first dance songs

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You

Long before “Jersey Boys” I loved this song. The lyrics are perfect for a first dance. If you have a really good horn section in your band you’re all set. What is interesting is the famously huge orchestra Frankie Valli used, but there are no background vocals, making it that much more powerful. The “chorus” to the song is one of the most memorable ever recorded. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t know when to come in and belt “I love you baby…”

Check out these lyrics. They’re flawless.

You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you
You feel like heaven to touch, I wanna hold you so much 
At long last love has arrived, and I thank God I’m alive
You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you
Pardon the way that I stare, there’s nothing else to compare
The sight of you makes me weak, there are no words left to speak
So if you feel like I feel, please let me know that it’s real
You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you
I love you, baby and if it’s quite alright I need you, baby to warm the lonely nights
I love you, baby, trust in me when I say: Oh, pretty baby, don’t bring me down I pray
Oh, pretty baby, now that I’ve found you stay. Let me love you, baby, let me love you

C’mon, it doesn’t get any better than that. Through in a killer horn section, and you are in heaven. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”  is my number one First Dance suggestion.


Leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Feels Like Home-Chantal Kreviazuk

On a list of “Top 10” wedding first dances, Randy Newman’s “Feels Like Home”  would definitely make the cut. Just read the lyrics. The most poignant line for me is “It feels like I’m all the way back where I belong.”  Here’s my personal opinion, without getting too corny about it: people should wait to get married until they truly feel that they have found the one person who makes them feel that they truly belong.  It’s definitely a good place to start, right? And this song is simply a beautiful valentine.

Somethin’ in your eyes makes me wanna lose myself
Makes me wanna lose myself in your arms
There’s somethin’ in your voice makes my heart beat fast
Hope this feeling lasts the rest of my life
If you knew how lonely my life has been
And how long I’ve been so alone
And if you knew how I wanted someone to come along
And change my life the way you’ve done
It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
It feels like I’m all the way back where I come from
It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
It feels like I’m all the way back where I belong

“Feels Like Home” was written by esteemed film composer Randy Newman in 1995. It was covered by Linda Ronstadt, Sheryl Crow, Chantal Kreviazuk, as well as The Backstreet Boys. It is simply a beautiful song.

Randy Newman

Musically, I love the way the song is arranged so the repeated chorus at the end starts to feel like a gospel choir. I’ve used this song many, many times, and it brings out the tears (in the best possible way) every time. Leave a message and let me know what you think.

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.

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.

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.”


Here’s the original version by The Spinners:

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher

Quite simply, this is a classic. The bass line is the thing that grabs you first, which is fairly unique. Usually it’s a guitar groove, or a distinctive piano line, that first catches your attention. I have put this great Jackie Wilson song in four blog categories.
1. 60s & 70s: Released in 1967, it feels like classic Motown, even though it was recorded on Chess Records. The beat, starting with that forceful bass line, is completely infectious….making it a great dance tune.
2. Introduction Music: What makes this such a good song to introduce the bridal party into the reception is that same fun beat, as well as the fact that the music is very repetitive. That makes it easy to lower (when announcing the next couple) then crank back up again.
3. Recessionals: I always feel that Recessionals should be fun, without going too far off the grid. But a song whose opening lyric is “Your love keeps lifting me higher, than I’ve ever been lifted before” is a no-brainer.
4. First Dance: The lyrics and the song’s beat are so uplifting that this is a perfect first dance for brides and grooms who are willing to have a little fun with their special “first” song as a married couple.


What do you think?

Betcha By Golly Wow-The Stylistics

“Betcha By Golly Wow” might be the strangest title for a song in the history of music. But for some strange reason, it works. The melody is so strong and the lyrics are so sweet and romantic that it’s easy to disregard the inanity of the title phrase.

There’s a spark of magic in your eyes. Candyland appears each time you smile.
Never thought that fairy tales came true. But they come true, when I’m near you.
You’re a genie i disguise, full of wonder and surprise, and…
Betcha by golly wow, You’re the one that I’ve been waiting for forever
And ever will my love for you keep growing strong, keep growing strong

If I could I’d catch a falling star to shine on you so I’d know where you are
Order rainbows in your favorite shade to show I love you, thinking of you
Write your name across the sky, anything you ask I’ll try, cause,..
Betcha by golly wow. You’re the one that I’ve been waiting for forever
And ever will my love for you keep growing strong, keep growing strong


“Betcha By Golly Wow,” written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed, and recorded by The Stylistics in 1971, has stood the test of time.  I still think it sounds fresh, and would make a spectacular, unexpected choice for your First Dance. The very first line “There’s a spark of magic in your eyes.” says it all.

Give it a listen, and let me know what you think.


Brighter Than Sunshine-Aqualung

I first heard the song “Brighter Than Sunshine” in the 2005 movie “A Lot Like Love” starring Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet. It’s a fairly formulaic romantic comedy, but the song adds so much to the mood and feel to the movie, that the song lives once you forget about the movie. The lyrics to the song are beautiful, and perfect for a First Dance.

What a feeling in my soul
Love burns brighter than sunshine
Brighter than sunshine
Let the rain fall, I don’t care
I’m yours and suddenly you’re mine
Suddenly you’re mine
And it’s brighter than sunshine


The song was written and performed by British singer/songwriter Matt Hales who recorded under the name “Aqualung.” As you’ll discover, many of my suggestions for processionals, recessionals and first dances are found on movie soundtracks.

Let me know what you think.

When You Need Me-Bruce Springsteen

“When You Need Me” by Bruce Springsteen is a terrific choice for your first dance. The song is quite simple, and elegantly short. Most songs just fade out, but this one is simple and has a definitive beginning, middle, solo and a short ending verse.

When you need me call my name
‘Cause without you my life just wouldn’t be the same
If you want me come sunny skies or rain
When you need me just call my name

If you miss me, I’ll be there
To brush the sunlight from your hair
I’ll be there to guide you when trouble walks beside you

If you need me I’ll be there
And when this dirty world has been cold to you
I got two strong arms waitin’ to hold you
And when those mean days come along
We’ll stand together and we’ll take ’em on
So if you need me just call my name


Poignant, elegant and straight-talking defines the man known simply as “The Boss.”
Let me know what you all think.

Say Hey-Michael Franti

Here’s yet another example of a song, as well as performer that I had never heard of before it was requested by the bridal couple. What a great song! No deep hidden meaning…just a great upbeat dance beat and incredibly simple sing-along lyrics.

Check out the lyrics:
This one goes out to you and yours, worldwide…

I say, hey, I be gone today but I be back around the way
Seems like everywhere I go, the more I see, the less I know
But I know one thing that I love you, baby girl
I love you, I love you, I love you

I’ve been a lot of places all around the way
I’ve seen a lot of joy, and I’ve seen a lot of pain
But I don’t want to write a love song for the world
I just want to write a song about a boy and a girl

I say, hey, I be gone today but I be back around the way
Seems like everywhere I go, the more I see, the less I know
But I know one thing that I love you, baby girl
I love you, I love you, I love you.

michael franti

Used as a Recessional,  it sends your guests, relaxed and dancing their way into the Cocktail Hour to get that all important first drink. But used as a First Dance, it announces to your guests that you are ready, willing and delighted to set the stage for a truly great party.

As with so many of the songs we play, “Say Hey” by Michael Franti & Spearhead was a song request made by one of our bridal couples…allowing me to pass it on to you. Start dancing!

Let me know what you think.