Ah, the music.

We’ve had a band for many months now — but only now are we deciding what we want to play.

I want the classics: “Dead Flowers” by The Rolling Stones, “Fever” by Ella Fitzgerald and “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. I want songs that EVERYONE knows and loves. I want EVERYONE to dance. Am I asking too much? Probably.

But I have been to enough parties to know the playlist is key. (Click on the title of the song to hear it.)

So what do I have so far? First, the do not playlist — very key. Top 5 on my list:

1) “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. This song has become mandatory at all Jewish weddings. I blame the lyrics: “Fill up my cup (Drink!) Mazal tov (L’chaim!)” Good song. Way overplayed.

2) “Forever” by Chris Brown. I like this song. I even had a brilliant thought one day — “Joel, what if we walked in to that song, you know, it goes ‘Dah, dah, dah ...” “You mean ‘Forever?’” He said. “Yeah.” “Like in that YouTube video where they all dance into the church ...?” “Right.”

But that isn’t the reason “Forever” didn’t make the cut: It’s Chris Brown. Do I really want a song written by someone known for beating women? Nope!

3) “Chicken Dance”/“Maca-rena”/“Electric Slide.” Too cheesy to contemplate. Ick.

4) “Oh, What a Night” by The Four Seasons. Not only does this harken to every bar mitzvah ever, but it’s also really inappropriate. Have you ever listened to the words?

Here’s a hint: “Sweet surrender, what a night!”

5) “She Moved Through the Fair.” This Irish folksong is so beautiful. “Maybe a processional? Maybe dinner music?” I thought. And then I realized the melody was deceiving me, again.

The lyrics are unbelievably sad. The lovers never see their wedding day: “Last night she came to me. My dead love came in. ... And this she did say: ‘It will not be long, love, ‘til our wedding day.’”

So, yeah, that’s out.

That part was easy; the playlist took more thought.

I got to talking a while back with my parents’ friends whose son got married last summer and whose daughter just got engaged — mazal tov! They urged me to play songs that are recognizable so everyone will want to dance. I nodded vigorously, not knowing how I would accomplish that.

Their son agonized over the music — which was really fun on the big day — so I got in touch with him, ripping off my favorites, such as “Freefallin’” by Tom Petty and “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry for starters. Then I spent the past few months adding to that.

My mom has helped, too. When we hear something we like, we jot it down. Then share.


1) “Not Fade Away” This is a rocking love song that can — without fail — get me to dance around my house. Covered by so many rock legends, I can’t even credit one band.

3) “Let My Love Open the Door” by Pete Townshend. Double ditto. The movie “Dan in Real Life” got me to love this song all over again. I looked up the clip and then put this song on my list.

4) “Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina & The Waves. Such a silly, fun song. I am basically daring people not to kick off their shoes and dance.


1) “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry. As in “Ce la vie said the old folks ...” This is my mom’s brilliant addition.

2) “Girl from Ipenema” Ditto. This one is worth listening to. Click here if you haven’t heard it. Or haven’t heard it in a while.

4) “You Give Me Fever” by Ella Fitzgerald. We danced to this briefly at my future sister-in-law’s wedding — so I will now always associate it with happy, fun times.

5) “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by the Temptations. I grew up on this song. More specifically, I grew up dancing in my parents’ living room to this song. To me, it’s practically written in my DNA.

Slow songs

1) “You Got What I Need” by Joshua Radin. This song cropped up on “Grey’s Anatomy” episode, and it’s so heartbreakingly good: “Baby, you, you’ve got what I need. Baby, you, you’ve got my sunshine.”

2) “Everything” Michael Buble. Can’t go wrong with Michael Buble.

3) “Without You” by Keith Urban. I can only imagine this country ballad is being sung for Nicole Kidman, who married Urban in 2006: “The travelling, the singing, it don’t mean nothing without you.

“The fast cars, the guitars, they are all just second to, this life, this love that you and I have been dreaming of, for so long. It’d all be as good as gone, without you.”

4) “God Gave Me You” by Blake Sheldon. This country rockstar released this song right around his marriage to Miranda Lambert last year. I have worn YouTube out listening to this song. I think the title sums up the feeling of wonder/gratutitude at finding your soulmate.


1) “Soul Sister” Train. This is my dad’s request — and I agree, it’s definitely a song you can’t help singing.

2) “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jespen. Just tell me this hasn’t been in your head for a month. Liar. It has 142 million views on YouTube. And I’ve only watched it 42 million times. I swear.

3) “What Makes You Beautiful” One Direction. I have rocked out to many a stoplight with this one. That crazy girl bopping around? Yeah, that’s me.

4) “We Are Young” Fun. Not a dance song, I know. Not totally appropriate with the whole "Higher than the Empire State" thing. But still. 

5) “Glad You Came” The Wanted. I think this would be the perfect note to end on.

So, not too shabby. Five weeks :)

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