Monday, July 18, 2011

Wedding playlists

On the odd chance that anyone is interested in the playlist that we, my father and friends pulled together, I thought I'd post it.

Figuring out what music we needed

We figured that including the possibility that guests would show early and we would likely be a little late leaving the restaurant, we would need

1) four hours of music
2) music split into 4 categories - welcome/post-food mingling, eating, first dance, mother-son dance.

I really wanted to start the process of selecting music early. I had watched two of my friends stay up all night the night before their wedding programing music. I knew that I wanted to get a few hours of sleep before a day long party, so when we decided to get married in January I asked H for a list of songs that he liked/reminded him of us/were important to him/were fun.

Figuring out what music we wanted

While waiting for that list, I asked my friends to dial through their iPods and suggest songs. The stipulations were as follows:

1) no break up songs
2) music had to be fun/chipper/happy
3) there had to be a few songs that invited dancing
4) only the slightest bit romantic if romantic at all. Ideally, the song was just fun
5) songs could not be overplayed
6) no Disney, no 80s rock, no "I knew the bride"

Our friends and family helped us choose songs

This turned out to be a little bit more difficult than I had thought. For one, most of my own music is old school R&B...that's a lot of breaking up and cheating music. No song suggestions were coming in, so two of my friends and I cracked open a bottle of wine, and made a list of fun songs. I highly recommend this technique for the fun. I ended up not using a lot of the music.

I came out of that evening with a bit of headache, but a list of 40 songs to review. Combined with H's 100 songs I thought I would have enough. I flew off to a few conferences. When I got back, I sat down with the songs to review them and realized that only about 10 of the songs my friends and I had picked were happy songs. H's list was even trickier. A lot of H mainly provided songs that were sad/a little too loud/actually about cars or break ups but had played during some event he enjoyed etc.. In the end 5 of those songs were not about breaking up and never-ending sadness or engine mechanics and ended up on the list.

Putting the playlist together: My father hip-i-fied our list

H and I looked at our 15 songs. We were now 4 days away from the wedding with about 5 songs he and I had picked randomly over the course of the last 5 months and 15 songs that we had salvaged out of at least 4 iPods. Not good.

H grew up going to and performing in a lot of musicals. He dug out cassette tapes of his favourite musicals and started writing a new list of songs he really liked. This produced another 20. I started flipping through iTunes Genius recommendations to see if there were songs I loved but had forgotten. We also decided to loosen up the stipulations - we let a few songs about unhappy topics slip in. Now we had close to two hours of music.

My parents arrived Thursday and my brother, Friday. As I upcycled H's tie to skinny-fy it, I asked my Dad and brother to pick through their iPods for songs. My mother and I ran off for errands and returned to a list of 100 songs. Amazing. My father is cool - like blues man cool. I would never have been able to put together a list of music as hip as this without him.

Putting the playlist together: Let the corporations do the rest of the dirty work

After what might have been the most bizarre rehearsal dinner (H's parents decided to hold one and invited my family) in history, H and I sat down and picked through the songs. Turns out, I had most of the songs on my Dad's list but hadn't thought to put them on the playlist.

Still, we were up late the night before choosing music. Two decisions let us get sleep that night

1) We let iTunes decide how to arrange the songs. We didn't shuffle the songs. We threw the songs into the playlists and iTunes put them in whatever order it pleased according to some fancy algorithm. I went back and reordered 5 or so songs, but that's it. Thanks Apple.

2) If iTunes or Amazon gave us a recommendation based on a previous song, we either threw it into the playlist if we had the song or we previewed it.

Basically we let the big corporations do two of the more difficult tasks for us. In the end, we compiled 5 hours of music in a pretty short period of time.

With that, here are the lists with albums from which we pulled the songs (not always the original albums).

First Dance

The Littlest Birds - The Be Good Tanyas

(H's mother seemed really down and expectant when this was playing, so about 1/3rd into the dance, I convinced H that he should dance with his mother instead. I moved on to dance with friends and eventually my Dad).

Mother-son Dance

Perhaps Love - John Denver

(This song was H's mother's choice. The restaurant's sound system wouldn't play it in any version. I suppose it's a good thing that I gave up 2/3rds of our first dance to H's mother. )

Welcome/after-food mingling playlist

Song: Chuck E's In Love (LP Version) -

Rickie Lee Jones

Album: The Duchess Of Coolsville (US Release)

She Makes Me Feel Good -

Lyle Lovett

Joshua Judges Ruth

The Passenger -

Iggy Pop

Lust for Life

Oh Yoko! -

John Lennon


A Funky Space Reincarnation -

Marvin Gaye

Here, My Dear

Good Times -

Sam Cooke

30 Greatest Hits - Sam Cooke Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 (Remastered)

Green Onions -

Booker T. & The MG's

Green Onions (US Release)

Superfly (LP Version) -

Curtis Mayfield


Cissy Strut -

The Meters

The Meters

Here I Am -

Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett And His Large Band

How Sweet It Is -

The Lincolns

Take One

Love Train -

The O'Jays

The Ultimate O'Jays

Little Boxes -

Randy Newman

Weeds - Little Boxes Dimebag #1

He Needs Me -

Jon Brion

Punch-Drunk Love (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Dancing In the Moonlight (Original Recording)-

King Harvest

Dancing In the Moonlight - Single

Hey Ya! (Radio Mix/Club Mix)-


Speakerboxxx/The Love Below [Explicit]

Sweet Pea-

Amos Lee

Supply and Demand

Birdhouse In Your Soul -

They Might Be Giants


Scenic World -


Lon Gisland - EP

Accentuate The Positive -

Dr. John

In A Sentimental Mood

Higher And Higher -

The Lincolns

Take One

The Log Driver's Waltz -

Moira Nelson

Echoes of Another Time

Rock The Casbah -

The Clash

The Singles

They Say It's Wonderful -

Frank Sinatra

This Love Of Mine

These Arms of Mine -

Otis Redding

The Very Best of Otis Redding

Take On Me -

Pickin' On Series

Pickin' and Singin' the Biggest Hits of the 1980's, Vol. 1

Irresistible You -

Taj Mahal

Senor Blues

Shiny Shiny Car -

The Priorities

First Offense, No Priors

Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won't Do) -

Wilson Pickett

A Bronx Tale - Music From The Motion Picture

Hey Ya -

Booker T.

Potato Hole

Get Ready -

The Temptations

The Temptations: The Ultimate Collection

Glad Tidings -

Van Morrison


Here Comes Your Man -



Feeling Good -

Nina Simone

Feeling Good Hit Pack

Love And Happiness -

Al Green

Greatest Hits

Share Your Love With Me -

Aretha Franklin

The Very Best

New York -

Cat Power


Friday I'm In Love -

The Cure

Galore (The Singles 1987-1997)

Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) (Remastered) [The Frank Sinatra Collection] -

Frank Sinatra

Nothing But The Best [The Frank Sinatra Collection]

What Is Life (2001 Digital Remaster) -

George Harrison

All Things Must Pass

Hardest Geometry Problem In The World -

Mark Mothersbaugh


You Shook Me All Night Long -

The Lost Fingers

Lost In The 80's

A Bushel And A Peck -

The Andrews Sisters

Canciones Con Historia: The Andrews Sisters

Use Me (Single Version) -

Bill Withers

The Best Of Bill Withers: Lean On Me

Brick House -



It's All Right -

The Impressions

20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best Of Curtis Mayfield And The Impressions

Move on Up (ReMastered) -

Curtis Mayfield

Future Shock

Home -

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) -

Arcade Fire


Vehicle -

Ides Of March

Ideology: Version 11.0

All I Want Is You -

Barry Louis Polisar

Juno - Music From The Motion Picture

(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher -

Jackie Wilson

The Ultimate Jackie Wilson

Knock On Wood (Single/LP Version) -

Eddie Floyd

Knock On Wood

Groove Me -

King Floyd


Moi je joue -

Brigitte Bardot

The Best of Bardot

I've Just Seen a Face -

The Beatles


Beyond The Sea -

Bobby Darin

GoodFellas: Music From The Motion Picture

Across 110th Street -

Bobby Womack & Peace

Across 110th Street

Express Yourself (Mocean Worker Remix) -

Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

Express Yourself

Cigarettes and Coffee -

Otis Redding

The Soul Album

Polly Wolly Doodle (Album Version) -

Leon Redbone

On The Track

That Was Your Mother -

Paul Simon


Sweet Jane -

The Velvet Underground

The Best Of The Velvet Underground

That's Where It's At -

Sam Cooke

30 Greatest Hits - Sam Cooke Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 (Remastered)

I Want to Take You Higher -

Sly & The Family Stone

The Essential Sly & the Family Stone

Uptight (Everything's Alright) -

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder: The Definitive Collection

Return To Me - Bob Dylan

The Sopranos - Music From The HBO Original Series - Peppers & Eggs (Disc 2)

Downtown Train -

Tom Waits

Rain Dogs

Satellite -

Colin James

Colin James And The Little Big Band

Modern Love (Single Version) (2002 Digital Remaster) -

David Bowie

The Best Of 1980/1987

In Dreams -

Roy Orbison

Playlist: The Very Best Of Roy Orbison

Only The Good Die Young -

Billy Joel

Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II

Inside Of Me -

Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul

The Sopranos

Groove is in the heart -


World Clique

I Say A Little Prayer -

Aretha Franklin

The Very Best

The Longest Time -

Billy Joel

Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II

Bruises -


Does You Inspire You

Just Like Heaven -

The Cure

Galore (The Singles 1987-1997)

Secret Heart -


Let It Die

Temptation -

Diana Krall


You Can't Hurry Love -

The Supremes

Diana Ross & The Supremes: Anthology

Sunshine Superman -


The Essential Donovan

American Boy (feat. Kanye West) -



Love Is All Around -

The Guess Who

This Time Long Ago

Light My Fire -

Jackie Wilson

The Ultimate Jackie Wilson

Instant Karma -

John Lennon

Lennon Legend: The Very Best Of John Lennon

Watching The Wheels -

John Lennon

Lennon Legend: The Very Best Of John Lennon

Read My Mind -

The Killers

Sam's Town

Try a Little Tenderness -

Otis Redding

The Very Best of Otis Redding

By Your Side -


Lovers Rock

Everyday People -

Sly & The Family Stone

The Essential Sly & the Family Stone

I'm a Man -

The Spencer Davis Group

The Best of Spencer Davis Group

Lebanese Blonde -

Thievery Corporation

The Mirror Conspiracy

I'm Sticking With You -

The Velvet Underground

The Very Best Of The Velvet Underground

Sincerely -

The Moonglows

GoodFellas: Music From The Motion Picture

A Kiss To Build A Dream On -

Louis Armstrong

Sleepless In Seattle

A Wink And A Smile -

Harry Connick, Jr.

Sleepless In Seattle

A Whiter Shade Of Pale -

Procol Harum

The Big Chill

Here Comes My Baby -

Cat Stevens


I Wish -

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder: The Definitive Collection

I Will -

The Beatles

The White Album

Everybody Is A Star (Single Version) -

Sly & The Family Stone

Greatest Hits

Margaret Yang's Theme -

Mark Mothersbaugh


Rue St. Vincent -

Yves Montand


Who Knows -

Marion Black

Marion Black: Who Knows EP

Eating music

Little Boxes -

Randy Newman

Weeds - Little Boxes Dimebag #1

A Whiter Shade Of Pale -

Procol Harum

The Big Chill

Each Coming Night -

Iron & Wine

Our Endless Numbered Days

The Book Of Love -

The Magnetic Fields

69 Love Songs Volume 1

I'll Be Your Mirror -

The Velvet Underground

The Best Of The Velvet Underground

Into the Mystic -

Van Morrison


In A Little While -


All That You Can't Leave Behind

Long Time Running -

The Tragically Hip

Road Apples

All I Do Is Dream of You -

Leon Redbone

Any Time

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) -

Marvin Gaye

The Very Best Of Marvin Gaye

The Lad With The Silver Button -

Mark Mothersbaugh


To Each His Own Symphony -

Django Reinhardt

The Best of Django Reinhardt

So...there it is. Not the perfect list, but we enjoyed it. Hopefully it turns out to be helpful for someone else and saves another couple out there a few hours of sleep.

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