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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 30, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 48
Marital melodies
Arts & Entertainment
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Marital melodies

15 songs to tie the knot to

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Your wedding should be exactly what you want it to be, right down to the song played as you're walking down the aisle, or for the first dance at the reception. There are a million tunes out there to choose from - some with the right words, others with the right melody, and a few that just sound appropriate for the occasion. Here are 15 songs that I came up with to mark your special day.

1. 'Wedding Song'
Tracy Chapman

From the singer-songwriter's Telling Stories album comes this gorgeous piece written especially for the big day. All the words are incredibly deep, but even more so are the lyrics: 'Can I get a witness/There is salvation and rapture for the lonely/Can I get a witness/To bless this day, sacred and holy.'

2. 'The Pledge'
Brendan Benson

Indie artist Brendan Benson, also a member of rock outfit The Raconteurs, penned a fantastic song about commitment on his solo album The Alternative to Love. In it, he carefully phrases his devotion to his better half with the words 'And I promise to always love you/And never put anybody else above you.'

3. 'Here and Now'
Luther Vandross

The late, great Luther Vandross left us with this Grammy-winning ballad that cemented the moment of promise, when someone dedicates himself or herself fully to another person. The heartfelt chorus goes like this: 'Here and now/I promise to love faithfully (faithfully)/You're all I need/Here and now/I vow to be one with thee (you and me)/Your love is all I need (I need).'

4. 'I'm Yours' - Jason Mraz
I'm pretty sure Jason Mraz was thinking beyond himself when he wrote this warm and fuzz pop ditty a few years ago. A strong ally of the LGBT community, his lyrics usually have an all-inclusive ring to them, such as 'Listen to the music of the moment people, dance and sing/We're just one big family/And it's our God-forsaken right to be loved loved loved loved loved.'

5. 'At Last' - Etta James
The quintessential favorite for any landmark occasion, Etta James' most recognized single is really about celebration and knowing that your life is forever changed. The lyrics 'At last/My love has come along/My lonely days are over/And life is like a song' will never, ever get old.

6. 'Endless Love'
Diana Ross and Lionel Richie

This mega-hit from the '80s, revived in the '90s by Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey, is a powerful ballad that perfectly accentuates the joining of two people. When Ross and Richie land on the words 'Two hearts/Two hearts that beat as one/Our lives have just begun,' it's enough to make you cry with pure joy.

7. 'Come Away With Me'
Norah Jones

Getting married involves taking a leap of faith, and Norah Jones' pop-jazz title track from her debut album is a beautiful piece that sweetly proposes this exact thing. Imagine waltzing to these words at the reception: 'Come away with me and we'll kiss/On a mountaintop/Come away with me/And I'll never stop loving you.'

8. 'I Love You'
Climax Blues Band

Another oldie but goodie from the '80s, this song is a usual suspect at weddings and honeymoons. It's written from a male perspective about overcoming personal demons with the help of a partner, but it's really quite passionate with the lyrics 'If ever a man had it all/It would have to be me/And ooh I love you.'

9. 'Together Forever'
Rick Astley

Laugh if you like, but Rick Astley's dance-pop hit from way back when has a very sentimental core. It goes something like this: 'There ain't no mistaking/It's true love we're making/Something to last for all time/It's never changing/Can't you hear me, I'm saying/I want you for the rest of my life.'

10. 'I Got You Babe'
Sonny and Cher

During the hippie era, lovebirds Sonny and Cher Bono dueted on this classic number that has stood the test of time. It's especially cool when he sings to her, 'I got flowers in the spring/I got you to wear my ring,' and later she responds with 'So let them say your hair's too long/'Cause I don't care, with you I can't go wrong.'

11. 'Lovesong' - The Cure
From the alternative field, The Cure's 1989 single seems fitting for the occasion. Spelled as one word, its chorus is hard to resist with the words 'However far away/I will always love you/However long I stay/I will always love you/Whatever words I say/I will always love you/I will always love you'.

12. 'I Hope You Dance'
Lee Ann Womack

This country crossover smash by Lee Ann Womack, also performed by Oleta Adams, is more of an inspirational tune than a celebratory one, although that hasn't stopped thousands of couples from playing it on their wedding day. The best lyrics are in the first verse, when she sings, 'May you never take one single breath for granted/God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed.'

13. 'Best of My Love'
The Emotions

How 'bout a little disco at the ceremony? This dance number from female trio The Emotions has a real exuberant vibe and I see no reason not to play it after the altar kiss, as the words 'Goin' in and out of changes/The kind that come around each day/My life has a better meaning/Love has kissed me in a beautiful way' are blaring overhead.

14. 'With You
I'm Born Again'
Billy Preston & Syreeta

Personally, this is the most uplifting duet I've ever heard. I don't know if Billy Preston and Syreeta were ever an actual item, but they make it sound as if they're deeply in love when harmonizing on the words 'I was half, not whole/In step with none/Reaching through this world/In need of one.'

15. 'Yellow' - Coldplay
You could go with the obvious - 98 Degrees' 'I Do (Cherish You)' is quite satisfactory - or you could march down the aisle to something different, like Coldplay's atmospheric number from the band's early days. How can you not get goosebumps when Chris Martin sings, 'Look at the stars/Look how they shine for you/And everything you do/Yeah, they were all yellow &'?

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