There are websites devoted to helping couples choose their first dance song, and, in addition to the above, they suggest such romantic pieces as “When You Say Nothing At All,” “When a Man Loves a Woman” (which would need a tweak or two for same sex weddings) and “I Will Always Love You.”
Actually, I don’t think it matters what song you choose, though the research psychologist in me wonders if anyone has done a study to find out if there is any correlation between choice of song and how long the marriage lasts. But I don’t think you’d need a study to show that the choice of certain songs would not be a good start to a marriage.
I am virtually certain that no bride and groom would agree on any of the following as their first dance song, so it would require that one or the other -- typically the groom, who, according to stereotype, is far more likely to mess up the marriage with childish behavior -- let the band or DJ know on his (or her) own.
Here’s a song, very catchy, but one that should certainly not be the couple’s first song, unless, of course, they want it to be their last song. It’s the 1963 chart-topper, “If You Wanna Be Happy,” and it opens with the lines “If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife/But from my personal point of view, get an ugly woman to marry you.” By way of explanation the song includes such lines as “An ugly woman cooks her meals on time.”
Is this song politically incorrect? Oh, I don’t know; do birds have wings?
There’s a song that’s a little less destructive, but still not all that kind, and this time to the groom. It’s Rory Block’s “God’s Gift to Women,” and includes these lyrics: “I don’t want no handsome man ‘cause he won’t treat me right” and “I’d rather have a plain-looking man who’ll love me like he should.”
The message in both songs is really similar: If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, marry someone who isn’t particularly attractive. Following such an opening number with “You Are So Beautiful” or “I Only Have Eyes For You” won’t undo the damage.
But if you really want your marriage to end before it begins, then that first song should be the 1947 hit “The Too Fat Polka,” with its lines “I don’t want her, you can have her, she’s too fat for me” and “By herself she’s a group.”
No, if I were a wedding planner, I certainly wouldn’t advise any of these songs to be played at all, let alone as the couple’s first dance song. And there are other songs that are probably best avoided as well, such as the Beatles’ “Another Girl” (“I don’t want to say that I’ve been unhappy with you/But, as from today, I’ve seen somebody that’s new.”)
And then there’s the huge 1970 hit “In The Summertime” by the British band, Mungo Jerry. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with its opening, “In the summer time, when the weather is high/You can stretch right up and touch the sky.” But soon it’s “You got women, you got women on your mind.” If your bride and her family are still there after that line, I don’t think they will be when they hear “If her daddy’s rich, take her out for a meal/If her daddy’s poor just do what you feel.”