wedding bands ct

No Scrubs-TLC

The band Atlanta-based TLC is actually the best-selling “girl group” in American Pop history. According to Wikipedia, they had ten number one singles, and four multi-Platinum albums throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. The band is comprised of the three vocalists seen in video, including Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. Lopes died in a car crash in 2007. TLC is actually an anagram for “T-Boz,” “Left Eye” & “Chilli,”  My favorite of their songs is “Waterfalls,” but “No Scrubs” has a unique almost Flamenco style guitar riff running throughout. The lyrics are not very deep, and are a tad repetitive, but it really does have a nice mellow dance groove, and is very evocative of the most popular R & B music made two decades ago.

A scrub is a guy that thinks he’s fly
And is also known as a buster
Always talkin’ about what he wants
And just sits on his broke ass
So (no)
I don’t want your number (no)
I don’t want to give you mine and (no)
I don’t want to meet you nowhere (no)
I don’t want none of your time and (no)
I don’t want no scrub
A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me
Hanging out the passenger side
Of his best friend’s ride
Trying to holler at me
I don’t want no scrub
A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me
Hanging out the passenger side
Of his best friend’s ride
Trying to holler at me
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Leave a comment to let me know your thoughts or opinions.

Sway-Pussycat Dolls

I must admit that movies like “Shall We Dance,” starring Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere are right on top of my cinematic “guilty pleasures” In the same vein as Channing & Jenna DeWan’s “Step Up” and Antonio Banderas’ “Take The Lead.” Coincidentally, Jenna DeWan co-starred in “Take The Lead” as one of Antonio’s students.

The actual music in most of these “dance” movies is usually irrelevant, needing only to have a great beat to accompany the dancing. But the terrific arrangement of the song “Sway” in “Shall We Dance” stayed with me. “Sway” turned out to be a Spanish song, written by two Mexican composers and first recorded in English by Dean Martin in 1954. It’s been recorded as a jazz instrumental many times, and revived as a vocal by Michael Buble in 2003, then The Pussycat Dolls in 2004 for the movie. It’s the percussive mambo beat, and the extraordinary horn arrangement that make this the ultimate arrangement for me.

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This past weekend, we played a wedding in which we brought an additional vocalist who happened to know this exact arrangement. I wrote it out for the band and it was a huge hit. I’ll be adding more and more Spanish songs to our repertoire.

The most surprising thing is that “Sway” was sung by The Pussycat Dolls who I thought were nothing more than a sexy/beautiful Las Vegas showgirl act. It turns out that they were indeed thrown together as a tightly choreographed  “lounge act” until they started recording with A & M Records. Selling over 56 million albums from 2003-2009, they remain one of the most successful “girl-groups” of all time. Who knew?

Leave a comment to let me know how you feel about either my “guilty pleasure” dance movies, or The Pussycat Dolls.

 

 

Dancing In The Street

“Dancing In The Street” is an all-time great sixties song , recorded during the era when Motown Records owned the Pop Charts. One hit after another came out of Berry Gordy’s Detroit-based label,  which, at the beginning was simply Gordy’s own relatively small house in Detroit,  where he lived with his family on the second floor, having turned the first floor into a recording studio he called “Hitsville U.S.A.”

For a fairly long stretch, it seemed like every ‘R & B’ dance hit was written, arranged and recorded at Hitsville,  soon to become “Motown.” Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five, etc. all were introduced from this one studio on 2648 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI. It actually wasn’t until I first heard this song that I realized that Motown was short for The Motor City, because Detroit was the Car Capital of America. (Motor City = Motown.)

The most musically interesting thing about this song are the use of the horns. From the blaring opening of the song, the horn become an integral part of this perennial classic. Here’s a picture of Gordy’s original home/studio, and the lyrics to this 1964 Motown classic:

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Calling out around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street.
They’re dancing in Chicago,
Down in New Orleans,
In New York City.
All we need is music, sweet music. There’ll be music everywhere.
There’ll be swinging and swaying and records playing, dancing in the street.
Oh, it doesn’t matter what you wear just as long as you are there.
So come on, every guy, grab a girl. Everywhere around the world
They’ll be dancing. They’re dancing in the street.

It’s an invitation across the nation, a chance for folks to meet.
There’ll be laughing, singing, and music swinging, dancing in the street.
Philadelphia, P.A.
Baltimore and D.C. now.
Can’t forget the Motor City.

All we need is music, sweet music. There’ll be music everywhere……

There may be a very few fleeting moments when you might notice  “Dancing In The Street” dating itself,  and yet, most of the time, it sounds as fresh as it did when it was first released fifty-two years ago. A can’t miss dance treeasure.

Let me know what you think.

 

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Having played over 1500 weddings in over 20 years, not  a single couple  has ever had us play an uptempo dance song as a Processional. Recessionals, sure. But never for a Procession. Which is precisely why they are now officially one of my favorite couples. They asked me yesterday what I thought of using Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” as both the Full Processional and Bridal Processional.

I would have sworn that Elvis Presley had originally sung “Crazy Little Thing,,,” in the 50s or 60s, and Queen was performing it at a tribute. Even the musical arrangement sounds exactly like an Elvis recording. And that’s the reason I don’t go to Las Vegas.  It turns out the Freddie Mercury of Queen wrote it as a tribute to Elvis in 1979, who had passed away two years earlier in 1977,  

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I just keep picturing the Bridal Party, and the Bride, grooving down the aisle as the guests clap along with the sax and keyboard playing an instrumental version of this great “throwback” song. It definitely announces, straight off,  to their friends…. hat this is going to be a truly fun party.

Now I really can’t wait for their wedding in ten days. I normally print out the lyrics for dance songs, but since we’re doing it as an instrumental, the lyrics and video theatrics remain irrelevant in this case. Besides, the title of the song sort of says it all.  It’s the beat that makes “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” so special and soon-to-be-memorable as a fun and terrifically  joyful Procession.
Leave a comment to let me know what you think.

 

 

 

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

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.

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Let me know what you think.
-Doug