First dance songs that haven’t been done to death

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 | Photography by Alexandra Roberts Photography

Not that I have anything against Etta James' “At Last” or Michael Buble's “Everything,” — they're both perfect first dance songs — but I've heard them both WAY too many times at weddings. So, combining my database of musician friends (some of whom made the list) with the Offbeat Bride editorial team's tastes, we've compiled a list of totally not overused first dance songs… from the silly, to the romantic, to the extremely controversial!

Oldies but Goodies — along the same lines of “At Last”

  • The Beach Boys “God Only Knows” (hear it)
  • Shuggie Otis' “Strawberry Letter 23” (hear it)
  • Marvin Gaye's “Let's Get it On” (hear it)
  • Otis Redding's “That's How Strong My Love Is” (hear it)
  • Van Morrison's “Sweet Thing” (hear it)
  • The Zombies' “This Will Be Our Year” (hear it)
  • The Kinks “Waterloo Sunset” (hear it)
  • Toussaint McCall's “Nothing Takes The Place Of You” (hear it)
  • Al Green's “Love and Happiness” (hear it)

Sexy Romantic

  • (Ariel's) Me'Shell Ndegéocello's “Love Song #1” (hear it)
  • Ben Folds' “The Luckiest” (hear it)
  • Peter Gabriel's “In Your Eyes” (hear it)
  • Massive Attack's “One Love” (hear it)
  • Mazzy Star's “Fade Into You” (hear it)
  • Portishead's “All Mine” (hear it)
  • Lou Reed's “Perfect Day” (hear it)

Wonky ‘n Fun

  • Adam Sandler's “I Wanna Grow Old With You” (hear it)
  • The “Family Matters” theme song “As Days Go By” (hear it)
  • Doris Day's “A Bushel And A Peck” (hear it)
  • The Velvet Underground's “I'm Sticking with You” (hear it)
  • The Band's “Cripple Creek” (hear it)
  • Toto's “Africa” (hear it)
  • Sam Hart's “Mario Kart Love Song” (hear it)
  • Rick Roll those bitches!

Indie

  • (Megan's) Pavement's “We Dance” (hear it)
  • Jon Brion's “Here We Go” (hear it)
  • Neko Case's “This Tornado Loves You” (hear it)
  • Sufan Stevens' “The Dress Looks Nice On You” (hear it)
  • Wilco “I'm the Man Who Loves You” (hear it)
  • The Cure's “Friday I'm in Love” (hear it)
  • Bright Eyes' “First Day of my Life” (hear it)
  • Nick Drake's “Northern Sky” (hear it)
  • The Pixie's “La La Love You” (hear it)

SUPER Indie

  • Bird and the Bee “My Love” (hear it)
  • Obi Best “Nothing Can Come Between Us” (you can get a free mp3 here)
  • The Moldy Peaches' “Anyone Else but You” (hear it)
  • The Mountain Goats' “No Children” (hear it) — yes, some people find this song controversial!
  • Jeff Mangum's “I Love How You Love Me” (hear it)
  • She & Him's “I Was Made For You” (hear it)
  • Captain Beefheart's “I'm Glad” (hear it)

Jazzin' — along the same lines of Michael Buble

  • Sara Gazarek's “Makes Me Feel This Way” (hear it) or her version of “You Are My Sunshine” (hear it)
  • Harry Connick Jr.'s “Come By Me” (hear it)
  • Kurt Elling's “I Feel So Smoochie” (hear it)
  • Jamie Cullum's “I Think, I Love” (hear it)
  • Renee Olstead's ” A Love That Will Last” (hear it)

Upbeat Swingin'

  • (Shrie's) Chuck Barry's “You Never Can Tell” (hear it)
  • Barry Louis Polisar's “All I Want Is You” (hear it)
  • Sly & the Family Stone's “You Can Make It If You Try” (hear it)
  • Huey “Piano” Smith's “Little Liza Jane” (hear it)

Laidback Easy-Peasy

  • Mayer Hawthorne's “Make Her Mine” (hear it)
  • Cat Power's version of “Sea of Love” (hear it)
  • Peter Gabriel's “Book of Love” (hear it)
  • Air's “Playground Love” (hear it)
  • The Fruit Bat's “When U Love Somebody” (hear it)

Dark and Romantic

  • Judas Priest's “Angel” (hear it)
  • Rammstein's “Ohne Dich” (hear it with English translation)
  • Type O Negative's “Love You to Death” (hear it)
  • Stone Temple Pilots' “Still Remains” (hear it)
  • Incubus' “Monuments and Melodies” (hear it)
  • Killswitch Engage's “My Curse” (hear it)
  • HIM's “Join Me In Death” (hear it)

Oh, you want more?

Comments on First dance songs that haven’t been done to death

  1. My brother and his wife used “Girlfriend” (“Summertime Rolls”) by Janes Addiction. It didn’t go over well with the ‘rents, but everyone else loved it. (hear it)

    • My mom hates the original of this song, but loves the cover version by Puracane, slower and more traditionally “pretty,” but just as sweet, subversive, and sexy.

  2. My fiancee is a huge Goo Goo Dolls fan and he has the sheet music from Iris tatooed on his back. So he’s going to record a version of Iris for us to dance together to.

  3. Okay! We’re getting ladies who are pretty heated up about the “‘No Children’ controversy of 2010” but I’d like to point out that a few former OBBs have used that song much to their delight, including this wedding. So let’s keep the comments respectful. And let’s hear more ideas!

  4. When we started our wedding planning, the first song was the first thing that was taken care of. My husband said “I’m on it.” Who knew it was that improtant to him? I should have know since he is in a band…

    We used “I love how you love me” but rather than the original or one of the many covers, he went a step further and got a whole new cover. My husband is friends with Jonah Matranga from Far who will record any song you want on a sliding scale. He did an AMAZING job and we gave a CD of his song and the original music the best man composed for the ceremony as favors.

      • I love Jonah! He’s the best! We’ll definitely have “Oh I’m so lucky” and “smile” aaaand “I want you to be my witness”!

    • our song is :Stand by Me: by Ben E King…dating myself I know, but it never fails to move me when i hear it and we’ve been married 25 years now…sigh…its wonderful to still be in love

  5. AAAAAH!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE that Cat Power – Sea of Love is on here. That won’t be our first dance song (not sure we’re even having a first dance) but that is OUR song! We heard a few different versions of it randomly together at different events when we started dating and it just stuck! *swoon*

  6. i think we’re going to use tracy chapman’s “you’re the one.” (hear it) i love how it’s not super gooey-lovey-dovey; i think the realism of it makes it so much more romantic than a lot of more traditional ones (not that i don’t adore some ooey-gooey sappy songs! i just want something more meaningful for this)

  7. oldies — “Calico Skies” by the Beatles (hear it)
    indie — “Jesus, Etc” by Wilco (hear it)
    indie folk — “Love Serenade” by the Waifs (hear it)
    “Tango” by Patty Larkin (or anything off her new “25” album… it’s 25 love songs, but not lovey-dovey songs… some are sad, some are beautiful, some are just weird…) (hear it)
    “you” (from Kitchen Radio album) or “you meet the nicest people in your dreams” by Peter Mulvey (hear it)

    • Calico Skies is actually a Paul McCartney Song, not a Beatles song. It’s off his album Flaming Pie, which was released in 1997.

  8. We are dancing to “Oh,It is Love” by Hellogoodbye, sung as a duet by the best man and my fiance’s sister. Its kinda one of our songs (we have many!). I’m really looking forward to it! (hear it)

    • We just decided on “Oh, It Is Love!” How did you dance to it? Neither one of us are very good dancers. We always pictured a slow song as our first dance. Now we’re terrified lol. But we love this song. It suits us so well.

  9. Not sure if there’s going to be a way for us to have a first dance given the way our wedding’s rolling, but if we have the option, we might use “This Must Be the Place” by Talking Heads. David Byrne <3 (hear it)

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