Today you are in for a treat, with a guest blog from the one and only Amplifive. At the majority of the weddings I attend, the Bride and Groom have a first dance. They are always so lovely to watch and they all vary greatly. I have seen this Group sing a couples first dance song and it was so amazing and tear jerking so who better to chat to you about this subject. Take it away Debs…….
I am so excited for our first dance requests for this year! As expected we get a lot of people asking for the same, classic songs which are all lovely but I go a bit daft when we’re asked for something a bit out of the ordinary. It’s a great challenge and as the band vocal arranger there’s nothing I like better than getting my teeth stuck into something new. And I love to know people’s reasons for choosing a song, it somehow helps in the arranging and performing of the song for that particular couple. You will of course risk having me in floods of tears while trying to sing which isn’t a good look or sound.
First and foremost, don’t panic if you don’t have a special song, just pick something that speaks to you both.
Not every couple has an ‘our song’ which is no surprise really. Our social culture is worlds away from when couples met and fell in love at the local dance hall, while a particular song played out across a crowded room. They tend not to hold an Under The Sea type dance in Karbon or Ministry of Sound. But that doesn’t mean that music isn’t still an important part of a lot of people’s lives. Couples often go to live gigs together and with the advent of extensive movie soundtracks have other associations for the music they listened to while falling in love.
We often get brides and grooms who choose songs because they’re tied up in what they believe to be appropriate. Nonsense I say! Weddings are no longer a matter for tradition. A wedding is nothing if not a reflection of your personalities and the things you share and hold dear. That goes for music too. Never mind “My Mum says it’s not the done thing” or “People might think we’re weird”. If you’ve invited people to your wedding who may judge you harshly based on your music choices then I suggest a little cutting back on the guest list. Never be afraid to ask a band if they can learn your favourite song for you. Any band worth their salt will happily learn one song for your wedding, it would be ridiculous not to. And personally I’d have no hesitation in creating a unique arrangement of a song just for you. That’s what being a musician is all about. There are the odd occasions when a song is just impossible to recreate and there is nothing wrong in having the original played on disc or MP3 player.
So what songs are people asking for at the moment?
It does change year to year but our 5 most popular first dances, the ones that get asked for time and time again, nearly always include the following:
Songbird – Eva Cassidy
Amazed – Lonestar
Have I Told You Lately – Van Morrison
Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
At Last – Etta James
This year however we’ve been asked for some really awesome songs/versions of songs. The very lovely Stephanie Milne, whose wedding I’ve been looking forward to for over a year, has made my two favourite requests so far. This plus the fact that she’s hired us proves she has fabulous taste in music. ;D
Steph’s 1st dance : I Wanna Hold You Hand – The Beatles (BUT the version from the movie Across the Universe which is achingly beautiful!)
Steph’s 2nd dance: Somebody To Love – Queen
I was delighted by her second choice. Queen songs are so much fun to arrange vocals for, the harmonies are so meticulous and simple but incredibly effective.
Other slightly less conventional songs this year include:
Use Somebody – Pixie Lott
Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Feels Like Home – Chantal Kreviazuk (From the film My Sister’s Keeper *sob*)
Over the years I’ve been asked for all manner of songs. My favourites included our own arrangement of Yellow by Coldplay, solo piano with female vocal in a higher key than the original. It changed from a lad’s anthem to an ethereal, heart stopper reminiscent of the likes of Alison Krauss and Shawn Colvin. And also the truly gorgeous Fishing For A Dream by Turin Brakes, a song I was so thrilled to be asked for I may have let out a little squeal!
Maybe some day people will feel comfortable asking for their favourite Calexico song. Or that obscure 60s soul number that was hiding away on the credits of the movie they saw on their first date. Remember? The date where you dropped the popcorn all over the woman in front and he saved the day by staring sternly at the poor kid sitting in the next seat. These are the memories that attach themselves firmly to the songs and the people you love. And these are the songs that should feature at your wedding.
Now, if someone could please request Great Balls Of Fire my life will be complete!
Deborah is lead vocalist and vocal arranger for Glasgow based band AmpliFive www.amplifivemusic.co.uk
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