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Monday, July 12, 2010

#42: The Perfect Playlist (part 1): Songs for head bopping and munching

When I first began brainstorming for songs to play during our BBQ wedding lunch (I'm talkin' meal time, not boogie time), my mind immediately went to charming and laid back jazzy, indie, or folky tunes from my personal CD collection. But that's not quite Brian's style. And upon second thought I realized that our party would need music that is a little more upbeat, edgy, peppy, and appropriate for hot dogs and ice cream cake. 

Being a brave bride means making choices that reflect the tastes of the bride and groom, yet don't  abandon the needs of the larger group. Choosing music for your wedding is the perfect opportunity to exercise the courage to balance self-expression and selflessness.

So. Our strategy? Play Top 40 hits that we (and ALL generations of our guests) know and enjoy.

Here are the categories and corresponding songs that we came up with:

Oldies (In other words, tunes from before Brian and I were born in 1980)

ABC (Jackson 5)
I Want to Hold Your Hand (The Beatles)
Sweet Home Alabama (Lynryd Skynryd)
Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
I Got You Babe (Sonny & Cher)
Don't stop believing (Journey)
More Than A Feeling (Boston)
Hotel California (Eagles)
Taking It To The Streets (Doobie Brothers)
I want you back (Jackson 5)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
Don't Go Breaking My Heart (Elton John & Kiki Dee)
You Can't Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones)
Come Sail Away (Styx)
Ooh Child (The Five Stairsteps)
Let's Stay Together (Al Green)
Hey Jude (The Beatles)

Music from our generation (80's and onward):

Livin On A Prayer (Bon Jovi)
Free Falling (Tom Petty)
Love Shack (B-52's)
Hard to Handle (Black Crows)
99 red balloons (Nena)
Paradise City (Guns 'n Roses)
Like A Prayer (Madonna)
Bloody Sunday (U2)
Simply Irresistible  (Robert Palmer)
Summer of 69 (Bryan Adams)
Just To Be With You (Mr. Big)
Love is a Battlefield (Pat Benatar)
These Dreams (Heart)
All Through The Night (Cyndi Lauper)
Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
Uptown Girl (Billie Joel)
Black Or White (Michael Jackson)
Walk This Way (Aerosmith & Run DMC)
Since You've Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson)
In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel)
Take On Me (A-Ha)
You Can't Hurry Love – (Phil Collins)
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (Wham!)
Hazy Shade Of Winter (The Bangles)

Brian isn't always a Top 40 kind of dude, so just outside the barn reception in the tented lounge area created for the beer drinking non-dancers (his pet project), the music is ALL HIM. This means non-stop modern rock by: Fall Out Boy, Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, and his personal favorite, Coheed & Cambria, among others.

I realize that the above playlist is a hodge podge of musical genres, so the key is to play them in a way that makes sense. This is as important as planning a meal; you don't serve a warm brownie a la mode as an appetizer, followed by a sizzling jumbo steak fajita with a side of shrimp lo mein. All three of those are delightfully yummy things that are very near and dear to my heart. But together and in that order? Well, you'll have all the right ingredients but the flavors will go unappreciated.

So if you know what's good for you, please read the SUPER HELPFUL how-to guide for arranging your playlist (and DJing your wedding with an iPod!) over at A Practical Wedding.


  1. Those are some great tunes! I definitely agree. Isaiah and I are music snobs to the max and we have to sacrifice some of those "loves" because people only ever dance to songs they know. I think your tunes will be great for the day!

  2. I am the person who music snobs hate!! I love top 40 and any kind of dancy pop (no matter how crappy). Not really the kind of music I go out and purchase, and not the kind of music I write, but my musical roots are in pop radio.

    But I have to draw the line at some point: No electric slide, chicken dance, the twist, or any other 1950's throwback tune!

  3. Oh yes, The Bangles. I have been secretly longing for another all-girl band to emerge, but alas, all I find are female vocalists backed by a group of dudes who do the actual instrument playing. (Sigh.)

  4. OMG, I am so you in my music taste, and I date one of the snobbiest of the music snobs. It's very interesting--I mock his elitism, and he cringes when a mix CD by me goes in, pronouncing it "too dance-y". (Like there IS such a thing!).

  5. See, Frank Sinatra is the one I'd be banning.

    I'd also suggest:

    Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen
    The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
    Yazoo - Only You
    Roxy Music - Same Old Scene
    Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
    Just about anything by Bowie


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