that your love can’t be replaced

You are my everything
Love so good, only you can bring
You are my everything
You are everything, and everything is you
What makes this arrangement so special to me are the ever-present background singers, allowing Mary J to “vocalize.”

Unknown-1

Here’s the original version by The Spinners:

I’d love to hear your thoughts.
-Doug