dance songs for weddings

Sweet Caroline-Neil Diamond

“Sweet Caroline” is one of the most interesting “rock-ish” tune in our repertoire. It’s not a great song, but it is astonishingly memorable. It is so universally adored that I’ve never played “Sweet Caroline” when it wasn’t one of the biggest hits of the party. It also seems to be ageless, and genre-less. Everybody knows it, and everybody feels totally comfortable belting out the lyrics with our singers. That is a rather unique response to a very average song. A lot of people know some words to most tunes. But, with “Sweet Caroline” it is not uncommon to have the whole party singing with their arms around each other.

The most interesting element of the song, if you listen carefully, is the orchestration. The opening melodies are played by a French horn, followed by an oboe. When the famous “hands….” portions starts, it’s accompanied by shimmering strings, followed with a full horn section. All in all, it’s simply a remarkably famous song that people love to sing with, rather than dance to. But, as long as people are having fun, it’s all good. Here are the lyrics, which according to YouTube, was dedicated to President John Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline.

Where it began, I can’t begin to knowin’
But then I know it’s growing strong
Was in the spring, and spring became the summer
Who’d have believed you’d come along
Hands, touching hands
Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Sweet Caroline, good times never seemed so good
I’d be inclined, to believe they never would
But now I…
Look at the night and it don’t seem so lonely
We filled it up with only two
And when I hurt, hurtin’ runs off my shoulders
How can I hurt when I’m holding you
One, touching one. Reaching out, touching me, touching you
Sweet Caroline……….

Cheerleader-OMI

“Cheerleader” is a terrific Calypso-style song by the artist  Omar Samuel Pasley, whose nickname is Omi. Te song always manages to get people up dancing at every party, and makes my trumpet player extremely happy. It’s actually rare to hear a solo trumpet part running throughout an entire song. It’s a very simple song, relying almost exclusively on it’s percussion-infused Caribbean beat. Most guests are unsure exactly how to dance to “Cheerleader,” but it’s hard to hear it, and not at least be captured by its infectious groove.

The lyrics, unsurprisingly, are trite, and more than a little bit objectifying of woman. But like so many dance songs on this blog, the lyrics are fairly inconsequential. They become a lot more obvious and sexist when you watch the video. But what the hell. It’s really a fun song to play, and gratifying to watch people enjoy dancing to. Here are some of the lyrics.

When I need motivation
My one solution is my queen
‘Cause she stays strong, yeah yeah

She is always in my corner
Right there when I want her
All these other girls are tempting
But I’m empty when you’re gone
And they say, do you need me?
Do you think I’m pretty?
Do I make you feel like cheating?
I’m like no, not really ’cause
Oh, I think that I’ve found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her
Oh, I think that I’ve found myself a cheerleader
She is always right there when I need her

She walks like a model, she grants my wishes
Like a genie in a bottle. Yeah, yeah
‘Cause I’m the wizard of love
And I got the magic wand
All these other girls are tempting
But I’m empty when you’re gone.

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“Cheerleader” really is a fun dance song. Get up and dance.
Leave a comment to let me know how you feel.

I’ll Always Love My Mama

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.  This song is  truly terrific  vintage disco. An undeniable classic. It’s timeless (and it still really works to get people dancing) but something about it whispers “last century”,  which makes it quite charming. Actually, it was released in 1973, when the song was introduced to the country by the late, great Don Cornelius featured on his iconic TV show “Soul Train.” The Intruders were one of hundreds of bands that flourished during the disco era, but this one stands the test of time.

And, as opposed to a lot of dance songs, this one has lyrics that not only make sense, but are sort of loving and poignant.

Check out these lyrics:

I’ll always love my mama, she’s my favorite girl
I’ll always love my mama, she brought me in this world

Sometimes I feel so bad, when I think of all the things I used to do
How mama used to clean somebody elses house
Just to buy me a new pair of shoes

I never understood how mama made it through the week
When she never ever got a good night’s sleep
Talking ’bout mama, she’s one of a kind
Talking ’bout mama, you’ve got your yours, and I’ve got mine
Talking ’bout mama, hey mama, hey mama, my heart belongs to you

A mother’s love is so special, it’s something that you can’t describe
It’s the kind of love that stays with you until the day you die
She taught me little things like “Say Hello and Thank you, please”
While scrubbing those floors on her bended knees.

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C’mon, those are some darn good lyrics.She taught me little things like ‘Say Hello’ and ‘Thank you, please’
While scrubbing those floors on her bended knees.”

Although my mother has passed on, I’ll always love my mama. Happy Mother’s Day to one and all!

Moves Like Jagger-Maroon 5

Moves Like Jagger is one of our “go-to” dance hits since it debuted five years ago, in 2011.  I just love this song. It’s got the synthesized whistling and a GREAT guitar groove. And Christina Aguilera!  I really can’t say enough about my appreciation of Adam Levine as a vocalist, as a performer, and most importantly, as a band member. I can’t name a single member of Maroon 5 with the exception of Levine who has enjoyed “rock star” status as a solo artist, like the rest of his “judges” on “The Voice.” 

I’m pretty sure no one can name any other member of the band either. Diana Ross left the Supremes, Michael left The Jackson 5, Beyonce left Destiny’s Child, Lionel Richie left The Commodores, you get the pointThis is a logical progression for lead vocalists. I find it fascinating and incredibly loyal of Mr, Levine to keep the same band members who have been with him since high school. That’s rare.

There are barely any background harmonies. Maroon 5 is the Adam Levine show. But, as I said above, it speaks volumes about Mr. Levine, he has stayed true to his school, with guitarist Jesse Charmicael and bassist Mickey Madden. from that original group. The only member of the original four piece high school “garage band” not currently with the band is the drummer Ryan Dusick, who had to leave because of wrist and shoulder problems. They replaced Dusick, and have remained together as a group since 1994, 15 years before Moves Like Jagger. I’ve long admired Maroon 5 as a band. I used to see them as the “opening act” for John Mayer every year. That shows you how hard it is to maintain not only getting to the top, but staying there. I want to praise Mr. Levine for his talent and loyalty, and I eagerly await their next album

But for now, the band’s two biggest hits have been Sugar and Moves Like Jagger. The official video released with this song is too embarrassing to put up. Trust me. It’s a bunch of people essentially doing the “chicken dance” doing terrible imitations of Mick Jagger.  To me, it just seems like a song about “feeling cool”.Here are some of the lyrics to Moves Like Jagger.  

Just shoot for the stars if it feels right and aim for my heart if you feel like it
Take me away and make it okay, I swear I’ll behave
You wanted control so we waited, I put on a show now we’re naked
You say I’m a kid my ego is big, I don’t give a shit and it goes like this
Take me by the tongue and I’ll know you
Kiss me ’til you’re drunk and I’ll show you all the moves like Jagger
I’ve got the moves like Jagger 
I’ve got the moves like Jagger
I don’t need to try to control you
Look into my eyes and I’ll own you with them moves like Jagger
I’ve got the moves like Jagger. 
I’ve got the moves like Jagger
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.

Whatta Man-Salt ‘n Pepa

“Whatta Man” by Salt ‘n Pepa has always been one of my favorite rap songs. In Chris Rock’s movie “Top Five”  the Top 5 of the title has to do with people’s list of the Top 5 rappers of all time. Rosario Dawson’s character mentions Salt ‘n Pepa as one of her Top 5.

This is just a great groove. There are literally only two chords, Gminor to CMajor. But the guitar groove sets a really funky beat to rap over. I hate to admit it, but it’s always been one of my favorite rap songs because I can actually understand the lyrics. Plus it’s got the classic lyric:
My man is smooth like Barry (White), and his voice got bass. A body like Arnold with a Denzel face.

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Long live queens of the 90s R ‘n B…Salt (Sandra Denton)  ‘n Pepa (Cheryl James.)

Leave a comment to let me know how you feel about my girls.

I Don’t Like It, I Love It-Flo Rida

“I Don’t Like It, I Love It” by Flo Rida, along with Robin Thicke & Verdine White, is such a great dance song to play during a contemporary dance set. The beat completely drives this fabulous song.  Robin Thicke sounds terrific. Flo Rida’s bit of hip hop/rap juxtaposed with Robin Thicke’s lush sound JUST works. The whistle is clearly reminiscent of Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger. I truly love that they honor Verdine White, the longstanding bass player for Earth Wind & Fire. The song hits the ground running, with a solo Latin guitar, building to a full rhythm including the whistling.
The “four on the floor” kick drum gives the song its strong danceability. Its popularity allows guests to sing along with the easy-to-learn “I don’t like it…” lyrics. It’s really a perfect dance song that’s guaranteed to keep the dance floor packed. The beauty of this song is that it is exactly what it is, a classic dance hit. Mission accomplished.
It truly does get guests flooding the dance floor at every party, wedding or corporate event.

Check out the lyrics:
I don’t like it, I love it, love it, love it, uh oh, so good it hurts
I don’t want it, I gotta, gotta have it, uh oh
When I can’t find the words, I just go, [Whistling/melody]
I don’t like it, no, I love it [Whistling/melody]
I don’t like it, no, I love it
Rap:
All out, turn the beat up, Hey now I’m glad to meet ya
Turn up girl, blow the speaker
Yeah up, think about it now, blow the speaker
I’ll speak louder, let’s get wild tonight
Billionaire bottles, we just down em like
Ain’t no problem, all my roads are right. All right, all right

I don’t like it, I love it. I got another comin’ in my budget
I got a anaconda in my truck fit, don’t push it, don’t push it
Cause I’m a hit it til I jackpot, that’s right, wax on baby wax off, act right
You can put it on the black card, all night, and I’ll spend it, I’ll spend it .

Flo Rida:Robin Thicke

Great dance hit, don’t you think? Leave me a comment to let me know what you think of it,

This Will Be-Natalie Cole

Throwback Sunday….believe it or not, in 1975 the extraordinary song “This Will Be” was  released as Natalie Cole’s first single. It was an instant hit which became a long-standing dance classic.  It still elicits great response among party guests of all ages and tastes. But would you expect anything less from the daughter of one the most beloved unique vocalists of all time, Nat ‘King’ Cole?  I love the way it starts gently with a solo piano and people clapping, then slowly bringing in the rhythm section and those incredibly horns.

“This Will Be” is the very definition of a dance-fast love song, and I think it qualifies as a perfect First Dance, especially for those who would rather move around having a great time, rather than holding on to each other and swaying back and forth. The harmonies alone would make this song spectacular. But add to that, a complete orchestra behind her and half a dozen incredibly soulful backup singers. I think the first two lines reveal the song’s  decisively romantic statement. “This will be an everlasting love. This will be the one I’ve waited for.”  For you bold intrepid souls,  this is the perfect First Dance, for you bold, intrepid souls. Plus, the band loves to play it.
Check out the lyrics:

This will be an everlasting love
This will be the one I’ve waited for
This will be the first time anyone has loved me.
I’m so glad you found me in time
And I’m so glad that you recrefied my mind
This will be an everlasting love for me
Natalie Cole

Loving you is some kind of wonderful
Because you showed me just how much you care
You’ve given me the thrill of a lifetime
And made me believe you’ve got more thrills to spare, oh!

This will be an everlasting love oh, yes it will now!
You brought a lot of a sunshine in to my life
You filled me with happiness I never knew
You gave me more joy then I ever dreamed of
And no one, no one can take the place of you

Let me know what you think of this gem as truly fun First Dance.
Leave me a comment.

 

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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” is a perennial classic. It’s one of those rare can’t-miss songs for getting people up to dance and sing along with the song. Released in 1983,  it became an instant hit, and a “girl power” anthem.
As someone who has worked with Lauper on several occasions, I can tell you that she has a terrific voice, but her appeal on this early 80s hit is pure kitsch. Her clothes, her make-up, her ever-changing permed-out hair color, her entire persona — including her voice — had a refreshingly quirky edge to it.
By no coincidence the album in which this song appears is called “She’s So Unusual.” It is also her first solo album, and includes Lauper’s most adored and enduring song, “Time After Time.” Whereas “Time After Time” is a thought-provoking, important piece of pop culture, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” is simply a fun, bouncy, extremely danceable musical cupcake of a song.with no apparent reason to have become one of the most popular songs to come out of the 1980s.  Thirty-three years after its release, Cyndi Lauper’s off-beat appeal has remained as compelling now as it was in 1983.

she's so unusual
I come home in the morning light, my mother says when you gonna live your life right
Oh mother dear we’re not the fortunate ones, and girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun
The phone rings in the middle of the night, my father yells what you gonna do with your life
Oh daddy dear you know you’re still number one, but girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have
That’s all they really want. some fun
When the working day is done.
Girls – they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun

Ya see?  It’s so  bouncy, playful and like the star who sings it, irresistibly quirky. Fun Fact: Ms. Lauper’s funky, offbeat style so deeply impressed producing legend Quincy Jones, he gave her a solo in “We Are The World,” a legendary all-star benefit performance for the charity “USA for Africa” in 1985.  Even with the brilliant talent of co-soloists Michael Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and a whole slew of other A-list performers, Cyndi Lauper completely stole the show by improvising her entrance starting with an amazing gospel-tinged “Well, well, well….” If you’ve never seen it….you’ve got to find it on YouTube. She’s terrific.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.