Does Sir Mix-a-Lot even HAVE an oeuvre?
July 31, 2017 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Without a major national election to watch, the analytical power of FiveThirtyEight has turned to The Ultimate Playlist of Banned Wedding Songs.

The winner/loser: "Chicken Dance", with 23.1 percent of wedding-throwers demanding DJs not play it even if requested. Justin Bieber gets a special award as the most-banned artist across the board, and "country" is the most-banned genre.
posted by Etrigan (100 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ha - I agree with all of the top 10. But Sir Mix-a-Lot? Hell no. Watching ALL the women, young and old, at our (lesbian) wedding shake their asses off to Baby Got Back is one of my favorite memories of the day.
posted by widdershins at 6:19 AM on July 31, 2017 [21 favorites]


Pretty sure that if your wedding prohibits "Total Eclipse of the Heart", you're not really getting married.
posted by asperity at 6:23 AM on July 31, 2017 [21 favorites]


If you’re making demands of a DJ, you don’t need to ask him or her to avoid playing Bulgarian death metal — that’s probably a given

What weddings has this writer been to?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:26 AM on July 31, 2017 [10 favorites]


Only song we had banned at our wedding was Hava Nagila. I've worked too many weddings where drunk uncles overestimated their abilities to lift chairs and dance around tables filed with glassware.
posted by cyphill at 6:27 AM on July 31, 2017 [18 favorites]


I just never understood the Chicken Dance. How did it become such a staple at wedding receptions? It's such a horror.

That said, I once attended a wedding reception where the theme song was, I kid you not, Phil Collins' In the Air Tonight. Luckily, I was sitting at a table with a couple of other attendees who also thought it was hilarious.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:35 AM on July 31, 2017 [8 favorites]


Jessie's Girl is still okay, right?
posted by um at 6:38 AM on July 31, 2017 [7 favorites]


Oh! Poor B-52s.

But really, if you're going to play some B-52s, yeah, Love Shack is kind of played out and was sort of "easy mode" B-52s to begin with. There's totally a place for them at a wedding - maybe not for the groom's dance with his mom, but once things get going, they're totally appropriate. You just need to dig into the better stuff, like Channel Z or Is That You Mo-Dean?

This may well be true for many of the other banished artists here.

Not Bieber obviously. That guy's just an asshole. Playing him would be like putting some Bill Cosby material in the best man speech.
posted by Naberius at 6:38 AM on July 31, 2017 [8 favorites]


Pretty sure that if your wedding prohibits "Total Eclipse of the Heart", you're not really getting married.

On the other hand, you're also less prone to being stabbed to death in a room full of billowing curtains. If you don't think The Humger is a love story, then you don't want to lead with "Total Eclipse of the Heart."
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:52 AM on July 31, 2017 [5 favorites]


When my sister, a high-school teacher, got married to another teacher from her school, they did not in fact, as I found out, ban their DJ from playing Van Halen's Hot for Teacher. I don't think they were paying much attention to the music either, as there never was any fallout from my request.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:56 AM on July 31, 2017 [47 favorites]


At our second wedding, we started out by dancing Leonard Cohen's Take This Waltz, which was a super classy move.

The next song was Ilya Kuryaki and the Valderramas' A mover el culo, which roughly translates to 'Now move that ass'. Which everybody did. Both sets of inlaws have yet to forgive us for it.

The DJ was a dick, though, I specifically asked him to not play the Chilean equivalent of the Chicken Dance, and he did anyway.
posted by signal at 7:01 AM on July 31, 2017 [5 favorites]


That said, I once attended a wedding reception where the theme song was, I kid you not, Phil Collins' In the Air Tonight. Luckily, I was sitting at a table with a couple of other attendees who also thought it was hilarious.

My cousin's wedding featured some really interesting music moments. During the dinner, we were all being serenaded by a string quartet, and right about time for dessert the band suddenly started playing a string arrangement of "Don't Stop Believin'". It took everyone a moment to realize that that's what they were playing, but as they figured it out, members of the bridal party all jumped up and ran over and started singing along.

During the reception, I said in passing to another cousin that I hoped that they weren't going to play "Single Ladies" for the bouquet toss or anything. "Oh, no, they're not playing that song at all," she said. Precisely one hour later....I sought that other cousin out and just stood there staring at her.

Best moment though - the entire bridal party had prearranged a couple of group-choreography things for their own amusement during the reception, and so every so often the DJ would play something (like "Cotton-Eye Joe" or whatever) and they would all run out and start A Number. I was chilling at one point with a couple from my table (a pair of guys who were a little shy about dancing), when the bridal party started another Bit - to "Paradise By The Dashboard Light." They got really into the whole "Let me sleep on it, baby let me sleep on it..." men v. women call-and-response.

I started paying attention to the lyrics, and turned to the guys - "hang on, how appropriate is this song for a wedding?" They listened too, and the three of us cracked up and would not stop laughing for the rest of the song and refused to tell anyone why.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:07 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


I've done a few weddings and some of these tracks I let the couple know I wouldn't play on general principle. Don't Stop Believing was at the top of my list, it's a TERRIBLE song and a dancefloor killer.

No one has to tell me not to play country. But no rap? Ridiculous.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:07 AM on July 31, 2017


When we hired the DJ for our reception, I said, and I quote, "No chicken dance. I don't care who requests it. No. Chicken Dance."

Guess what that asshole played.

I was against paying him.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:10 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


If I am ever fortunate enough to have a wedding, I will actually ban anything sentimental from the father-daughter dance moment because my father and I are not sentimental types. We never really got into the whole "daddy's little girl" "daddy's princess" kind of thing - I wasn't that girly. But we have a definite bond I want to acknowledge, and I know we'd both be like "well, I guess we have to do something, but we don't really dance together and never have..."

However, there are two traits I inherited from Dad - one is an appreciation for blues music, and one is the instinct to crack a joke to puncture sentimental moments. And so that is why I would ban any "Daddy's Little Girl" type of song and would instead choose something like "She Caught The Katy" or Taj Mahal's cover of "Ooh Pooh Pah Doo", because they are funky and Dad would laugh his ass off.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:11 AM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


Is this on Spotify?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:13 AM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


There are a ton of popular songs that are terrible for weddings, if you listen to the lyrics. It's up there with drunken toasts where the best man says "may every day be better than the next." Doesn't sound bad on the surface, but take a moment to think about it, and you hope it's not an omen for the couple.

Anyway, I wanna let you finish, but the best wedding song is the Monster Mash. It's about monster's enjoying each others company, and not taking yourself too seriously. Which no one would say you are, considering you have a graveyard cake (with custom bride and groom zombie topper) and an active volcano cake.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:13 AM on July 31, 2017 [7 favorites]


When my FIL got remarried, one of my wife's friends endlessly hectored the DJ about playing "careless whispers," which the DJ sadly refused.

We banned all of the top seven songs, because I hate them and I also hate fun.

Instead of banning Don't Stop Believing, I would recommend pairing it back to back with Living on a Prayer to get all of it out of your system.
posted by dismas at 7:18 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


I noticed that Led Zeppelin's "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" isn't among the top banned wedding songs... so at your next wedding, feel free to request it!

(Note: Do not do this)
posted by caution live frogs at 7:19 AM on July 31, 2017 [4 favorites]


My brother insisted on having the Chicken Dance played at his wedding (as in scheduled, not just played whenever the DJ felt like it), but we're Italian-American and I'm not sure the marriage is legal without it.

Wedding song that should be banned but instead is suggested for first dances & father/daughter dances because nobody pays attention to the damn lyrics omg: Every Breath You Take.
posted by camyram at 7:21 AM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


I don't see Warren Zevon's "Looking For The Next Best Thing":


All alone on the road to perfection
At the inspection booth they tried to discourage me
You can believe what you want--that'll never change it
You'll have to come around eventually
Looking for the next best thing
Looking for the next best thing
I appreciate the best
But I'm settling for less
'Cause I'm looking for the next best thing


I think that would be an excellent song for 2nd or 3rd weddings!
posted by thelonius at 7:23 AM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure that if your wedding prohibits "Total Eclipse of the Heart", you're not really getting married.

I don't know, I think it would be pretty tacky for a guest to request that the DJ play your first dance song again.
posted by No-sword at 7:24 AM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


On preview: Metafilter: I hate them and I also hate fun.
posted by No-sword at 7:26 AM on July 31, 2017 [14 favorites]


We didn't have a DJ or dancing at our wedding, but my husband likes to think that if we had, "our" song would've been "Smack My Bitch Up"

I like to think that it would've been "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"
posted by Lucinda at 7:26 AM on July 31, 2017 [19 favorites]


The very first wedding I ever had to be in - and it had major problems besides this - the DJ played Clarence Carter's 'Strokin''. It's not on the list because no other DJ would be that tonedeaf.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:33 AM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


We didn't have enough time before our rather thrown-together wedding to track down a version of the song I considered to be "our" song -- Oh My Goth by Razed in Black (sample lyrics: I crawl in my black box to hide / I welcome misery with pride / take turns in whipping me, I bleed / enjoy the fantasy and greed). We were, however, able to find another favorite for the dancing: Adir Adirim by Balkan Beat Box (sample translated lyrics: Praise the glorious of glorious ones, ancient, and praised is the Lord) (note: we're not religious, at all). Marriage is still going fine 11 years on.

(I'm gonna take a wild shot in the dark here and guess that maybe the choice of songs played at a wedding don't actually mean all that much.)
posted by kyrademon at 7:44 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


The vast majority of these songs just appear to be good dance songs that have been vastly overplayed. As someone who hasn't been to a lot of weddings recently, I don't have particular objections to really any of them. Except for Blurred Lines; that should be perma-banned.

A friend tells the story of being at a wedding where the procession music (i.e. where the bride walks down the aisle) was a beautiful instrumental version of "Send in the Clowns."
posted by Betelgeuse at 7:53 AM on July 31, 2017 [7 favorites]


When I got married, a friend said we should put up a sign on the DJ booth that said "Thank you for not Strokin'"

Also, for my sister's wedding, she wanted them to play a particular song and when the night was almost over, the DJ hadn't played it so I went and asked him to. He insisted he couldn't because then there would be no time to play "Gettin Jiggy With It" but I talked him into it. He kept saying "But everyone loves 'Gettin Jiggy With It'! Are you sure they want me to skip it? They might get mad." He stayed a bit late so he could fit in time for us to get Jiggy.
posted by artychoke at 7:58 AM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


I Command You to Be My Woman by mefi's own frenetic should be mandatory at all weddings!
posted by rtha at 7:59 AM on July 31, 2017 [6 favorites]


Many years ago I went to a horror story of a wedding (actually the night was quite fun, but the whole thing was a bad idea for a large number of reasons) where the couple's song, which they didn't play but was referenced in a speech was Closer by NIN and the first dance was to November Rain

Goth weddings in general seem to have a very predictable pattern of music for the families followed by music for the couple's friends. Often with a fairly sharp tonal change.... One wedding had the Chicken Dance followed immediately by The Beautiful People which featured a whole pile of Goths doing the chicken dance to Marilyn Manson.
posted by cirhosis at 8:19 AM on July 31, 2017 [8 favorites]


"November Rain" is an almost inspired awful wedding choice, especially with the music video.
posted by dismas at 8:33 AM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


I gave our DJ a warning that if he played Clarence Carter's "Strokin'" (hey, grandma! a lyric about buttfucking!) that he would not get paid.

He still played it.
posted by ColdChef at 8:33 AM on July 31, 2017 [6 favorites]


Our DJ was my Ipod. We set up a Google Sheet linked to a form so people could submit ideas in advance (and so we could nix what we didn't like).

That same Ipod provided music during dinner. Mostly atmospheric stuff like Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, and...Ennio Morricone.

My wife's uncle almost spit up when the "ayi ayi ah, wah wah wah" of the Good the Bad and the Ugly came on.
posted by notsnot at 8:39 AM on July 31, 2017 [8 favorites]


I.. have never been to a wedding where Chicken Dance was played and had no idea this was a thing. I am super okay with having missed out on this apparent cultural touchstone.

My only memorable wedding music moment is when my cousin walked down the aisle to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King. I was in middle school and even then was like "This is weird, right?"
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:39 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


There comes a time in your life where you go to less and less weddings. Funerals start to become more common. This list proves that this is not really a sad time.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 8:46 AM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


My friend married a second-generation Lebanese woman, and at their reception, there was some sort of wonderful Arabic song where everyone in her large family got up and did a coordinated dance in a circle, and we tried to join in and failed joyfully. (also, OMG the food.) Anyways, this was the One Good Use of the chicken dance as when the DJ put it on a while later, we got to return the favour with a coordinated dance we all knew the moves to as the Lebanese family struggled through the motions.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:50 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]




Reading this list, I kept going back and forth between "What the hell, who'd want to band that at a wedding?" and "What the hell, who'd even THINK of playing that at a wedding?" I guess Wedding DJ was never really going to be on my career list.

But I love the chicken dance wholeheartedly and unashamedly. By god (and by my wife's patient and loving nature) it was on our wedding play list. I can't really dance if I don't have very simple, explicit motions to be making, plus chickens are great, plus it's marvelous thinking about the joyful act of creation that must have engendered its existence in the first place ... it's kind of the gleefully tacky Christmas sweater of songs, but happily it never seems to have been adopted and done to death by the "ironic" crowd. To counteract the anti-chicken dance sentiment I'd like to command it be played at ALL of my major life events.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:58 AM on July 31, 2017 [8 favorites]


Does Sir Mix-a-Lot even HAVE an oeuvre?

"LA face with an Oakland booty"? Come on people don't be so obtuse.
posted by Talez at 8:58 AM on July 31, 2017


My wife has requested "Like a Virgin" at every wedding she's attended in the last 10 years. To my knowledge it's only been honored once.

That said, it's probably not been banned, per se. Just judiciously ignored by the DJ.
posted by me3dia at 9:02 AM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


Now I wish I was invited to weddings just so I can request Young MC's Bust A Move.

Nothing says start of the '90s like a synth drums and a Flea bass line.
posted by Talez at 9:06 AM on July 31, 2017 [6 favorites]


At our second wedding, we started out by dancing Leonard Cohen's Take This Waltz, which was a super classy move.

I was a (terrible/unprepared) Best Man at a friend's first wedding, where they had requested that as their first dance. Practiced waltzing for days. Then it came time for the first dance, and... the DJ miscued and played I'm Your Man instead, the track before.

It was not an auspicious start. There were plenty of things that went wrong that day (and I made my share of mistakes as a terrible best man), but the wrong Leonard was a pretty big one. Whether it jinxed the marriage entirely, or was merely a contributing factor, I do not know, but the fact is it didn't very long after.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:13 AM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


It turns out that some people named Caroline really hate the song Sweet Caroline, and will explicitly ban it from being played at their weddings. It also turns out that some family members will ignore this injunction and arrange to have it played anyway.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:14 AM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


I just never understood the Chicken Dance. How did it become such a staple at wedding receptions? It's such a horror

I assume it's to make a thematic link to Oktoberfest, the other event where people who don't often drink have permission to dramatically exceed their personal limits and become the thing that is talked about in hushed tones at future gatherings for generations.
posted by rodlymight at 9:26 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


How Mustang Sally managed to stay off this list we may never know.
posted by dubwisened at 9:43 AM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


No one has to tell me not to play country. But no rap? Ridiculous.

No wonder the red states feel alienated.
posted by fairmettle at 9:45 AM on July 31, 2017


Also notably missing: The Rains of Castamere.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:46 AM on July 31, 2017 [27 favorites]


There's something to be said for getting Aunty Jane and Uncle Fred onto the dance floor. If you're a DJ, you hate certain songs with a passion because you have heard them so. many. times, but if you are kind of a geezer who doesn't get out a lot, some of those songs will entice you to get up and have fun. For every prohibited song, there should be alternatives that serve the same purpose. Many years ago, when I foolishly committed marriage, the best songs were from the Big Chill and classic Motown, which have a large overlap. Crude or misogynist is nope, but cheesy and corny can be pretty great, and a couple of gimmick songs make everybody groan as they get up and dance. Being cool can be overrated.
posted by theora55 at 9:49 AM on July 31, 2017 [13 favorites]


If you're a DJ, you hate certain songs with a passion because you have heard them so. many. times, but if you are kind of a geezer who doesn't get out a lot, some of those songs will entice you to get up and have fun.

This makes me wonder what would happen if you put on something like Moon River (∞ Climax Mix) at a wedding.
posted by Talez at 10:00 AM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


Flip side to my cousin's wedding - one of the reasons so many people raved about how awesome my brother's wedding was, was because the band they had was on their game. They played a balanced mix of band show-tune standards and Motown.

At one point they played a 15-minute Motown medley, and the friend I'd brought as my plus-one and I just went to town on that (I had aunts and uncles and relatives sidling over to us and saying "EC, I never knew you could dance like that!"). When the medley was over, the band started a show tune medley and my friend and I started back to our table for a breather - but one of my aunts stopped us, grabbed his hand, and said "now it's MY turn!" and dragged the dude back out onto the dance floor. I followed them around with my camera, and my picture of the pair of them grinning at me like fools is one of my all-time favorites; my aunt looks pleased as punch, and my friend looks giddy and slightly befuddled. He later told me "I thought your aunt was going to end up clubbing me over the head and dragging me back to her room at one point."

But best of all - I have a cousin who is a killer bassist, and at one point in the reception he went up to the band and got them into a huddle. Then they gave him a mike and a bass, and he began telling a story on the mike about how he and my brother bonded over riding dirt bikes while pretending they were Bo and Luke Duke, and then said "so this is dedicated to the groom", the guitar player started a familiar sounding riff, and our cousin began: "Just good ol' boys, never meanin' no harm...."

And each and every person there joined him in serenading the happy couple with the theme to The Dukes of Hazzard. Complete with "yahoo's" at the end.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:08 AM on July 31, 2017 [5 favorites]


ctrl-f neutral

oh shit there's a result

oh good it's not about that one Neutral Milk Hotel song.

The only regret my partner and I have about the prominent role that that one Neutral Milk Hotel song played in our wedding is that we probably would have used the Adventure Time end theme as the song for our first dance instead, except we hadn't yet started watching Adventure Time when we got married.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:10 AM on July 31, 2017


I'm dying to put in a list of songs that are not here but should be, and daring a wedding DJ to run through them:

Life is a highway.
MMMMbop.
...
posted by ocschwar at 10:11 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


We used Peter Gabriel's cover of The Magnetic Fields' "The Book Of Love" for our first dance.
posted by Talez at 10:12 AM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


I don't go to many weddings, but I remember one I went to ~30 years ago where the newlywed couple requested Meat Loaf's "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad" to be their big first dance together.

I don't have any words....
posted by hippybear at 10:13 AM on July 31, 2017 [4 favorites]


So, I went to a bunch of catholic weddings in KY in a short period of time. I single out the catholic ones, because every single one followed a similar pattern - After mass / ceremonial stuff, the DJ would come on and play literally every single one of these songs (with the exception of Happy, as it didn't exist) - And also, always, no exceptions - `Strokin'` - Every. Single. Wedding.

And for every single one of these, every single parent and relative would hit the dance floor in an alcohol fueled frenzy, usually while the couple watched in horror. Parents and grandparents would go from the chicken dance, to furiously grinding to whatever song came on that seemed to demand it, to all falling into an orderly line in an instant once the electric slide came on.

From what I understand, the parents would keep the party going well after the newly married couple had left. I personally never saw the end of one of these weddings.

God help you if one of these weddings featured karaoke.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:17 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


What kind of hayseed (or child bride?) has the “Hokey Pokey” played at their wedding?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:20 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


My wife wanted to process down the aisle to "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor". Catholic church said no. Also, wouldn't "Closer" by NIN be the worst wedding reception song?
posted by Groundhog Week at 10:26 AM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


I don't go to many weddings, but I remember one I went to ~30 years ago where the newlywed couple requested Meat Loaf's "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad" to be their big first dance together.

Things like this may well be an in-joke. My partner does not dance and rarely sings, but if "Jackson" by Johnny Cash and June Carter comes on in the car, he will belt it out with me. If we were ever to have a wedding, in an alternate universe where the idea of being the center of attention for a whole day wasn't hellish to him, I could totally see us karaoke-ing this song at the reception, after a sappy intro in which we describe it as "our song" and "so central to our relationship" and possibly (falsely) as the song our children were conceived to.
posted by Orlop at 10:30 AM on July 31, 2017 [8 favorites]


The DJ at my cousins' wedding played Fast Car MULTIPLE TIMES as atmospheric background music while we were eating dinner. Sure it's pretty, but so much for songs about wedded bliss.

Possibly worse, no one else at the wedding seemed to know the song and realize how wildly inappropriate it was, so I was stuck there in horror all alone.
posted by ActionPopulated at 10:33 AM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also, FWIW, was at a wedding recently where a relative of the bride sang Kiss the Girl from The Little Mermaid, a capella, during the ceremony. I wouldn't be all that concerned with the DJ getting out of hand.
posted by Naberius at 10:54 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


My best wedding music memory that doesn't involve Bonnie Tyler is of dancing to "Superfreak" with my grandmother. Appropriateness is overrated.
posted by asperity at 11:06 AM on July 31, 2017 [6 favorites]


What kind of hayseed (or child bride?) has the “Hokey Pokey” played at their wedding?

Virginia Tech alums. Beating Strokin as the most wildly sexual song I've heard at many many weddings has to be Superman That Ho. I'm not sure why every Granny knows the dance moves to that song.
posted by cyphill at 11:15 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


Possibly worse, no one else at the wedding seemed to know the song and realize how wildly inappropriate it was, so I was stuck there in horror all alone.

Friend of mine had as his entry-to-the-reception song 'Business Time', by Flight of the Conchords. Our table (luckily) was the only one in on the joke, which made the joke all that much better.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:22 AM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


I reached the age of 32 without hearing about or knowing of the existence of Strokin' - the lesson for today is clearly that the world is a wonderful and multi-faceted place - ive been to around 40 weddings in my lifetime. Have no idea what I would do if I did hear it come on at a wedding, but man am I going to lobby for it to be played at the eventual wedding of a friend-with-a-long-running-joke about getting down on (someone elses) couch.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:25 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


More than half of the weddings I have attended over the past 30 years have included, at some point in the reception, The Time Warp.
posted by JohnFromGR at 11:26 AM on July 31, 2017 [13 favorites]


What kind of unfeeling monster and/or robot bans the playing of Happy anywhere at any time?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:27 AM on July 31, 2017


But that night on our honeymoon
We stayed in separate rooms . . .


I'm in a band that plays exclusively Motown/soul stuff and have done a LOT of weddings and yes, we always play this song ("Band of Gold" for those playing along at home), and no, nobody has called us out on it yet. Actually a lot of the soul stuff we play has somewhat questionable lyrics relating to what a horrible thing love is and nobody ever seems to care.
posted by zempf at 11:40 AM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


Every time my wife and I receive a wedding invitation asking us to nominate a song for the wedding playlist we suggest De La Soul's "What We Do (For Love)" Featuring Slick Rick. We have yet to hear it played at a reception.
posted by jrb223 at 12:01 PM on July 31, 2017


Still the all time most inappropriate song I've ever heard for a couple's first dance was "Brick" by Ben Folds. The table of college friends all sat their looking at each other horrified while no one else was the wiser.

Made all the more awkward because the guy the bridge had a pregnancy scare with in college was at our table and not the groom.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 12:04 PM on July 31, 2017 [5 favorites]


What kind of hayseed (or child bride?) has the “Hokey Pokey” played at their wedding?D

The kind of people who have a lot of children at their weddings?

See also:

I just never understood the Chicken Dance. How did it become such a staple at wedding receptions?

Try sitting at a reception with a toddler for 2 hours sometime. A few songs for little kids to break things up can help a lot.

If it's a no-children wedding, though, it's inexcusable.
posted by empath at 12:45 PM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


Still the all time most inappropriate song I've ever heard for a couple's first dance was "Brick" by Ben Folds. The table of college friends all sat their looking at each other horrified while no one else was the wiser.

Don't forget U2's "One" or Green Day's "Good Riddance".

My sister got the DJ to play our wedding out with Good Riddance. /facepalm

Thanks for that one, sis.
posted by Talez at 12:54 PM on July 31, 2017


Just remembered that in the mid-90s, I went to a wedding where the band inexplicably played God Bless the USA. To my knowledge, no one in the bride or groom's family, or in the party, was in the service, or was especially patriotic. I just remember everyone just sort of sitting there looking at each other with faintly puzzled looks until it was over.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:56 PM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


i was at a wedding where the bride and groom danced to the first verse of "fairytale of new york" which is a song that i love but I'm not totally sure they listened to the end
posted by dismas at 12:59 PM on July 31, 2017 [4 favorites]


I was the DJ at my friend's very casual wedding to a raging asshole. It was the third time for both of them. So immediately after the ceremony, I played Britney Spears' "Oops, I Did It Again".

(Only one person noticed.)
posted by MexicanYenta at 1:09 PM on July 31, 2017 [8 favorites]


Oh god, I just remembered: even though my wife did graciously allow me to have the chicken dance (and Don't Stop Believing, come to think of it) on our wedding playlist, she hit the brakes and suggested I listen to the lyrics when I said I wanted to include "Pumped Up Kicks."

I swear I'd thought the song was just about fancy dance moves ...
posted by DingoMutt at 1:09 PM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


I swear I'd thought the song was just about fancy dance moves ...

Oh yeah I always do the six shooter while whooping about run baby run outgun THESE guns.
posted by Talez at 1:22 PM on July 31, 2017


Punch 'Em In The Dick is not on the list, which is, um, I'm not sure.
posted by Cookiebastard at 2:37 PM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


No details on the regions they drew their selection set from; I bet it had a significant effect on the results.
posted by Mitheral at 2:57 PM on July 31, 2017


I still can't decide if No Children is the worst song for a wedding, or the best.
posted by ckape at 3:10 PM on July 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


ZeusHumms: "Is this on Spotify?"

It is now. All except Wagon Wheel by Nathan Carter which I couldn't find. Some of these I don't recognize so if I didn't get the popular version mefimail me.
posted by Mitheral at 3:51 PM on July 31, 2017 [4 favorites]


If and when that magical day comes for me - when a place of employment dictates a deeply personal life choice by demanding we be married before sharing health insurance benefits - our first dance will be to Parliament's "Handcuffs" because it is both an illustration of my contempt for the institution of marriage and a great funk classic that will turn them out on the dance floor.
posted by palindromic at 4:28 PM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


My wife wanted to process down the aisle to "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor". Catholic church said no. Also, wouldn't "Closer" by NIN be the worst wedding reception song?

The groom managed to slip Bittersweet Symphony past the church for his entry into one wedding I attended.
posted by ocschwar at 6:22 PM on July 31, 2017


Song my parents gleefully put the kibosh on: "Sunrise, Sunset." (Apparently this one gets played a lot at weddings where the bride is Jewish.)

Only song that got played that I was annoyed about: Blurred Lines. Seriously, no. No thanks. I did not consent to that song. The irony!

Song mistake that was AWESOME: The DJ played Gangnam Style. Then he mixed that down and transitioned to Sinatra's Fly Me To The Moon. Then he apparently forgot he hadn't completely turned Gangnam Style off, and accidentally raised the volume, leading to:

"In other words, hold my hand
In other words, OPPAN GANGNAM STYLE!"

It was not deliberate, as, while we fell apart laughing, the DJ was caught with an "OH SHIT" look on his face.

It was amazing, and we still sing it sometimes.
posted by ilana at 6:57 PM on July 31, 2017 [11 favorites]


Only song that got played that I was annoyed about: Blurred Lines. Seriously, no. No thanks. I did not consent to that song. The irony!
Even more so since Got to Give it Up is RIGHT THERE.
posted by Talez at 7:07 PM on July 31, 2017


My wife was vehemently opposed to having the Chicken Dance at our wedding, and I still haven't entirely forgiven her.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:23 PM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


At our reception the DJ played the Peter Gunn Theme as the bridal party entered, one couple at a time. Hey, this guy is all right, I thought to myself.

Later, he played a couple of the songs that I thought we'd explicitly banned (e.g., the damn Chicken Dance), and I thought to myself, This guy sucks.

I ended up on "sucks," but we still paid him.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:38 PM on July 31, 2017


me: What kind of hayseed (or child bride?) has the “Hokey Pokey” played at their wedding?

empath: The kind of people who have a lot of children at their weddings?

Damn, you're right. (We didn't, but we had fifty guests just two years out of college out of a hundred!)

I stand corrected. *hangs head*
posted by wenestvedt at 7:40 PM on July 31, 2017


There comes a time in your life where you go to less and less weddings. Funerals start to become more common. This list proves that this is not really a sad time.

I spend a potentially unhealthy amount of time thinking about a playlist for my funeral. Partially for tracks that are excellent and moody, and partially for tracks that are horrific on multiple levels but social convention will dictate that no one can leave.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:46 PM on July 31, 2017


Punch 'Em in the Dick should be on EVERY list, Cookiebastard.
And while I have never been to a wedding reception where The Chicken Dance was played, now that I know that's a thing, If ever I marry I shall demand that Tiny Tim's gloriously transcendent rendition of the song be played, possibly even during the procession, because just listen to the damn thing.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 9:59 PM on July 31, 2017 [3 favorites]


Mrs. Six's musical taste runs more to country than mine does. I made a deal with her that she could make all the other music choices, as long as I got one and a half of them.

The half was that we could play "He's in the Jailhouse Now" from O_Brother_Where_Art_Thou, if I could edit the MP3 ahead of time to remove the yodeling (which I absolutely loathe).

The remaining one had to do with our first dance. Neither of us wanted to be the focus of attention for long during it (yes, it was *our* wedding, but we're both sorta shy), so I wanted to use a 60-second long homemade recording of my grandmother singing "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" while my grandfather played the piano. My grandfather (long-deceased by then) was a very shy guy but a heckuva piano player, while my grandmother (still alive at that time) was super outgoing. At their parties, he gravitated to the piano, and "conversed" with people in our large Irish family by playing them whatever songs they liked singing. It was a great niche for him, a lot of fun for the people hanging out with him, and a sweet way for them to play to their social strengths together for the several old standards that my grandmother loved to sing.

The tape of LMCYS was kinda scratchy, and their tempo changed a few times, so Mrs. Six wasn't sure it was really a good fit to play for our dance. To me, the way they adjusted to follow each other's shifts was a charming example of how they cooperated through their 50+ years together. I also liked that the end of the tape captured a quiet, very characteristic chuckle of my grandfather's. We settled on using it, after I asked my grandmother and she said she'd be delighted to "sing" for us that way.

She had gotten pretty frail, and when my cousin got married 6 weeks before our wedding, she couldn't leave her wheelchair. That didn't stop her from dancing *in* the wheelchair, though. We figured that she probably wouldn't be able to travel the 400 miles to our wedding, but we were glad that we could tell her that her (and his) voice was there. Sadly, 3 weeks after that, she passed away. We still used the song, which meant even more to me then.
posted by NumberSix at 10:28 PM on July 31, 2017 [13 favorites]


That list sounds about right (especially Happy) - I would never go up to a DJ at someone else's wedding a request a song though. Is it just me or isn't that bad etiquette?
posted by soooo at 5:29 AM on August 1, 2017


Serious question -- for any wedding from, say, 2010 on, what's the point of a DJ? Why wouldn't you just put together a playlist? I can understand that doing that even up until the CD era would be another task on top of all the others for a big wedding, but in the pick-a-song/dowload-the-song period, it's just a fun hour or two picking out favorite tunes.
posted by kyrademon at 6:04 AM on August 1, 2017


Serious question -- for any wedding from, say, 2010 on, what's the point of a DJ? Why wouldn't you just put together a playlist

I did this at my wedding because I hate wedding music, but the main point of the DJ is the emceeing not the djing. Our wedding planner actually emceed for us.
posted by empath at 6:13 AM on August 1, 2017


A good DJ will notice how the crowd is reacting to different styles of music...does type X bring more people to the floor, does Y cause everyone to scatter? Then the music queue would be updated to reflect the former and eliminate the latter.
posted by mmascolino at 8:03 AM on August 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


I would rather have every one of these cheesey fun dance songs played than endure any sappy father of the bride crap accompanied by "Butterfly Kisses".
posted by WeekendJen at 9:54 AM on August 1, 2017 [4 favorites]


I would never go up to a DJ at someone else's wedding a request a song though. Is it just me or isn't that bad etiquette?

I don't think so. Part of the DJ's job is to triage people's dumb suggestions while also keeping the crowd happy, and if the crowd wants to hear "Hollywood Swinging" then so be it.
posted by zeusianfog at 10:43 AM on August 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


Nthing that the wedding DJ is also the one who announces the "stages" of the night, brings (and sets up) the sound equipment, and keeps people upbeat and happy. You can rent sound gear and get a friend to run it, even if it's based on a playlist on a phone and some decent speakers. It all depends on the scale and type of wedding you have. We had a friend from college radio borrow the radio station's sound gear and bring his own turntables, and he just played fun dance music from what I recall (well, after the Monster Mash, which I had amazingly stumbled across as a 7"!).

ZeusHumms: Is this on Spotify?

Mitheral: It is now. All except Wagon Wheel by Nathan Carter which I couldn't find.

I will have a wedding mixtape up by the end of this week, first with the "banned" songs, and then with the songs mentioned in this thread. (This is an excuse for me to start putting together mixes, because I miss mixing music on college radio so much, and I don't know why I haven't made mixes sooner.)
posted by filthy light thief at 11:25 AM on August 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


ckape: John Darnielle has shared his thoughts on playing "No Children" at weddings:
"People ask me to play this song at their weddings. I'm flattered and honored, and I decline to play this song at anybody's wedding. I keep waiting for somebody to say, 'Well, we're having the final hearing. You remember I asked you to play this at our wedding? I was wondering if you'd come to this little office, it's off of Frontage Road, it's very nondescript—they share a space with a massage therapist and an insurance guy, and you could come and play this song at the hearing, and sing it like you mean it.' I keep waiting for that 'cause I think, don't tell anybody, but I think if somebody said 'John, come play No Children at my divorce hearing,' how could I say no?" -- 2012-05-06 - The Metro - Sydney, Australia
posted by rhiannonstone at 9:48 PM on August 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


actually what I really want is for the bride and groom to sing it together as a saccharine love duet
posted by ckape at 2:47 PM on August 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


The fastest I've ever seen a dance floor empty was at a friend's wedding when the DJ played "Cotton Eye Joe."
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:37 AM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


where did they go
posted by middleclasstool at 7:19 AM on August 3, 2017 [6 favorites]


« Older Christmas approaches   |   17th Century Kindle Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments