Play That Funky Music…

So far, choosing a band to play at the reception has been the most difficult part of wedding planning (finding sites for the ceremony and reception was actually suprisingly painless, the rabbi was a no brainer, cake shopping was a blast, dress shopping was labor-intensive but not frustrating and we got some Camacho Cigars out of the deal, and through a bit of searching and asking for recommendations we found an awesome photographer and an equally awesome videographer).

It’s particularly difficult for a few reasons:

  1. Most bands don’t [need to] advertise. They get their business through word of mouth or by people hearing them at weddings they attend. For those of us who have been to very few weddings in Seattle (and don’t have many friends who were married here) this is hard.
  2. By definition, most wedding bands play really crappy music. In fact, I don’t think you’re allowed to call yourself a wedding band unless your repertoire consists of songs that anyone born after 1970 hates.
  3. Hiring a non-“wedding” band is an option, but has proven to be a more expensive option. And I have this fear that a band that doesn’t generally play weddings won’t do a great job at the emcee role…

The repertoire factor is one of the hardest ones. Kenny and I attended a beautiful wedding last year. We had a lot of fun there, but we each noticed that the other would cringe with almost every song that the band started playing. When we got home, we started a “blacklist” (not for our own wedding, of course, but for some hypothetical wedding that either of us might have if we ever got married). Not surprisingly, the blacklist had a few wedding “favorites” on it:

  • Brick House
  • Play that Funky Music White Boy
  • YMCA
  • Freak Out
  • I Will Survive
  • You Can’t Hurry Love
  • I Got You Babe
  • What I Like About You

Any many many many more. I don’t think the fact that we hate these songs makes us music snobs. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want a band to play covers of a few songs written after 1980 instead of these old recycled “songs that will get people of all ages up and dancing.” With one of the bands we were talking to, we even got to the point of creating a mix CD, and asking them to learn some of the songs on it (and as you might have guessed, we didn’t get too far in the discussions with them before they told us to take a hike — yes, they rejected us).

Since then, we’ve gotten a few more leads (the best ones so far have been recommended by our photographer and our videographer), and we might be closing in on one (we’re going to check them all out before we leave for South America). I sure hope that one of them works out — I’ll be very glad when this part of the process is over.

3 thoughts on “Play That Funky Music…”

  1. Too late for the wedding likely, but this list of top 200 love songs has REALLY good stuff.

    I compiled the 2*100 song lists together for quick view..

    100. The One I Love – R.E.M.
    99. I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston
    98. If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes or Simply Red
    97. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns ‘n Roses
    96. The Lady In My Life – Michael Jackson
    95. The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite) – Quincy Jones
    94. Everytime You Go Away – Paul Young
    93. All Cried Out – Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam w/Full Force
    92. Crash Into Me – Dave Matthews Band
    91. Never Say Goodbye – Bon Jovi
    90. Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers
    89. Drive – The Cars
    88. Get Here – Oleta Adams
    87. The Heart Of The Matter – Don Henley
    86. Can’t Turn Back The Years – Phil Collins
    85. True Colors – Cyndi Lauper
    84. Let’s Chill – Guy
    83. My, My My – Johnny Gill
    82. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers
    81. On My Own – Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald
    80. Into The Mystic – Van Morrison
    79. Sara Smile – Daryl Hall & John Oates
    78. No More Lonely Nights – Paul McCartney
    77. For The First Time – Kenny Loggins
    76. Uninvited – Alanis Morissette
    75. ? Seasons Of Loneliness – Boyz II Men
    74. Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
    73. Voyage To Atlantis – The Isley Brothers
    72. A Thin Line Between Love & Hate – The Persuasions
    71. “I Can’t Tell You Why – The Eagles
    70. Cherish The Day – Sade
    69. When You Were Mine – Prince
    68. Outside Your Door – Me’shell N’degeocello
    67. All I Want Is You – U2
    66. Just The Way You Are – Billy Joel
    65. Distant Sun – Crowded House
    64. Human – The Human League
    63. More Than Words – Extreme
    62. Take A Bow – Madonna
    61. Driftin’ Away – Garth Brooks
    60. Sail Away – David Gray
    59. You’re All I Need To Get By – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
    58. Fields Of Gold – Sting
    57. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
    56. Forever In My Life – Prince
    55. Love Tried To Welcome Me – Madonna
    54. Baby Come Back – Player
    53. Insensitive – Jann Arden
    52. One Last Cry – Brian McKnight
    51. I Wish It Would Rain Down – Phil Collins
    50. The Space Between – Dave Matthews Band
    49. This Is For The Lover In You – Shalamar
    48. The Closer I Get To You – Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway
    47. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) – The Temptations
    46. Sail On – The Commodores
    45. Distant Lover – Marvin Gaye
    44. Hands To Heaven – Breathe
    43. Moondance – Van Morrison
    42. Wicked Game – Chris Isaak
    41. Taking You Home – Don Henley
    40. Missing You – John Waite
    39. Doin’ Just Fine – Boyz II Men
    38. The Beautiful Ones – Prince & The Revolution
    37. When We Dance – Sting
    36. Crazy For You – Madonna
    35. Ex-Factor – Lauryn Hill
    34. Tender Love – The Force MD’s
    33. Brilliant Disguise – Bruce Springsteen
    32. Endless Love – Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
    31. I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near) – Michael McDonald
    30. And So It Goes – Billy Joel
    29. A Song For You – Donny Hathaway
    28. You & I – Stevie Wonder
    27. Lookin’ At The Front Door – Main Source
    26. Single – Everything But The Girl
    25. At This Moment – Billy Vera & The Beaters
    24. One Step Up – Bruce Springsteen
    23. Father Figure – George Michael
    22. Every Breath You Take – The Police
    21. Tell Her This – Del Amitri
    20. Fire & Desire – Rick James & Teena Marie
    19. How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore? – Prince
    18. With Or Without You – U2
    17. Alison – Elvis Costello
    16. Always & Forever – Heatwave
    15. One More Try – George Michael
    14. If You’re Gone – matchbox twenty
    13. Can You Stand The Rain? – New Edition
    12. Creep – Radiohead
    11. All In Love Is Fair – Stevie Wonder
    10. Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’ Connor
    9. Careless Whisper – Wham!
    8. I’d Die Without You – PM Dawn
    7. In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel
    6. A House Is Not Home – Luther Vandross
    5. Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper –
    4. Just To Keep You Satisfied – Marvin Gaye
    3. How Deep Is Your Love – The Bee Gess
    2. I Can’t Make You Love Me – Bonnie Raitt
    1. Adore – Prince
    101. “Go Your Own Way” Fleetwood Mac
    100. “Give Me One Reason” Tracy Chapman
    99. “She Loves You” The Beatles
    98. “Golden Lady” Stevie Wonder
    97. “I Will Buy You A New Life” Everclear
    96. “Sail On” Lionel Richie
    95. “I See Your Smile” Gloria Estefan
    94. “Follow The Light” Travis
    93. “Be Mine” R.E.M.
    92. “Comedown” Toad The Wet Sprocket
    91. “Tell Him” Celine Dion & Barbra Streisand
    90. “My Hero” Foo Fighters
    89. “Your Song” Elton John
    88. “Daisy Jane” America
    87. “Story Of A Girl” Nine Days
    86. “Two Hearts” Phil Collins
    85. “Exit Music (For A Film)” Radiohead
    84. “Sweet Surrender” Sarah McLachlan
    83. “Waste” Phish
    82. “Look Away” Chicago
    81. “The One You Love” Glenn Frey
    80. “Sonnet” The Verve
    79. “Light My Fire” The Doors
    78. “Just Like Jesse James” Cher
    77. “Babe” Styx
    76. “Bad Time” Grand Funk Railroad
    75. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” The Proclaimers
    74. “Linger” Cranberries
    73. “Never Tear Us Apart” INXS
    72. “Overjoyed” Stevie Wonder
    71. “I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song” Jim Croce
    70. “Only In Dreams” Weezer
    69. “Under The Bridge” Red Hot Chili Peppers
    68. “Find Your Way Back” Michelle Branch
    67. “We’ve Only Just Begun” The Carpenters
    66. “Lady Love Me (One More Time)” George Benson
    65. “Tonight, Tonight” Smashing Pumpkins
    64. “Father Figure” George Michael
    63. “Don’t Lose My Number” Phil Collins
    62. “The End Will Come” Elton John
    61. “Lost In Love” Air Supply
    60. “Missing You” Dan Fogelberg
    59. “Hole Hearted” Extreme
    58. “Why Don’t You And I” Santana & Alex Band
    57. “Too Late To Turn Back Now” Cornelius Bros. & Sister Rose
    56. “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” Moody Blues
    55. “Again” Janet Jackson
    54. “In The Absence of Sun” Duncan Sheik
    53. “Down Low” R. Kelly
    52. “Everything You Want” Vertical Horizon
    51. “Godsend” DC Talk
    50. “Better Man” Pearl Jam
    49. “Remember The Time” Michael Jackson
    48. “The Boy” Smashing Pumpkins
    47. “Somebody’s Baby” Jackson Browne
    46. “Tearin’ Up My Heart” N*Sync
    45. “The World I Know” Collective Soul
    44. “Building A Mystery” Sarah McLachlan
    43. “Heartbreaker” Dionne Warwick
    42. “If You Could Only See” Tonic
    41. “More Than A Woman” Bee Gees
    40. “Kiss From A Rose” Seal
    39. “Turn Your Love Around” George Benson
    38. “Lights” Journey
    37. “This Is It” Kenny Loggins
    36. “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” Elton John & George Michael
    35. “Being With You” Smokey Robinson
    34. “Prayer For The Dying” Seal
    33. “Five Candles (You Were There)” Jars of Clay
    32. “Head Over Heels” Tears For Fears
    31. “Steal Away” Robbie Dupree
    30. “Against All Odds” Phil Collins
    29. “Love Of A Lifetime” Firehouse
    28. “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” Bryan Adams
    27. “Here Comes My Girl” Tom Petty
    26. “I Just Wanna Stop” Gino Vanelli
    25. “Everlasting Love” Howard Jones
    24. “These Dreams” Heart
    23. “Circle of Life” Elton John
    22. “Every Breath You Take” The Police
    21. “Imagine” John Lennon
    20. “I Know” Dionne Farris
    19. “Hard Habit To Break” Chicago
    18. “Beautiful Day” U2
    17. “Even The Nights Are Better” Air Supply
    16. “Stars” Simply Red
    15. “Laughter In The Rain” Neil Sedaka
    14. “Fortress Around Your Heart” Sting
    13. “Alone” Heart
    12. “Heart Hotels” Dan Fogelberg
    11. “Time In A Bottle” Jim Croce
    10.5) “Take On Me” A-Ha
    10. “I’ll Be Around” Spinners
    9. “I Love You” Climax Blues Band
    8. “Quit Playing Games With My Heart” Backstreet Boys
    7. “Crazy For This Girl” Evan & Jaron
    6. “Superstar” The Carpenters
    5. “Jealous Guy” John Lennon
    4. “She’s Like The Wind” Patrick Swayze
    3. “I Saw The Light” Todd Rundgren
    2. “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, and many others!
    1. “Chains Of Love” Erasure


  2. PS. Did you consider a DJ? There’s a ton of wedding DJ’s around you know? Many of them gig with laptops though so if you prefer the old way of vinyl then it may take some asking around.

  3. Thanks for the list. :)

    We have talked a bit about a DJ, and we will fall back to that option if necessary, but are still hoping to make it work with a band. In my opinion, neither option is perfect, due to the following tradeoffs:

    Live Band: Feels classier, and there’s just something special about live music, BUT you are limited by what the band knows how to play.
    DJ: Can play just about anything (especially if you give them enough warning about CDs to acquire), BUT the music is canned, and there isn’t as strong of an emcee presence.

    We’re still pursuing the band thing for now. We saw a cool band last week — they were much hipper than your average wedding band. :) So if things work out with them (fingers crossed), we’ll finally have this item crossed off the list.

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