Not songs to be sung at weddings — I’m not here to write about “Color My World,” thank you — but songs about weddings.
Here are my all-time faves:
(8) “Wedding Bell Blues” — sung by the Fifth Dimension
The raw urgency and desperation of this one always amuses me.
As she sings it, Marilyn McCoo seems so over-the-top (“Will you marry me, Bill? … I love you so!”) that Bill will surely run for the hills once he gets a whiff of the neediness.
(7) “I Love to Cry at Weddings”
This one always seemed stuck into Sweet Charity just to have another showstopper, but a showstopper it is, with the good sense to gleefully make fun of all the knee-jerk sobbing that happens at these events. Wait till the divorce to cry!
(6) “I Do”
A really sweet and bouncy ’60s-sounding tune from the underrated film Grace of My Heart, about a lady songwriter from the glory days. The song is done by the film’s girl group (who were dubbed by some other girl group) and it leaps off the soundtrack with the force of a shotgun wedding.
(5) “Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry” — Darlene Love
The unbridled optimism of this song came from a time when you actually thought you met Mr. or Miss Right and you were set for life. It could almost make you cry! (I always cry at pop songs.)
(4) “The Worst That Could Happen” — Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge
This is the flip side of the story — the tragic tale of the guy who was ditched for someone better suited to the altar. Again, his desperation is so painful it’s almost amusing. (“Girl, I heard you’re getting married … Well, this is the end.”) I sang this once at a wedding party and cleared the room!
(3) “(Not) Getting Married Today” — from Company
Stephen Sondheim wrote this brilliantly neurotic patter song in which a bride rants on about all the reasons she can’t possibly go through with the ceremony (“a prehistoric ritual”) as a soprano sings a solemn hymn behind her. Madeline Kahn did great job with it, but so did Beth Howland and almost anyone who’s ever done it without breathing.
(2) “Band of Gold” — Freda Payne
Another marital sob story, this one has Freda and her new hubby sleeping in separate rooms on their honeymoon. Hey, that rhymes! And it’s danceable!
(1) “Chapel of Love” — the Dixie Cups
Pure cotton candy, a song brimming with infectious youthful innocence — and it clicked even when Bette Midler added her knowing layers of camp to it.
It’s the song I want played at my wedding. But to whom?
Oh, and let’s give special honors to David Raleigh‘s “I Do!” which is super-sweet and includes a generous helping of same-sex action in the video.