wedding first dances

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.

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Leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Inseparable-Natalie Cole

From the same debut album that brought us the powerhouse love song ,”This Will Be”, comes this extraordinary gem. In these two songs, Natalie Cole shows us the full range of her astonishing vocal technique. “This Will Be” requires a full-out belting voice, with no stops. “Inseparable” is the opposite, showing a far softer side to Natalie Cole in a far more traditional love song. “Inseparable” is a very clear statement of a woman’s love for her man. The form is very interesting in that there is no repetitive chorus to which a voice can anchor the song. No verse or chorus is ever repeated. It is a simple, elegant, poignant and incredibly touching song. And an absolutely irresistible First Dance.

Inseparable, that’s how we’ll always be
Inseparable, just you and me
It’s so wonderful to know you’ll always be around me
Incredible, what you are to me
Incredible, you bring out the woman in me
With your style of love, inseparable, yes we are
We’re like a flower to a tree, like words to a melody of love
There’s no way we could break up, no words that could make us blow our thing
We are just, inseparable
That’s how it is, inseparable
For the rest of our years, it’s so wonderful
To know you’ll always be around.

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Tragically, Ms. Cole died on New Year’s Eve, 2015 at 65 years of age.
Check it out and let me know what you think.  Leave a comment.

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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Through The Fire-Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan’s voice is one of the great artistic treasures in the world of pop music. Right up there in the pantheon with artists like “The Queen”,  Aretha Franklin.  She has the astonishing ability to harness her powerful voice until just the right dramatic moment, and then she lets it go. Get ready. “Through The Fire” is a truly great song. It’s on Chaka’s album“I Feel For You.” and holds its own against that iconic title track.
“Through The Fire” gives Chaka a chance to show off her softer side, and succeeds regally. This is a wonderful, and unexpected,  choice for a first dance. I only got the chance to use it once, It was for an amazing young couple whom I got to knew well.  In addition to playing for their wedding, the couple was regular annual attendees at the Fall Fresh Air Fund Gala held at the Armory on Park Avenue in Manhattan. The space held well over a thousand guests, and we would always have hundreds of people up dancing. Every year, either I’d spot them, or they would come say hello, and the band knew that we’d be playing “Through The Fire” the first time there was a chance to squeeze in a ballad. It’s really one of the “greatest” first dances.

Check out these lyrics:
I look in your eyes and I can see we’ve loved so dangerously
You’re not trusting your heart to anyone
You tell me you’re gonna play it smart
We’re through before we start
But I believe that we’ve only just begun

When it’s this good, there’s no saying no
I want you so, I’m ready to go
Through the fire, to the limit, to the wall
For a chance to be with you, I’d gladly risk it all
Through the fire, through whatever, come what may
For a chance at loving you I’d take it all the way
Right down to the wire, even through the fire

I know you’re afraid of what you feel, you still need time to heal
And I can help if you’ll only let me try
You touched me and something in me knew,what I could have with you
Now I’m not ready to kiss that dream goodbye
When it’s this sweet, there’s no saying no
I need you so, I’m ready to go

Through the fire, to the limit, to the wall
For a chance to be with you I’d gladly risk it all
Through the fire, through whatever, come what may
For a chance at loving you I’d take it all the way
Right down to the wire, even through the fire

I can’t suggest a better First Dance song than living-legend Chaka Khan’s incredible power-ballad “Through The Fire.”
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

 

 

I Love You Always Forever-Jukebox The Ghost

As is the case with so many of the posts on this blog, I was introduced to this arrangement of 1996 Donna Lewis song I Love You Always Forever by the bride and groom themselves. The band is one I had never heard of, Jukebox The Ghost. The very first time I heard this song, I just loved it. The lyrics are spectacularly perfect for a first dance. I love the way it starts with just a cappella voices, then slowly brings the other instruments in, especially the drums. If you want a first dance with a bit of a beat to it, this one deserves serious attention. Check out these lyrics:

Feels like I’m standing in a timeless dream of light mists
Of pale amber rose
Feels like I’m lost in a deep cloud of heavenly scent touching
Discovering you.

Those days of warm rains come rushing back to me
Miles of windless summer night air
Secret moments shared in the heat of the afternoon
Out of the stillness,soft spoken words
I love you always forever. Near and far closer together
Everywhere I will be with you. Everything I will do for you

You’ve got the most unbelievable blue eyes I’ve ever seen
You’ve got me almost melting away
As we lay there under blue sky with pure white stars
Exotic sweetness a magical time.
I love you always forever. Near and far closer together……

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I love the way the arrangement build until the final repeated phrase:
Say you’ll love love me forever. Never stop, never whatever
Near and far and always. And everywhere and everything

This is a terrific, totally upbeat, first dance.
Let me know what you think. Please leave a comment.

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.”

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Here’s the original version by The Spinners:

I’d love to hear your thoughts.
-Doug

Marry Me-Train

If there ever was a perfectly written First Dance for a wedding, this might be it. (My wife cried when she first heard it). The lyrics are gentle and tender, they’re almost poetic. They feel like handwritten wedding vows set to music. The lovely choice of a simple solo rolling acoustic guitar, only to be joined by a soft flute line in the background makes the song that much more personal and touching. The one lyric that makes it the perfect first dance has got to be: “You wear white and I’ll wear out the words I love you…and you’re beautiful”

Together can never be close enough for me, feel like I am close enough to you
You wear white and I’ll wear out the words I love you…and you’re beautiful
Now that the wait is over and love and has finally shown her my way
Marry me…

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“Marry Me,” if only for the title, should definitely be considered, when thinking about your first dance.
What do you think?
-Doug

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

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

You’re The Best Thing-Gladys Knight

OK, guys, we’re going truly “old school,” way back to 1974. “Gladys Knight & The Pips” were always considered the “class” of the disco era. Try to ignore the bell-bottoms, and classic Motown moves of “The Pips,” and listen to the lyrics of this gem. Plus, seriously can you beat those classic Motown horns? Gladys Knight is, and will always be, one of the iconic female vocalists of the 20th century.

Truth be told, it’s one of my favorite songs ever recorded. Check out these heartfelt lyrics, sung by the amazing Glady;s Knight & The Pips.One thing’s for sure, you’re not going to hear this at your friend’s wedding. Hopefully we’re going into uncharted territory with this list. It’s definitely worth going back to the 70s to find this gem.

“I’ve had my share of life’s ups and downs, but fate’s been kind, the downs have been few
I guess you could say that I’ve been lucky
Well I guess you could say that it’s all because of you.

if anyone should ever write my life story, for whatever reason there might be
You’ll be there between each line of pain and glory,
‘Cause you’re the best thing that ever happened to me

You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.

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Let me know what you think.
-Doug