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The Least Appropriate Wedding Songs Ever

Planning a wedding involves a lot of decision-making. After all, not only is it the bride and groom's special day, but it also necessitates being special in front of as many people as they can afford to feed. Sometimes, between deciding on the cummerbund color, the bachelor-party policy and the cake flavor, the music styling can get lost. All Things Considered recently asked its listeners and commenters to send in stories about the worst choices for wedding songs they've ever encountered.

Apparently, there's no shortage of people who make misguided choices for wedding processions, father-daughter dances, cake-cuttings and everything in between. Here are five of the least appropriate songs ever heard at weddings, but if you've heard something even worse, send us your story.

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Transcript

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

We recently asked listeners to help our music Web site, nprmusic.org, build some summer playlists. And among the requests, we asked you tell us about the least appropriate song that you've heard at a wedding. Well, apparently, quite a lot of people make misguided music choices for processions, for father-daughter dances, for cake cuttings and it seems everything else in between.

Some of you told us stories about laughing so hard, the pews seemed to be shaking. And some of you admitted to making innocent mistakes of your own. Most surprising to us were the several listeners who discovered that they were not the first to hear "Send in the Clowns" as the bride walked up the aisle.

(Soundbite of song, "Send in the Clowns")

Ms. JUDY COLLINS (Singer): (Singing) …don't bother, they're here.

NORRIS: An interesting choice, as you send in the bride. Well, NPR's Frannie Kelley is here, and she's got more from our listeners. Welcome, Frannie.

FRANNIE KELLEY: Thanks, Michele.

NORRIS: Among all the responses that you heard, what would you say was the most ridiculous? Not to pass judgment, but what surprised you most?

KELLEY: Well, I have a few. "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'" by the Righteous Brothers.

(Soundbite of song, "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'")

THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS (Singers): (Singing) Whoa, that loving feeling. You've lost that loving feeling, now it's gone, gone, gone, whoa.

NORRIS: I have this vision of a bride walking down the aisle and people trying to keep their faces straight, thinking what, what, what am I hearing? Because I always thought this was a breakup song.

KELLEY: Well, I think it is. But I think that it points to something that's happening a lot, at least among our commenters, that people just chose songs they really like, and they didn't listen to the words.

NORRIS: Well, now, how do wedding guests respond when they do hear these? Do they talk about that - what people were doing in the pews?

KELLEY: Well, the problem came whenever somebody played a song about cheating or betrayal or one-night stands, then people started taking bets, actually, on how long the marriage was going to last. We got a lot of comments about people saying, you know, that was only going to be a six-monther.

NORRIS: You mean people in the audience at the wedding are making bets?

KELLEY: At the wedding, at the tables, at the reception. You know, if you choose a bad song, your marriage isn't fated well.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NORRIS: My goodness. Now, what about stories that listeners sent in about their own weddings? Because it's easy to talk about somebody else's wedding and maybe chuckle a little bit about a choice that somebody else made, but did people talk about the choices that they made at their own weddings?

KELLEY: Well, sure. I mean, some of these were innocent mistakes, like "Every Breath You Take" by the Police. You know, you think it's a nice song, but it's actually a creepy, you know, stalker-ish breakup tune.

(Soundbite of song, "Every Breath You Take")

THE POLICE (Band): (Singing) Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I'll be watching you.

NORRIS: Who chooses the music, the bride or the groom or someone else? Leave that to the wedding planner?

KELLEY: Well, some were brides. Some were actually brides' mothers. "Send in the Clowns" was chosen by someone's mother, and she apparently defends her choice to this day.

NORRIS: Huh, someone who really likes Judy Collins a whole lot.

KELLEY: I guess.

NORRIS: And is it - when they're playing this music, are they playing the actual song, or is there an ensemble off in the corner at the temple or the church or the wedding hall, wherever this is happening - playing some version of "Send in the Clowns" or "Every Breath You Take" or some other big '80s hit?

KELLEY: Well, it depends. One commenter said that her husband actually serenaded her with "The Lady is a Tramp."

NORRIS: You're kidding.

KELLEY: No, true story. They're now celebrating their…

NORRIS: The Frank Sinatra version of…

KELLEY: Well, I'm not sure he sounded like Sinatra.

NORRIS: Okay, now, who wrote that response - the husband or the wife?

KELLEY: Let me read this to you. This is actually the wife. This is Jennifer Hollingsworth(ph), who says that they're now about to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.

NORRIS: And what did she have to say about her husband's choice of music?

KELLEY: Apparently she's used to it.

NORRIS: When people choose music for their wedding ceremony, does it say something about who they are as individuals or as a couple, or are they trying, in some cases, to make a subtle joke?

KELLEY: I think it depends on the couple. And I saw this a lot in the comments from people on second marriages, actually, were saying, you know, we did this all serious the first time, but now we're going to lighten up and not - so one commenter actually kept it all serious and lovely and formal for the wedding, but then when they were introduced as a couple for the first time, they played "I'm Just a Gigolo" by Louis Prima.

(Soundbite of song, "Just a Gigolo")

Mr. LOUIS PRIMA (Singer): (Singing) I'm just a gigolo.

Unidentified People: (Singing) Gigolo.

Mr. PRIMA: (Singing) And everywhere I go.

Unidentified People: (Singing) Gigolo.

Mr. PRIMA: (Singing) People know the part I'm playing.

Unidentified People: (Singing) Gigolo, gigolo, gigolo.

NORRIS: Frannie, thanks so much. This has been fun.

KELLEY: Thanks, Michele. It was awesome.

(Soundbite of song, "Just a Gigolo")

Mr. PRIMA: (Singing) Oh, what they're saying.

Unidentified People: (Singing) Gigolo, gigolo, gigolo.

Mr. PRIMA: (Singing) There will come a day when youth will pass away…

NORRIS: Frannie Kelley is a producer at nprmusic. Today we kick off a summer series on party music. We have recommendations on what to play or not to play at weddings, kids' birthdays or keggers. Those are nprmusic.org.

(Soundbite of song, "Just a Gigolo")

Mr. PRIMA: (Singing) Just a gigolo.

Unidentified People: (Singing) Gigolo.

Mr. PRIMA: (Singing) Everywhere I go.

Unidentified People: (Singing) Gigolo, gigolo.

Mr. PRIMA: (Singing) People know the part I'm playing.

Unidentified People: (Singing) Gigolo, gigolo, gigolo.

Mr. PRIMA: (Singing) Paper evidence.

Unidentified People: (Singing) Gigolo.

Mr. PRIMA: (Singing) Selling each romance.

Unidentified People: (Singing) Gigolo.

Mr. PRIMA: (Singing) Oh, what they're saying.

Unidentified People: (Singing) Gigolo, gigolo, gigolo.

Mr. PRIMA: (Singing) And there will come a day when youth will pass away…

NORRIS: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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