Weddings - They are a-changing

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KennyZail

Caffiend
I was looking through my old wedding standards and comparing them to the current DJ Intelligence Top 200 list. I was surprised several have lost their appeal. :(
For example:
You Dropped a Bomb on me
Mustang Sally
I Feel Good
In the Mood
New York, New York
Taking Care of Business
Jumping Jack Flash
La Bamba
Hot Hot Hot
Conga
Start Me Up
Sharp Dressed Man
Come On Ride the Train
Whoomp There It Is
It's the End of the World
1999
Do You Love Me
 

robertbenda

Active Member
I've written about this on my website. Basically, we've been DJ'ing long enough for the demographics of the B&G's parents to change. Now, they grew up in the 70s and 80s, not with Elvis and the Beatles, and certainly not with Benny Goodman, except through their own parents, the grandparents.

For perspective:
"In the Mood" was 74 years ago. Someone who graduated from high school with it is now 92. (or... more likely, has passed on).
"Stayin Alive" is almost 40 years old, Someone who grew up with it in HS is now 58.
"Ice, Ice, Baby" is around 25 years old. Someone who grew up with it in HS is now 42.
"Yeah" by Usher is 10 years old. Someone who grew up with it in HS is now 28.

Sometimes its hard to remember just how long its been for somethings.
 

KennyZail

Caffiend
I was able to play In the Mood for the "zoot suit riot" group - not anymore. The others are still on the list Staying Alive-#78, Ice Ice Baby-#44 and Yeah-#18.

Five of the top 10 in DJ Intelligence list are quite old - #1 Don't Stop Believing-1981, #5 Living On a Pray-1987, #6 You Shook Me All Night-1980, #7 Brown Eyed Girl-1967 and #10 Sweet Caroline-1969.

I can put some the others songs in occasionally.
 

jodi

Active Member
So much music and so little time to play it!

To answer your "classic" question, I can't remember the last time I played "Could I Have This Dance" by Anne Murray, and that used to be a must play. Same for "Here and Now" by Luther Vandross.

As far as classic fast songs, I can't remember the last time I played "Staying Alive" or "I Will Survive" and I used to play "Old Time Rock and Roll" just because, and now I only play it if is specifically requested.
 

bill_smith

MobileBeat Moderator
Staff member
I think it still depends on the audience.

I never watched the TV show "glee". But, their version of the Journey song gave Don't stop believing a huge boost years back. They boosted a few other songs too. Even before that, I never played don't stop believing as a dance tune.

Livin on a prayer, it works for 40 somthings, but my mitzvah audiences would look at me like I had three heads. On the other hand, those kids will eat up the YMCA no problem if I play it, which I almost never do at weddings, and fewer requests forthe E slide too, in favor of the cha cha and c-shuffle.
 

robertbenda

Active Member
Bill, while Glee might have helped, but, Glee covered Journey because of its use in the final moments of the HBO TV series "Sopranos."

While high school kids haven't been as widely exposed, usually, to classic songs, I worked a sorority parent formal two weeks ago. 300 people total, about 100 of them being the sorority girls. The house (the college kids) instructed me to play older songs, the parents were requesting Pitbull and Katy Perry. Once I played a few newer songs, then the college kids started in with some newer music (though the house song is "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights")

*apologies. I shouldn't have had my lights flashing off and on, especially while filming*
https://vimeo.com/91857540
 

hippydog

wuz here when it was Red.
You Dropped a Bomb on me - I never played it much
Mustang Sally - I still play this song all the time.. not the floor filler it used to be,,
I Feel Good - rarely played it
In the Mood - rarely played it
New York, New York - rarely played it
Taking Care of Business - I used to play this song all the time.. for some reason I havent lately..
Jumping Jack Flash - I prefer other rolling stones songs (they work better)
La Bamba - Still a 'standard' for me.
Hot Hot Hot - I got sick of this song after it first came out.. Way overplayed, I still cringe when I hear it..
Conga - rarely played it -
Start Me Up - Still a 'standard' for me.
Sharp Dressed Man
Come On Ride the Train - Wow.. I used to play this song all the time back then.. I just heard it on the radio last week, and my first thought was "I need to bring this back! " :-)
Whoomp There It Is - Another song I used to use all the time.. I still mix it in once in a blue moon..
It's the End of the World - rarely played it (almost to the point of never LOL)
1999 - I stopped playing this after 2001 ;-)
Do You Love Me - what?
 

jodi

Active Member
Come On Ride the Train - Wow.. I used to play this song all the time back then.. I just heard it on the radio last week, and my first thought was "I need to bring this back! " :-)
Do You Love Me - what?
Today I got my May Promo Only Mainstream Radio - and C'Mon Ride The Train 2014 Jump Smokers Remix was right there! So, You DID bring it back :)

Do You Love Me by The Contours is one of the songs that was SUPER popular because of Dirty Dancing ..... like any of those already mentioned, right crowd right song know your audience yada yada yada
 

djtunes

Checking Reality
Remember that list is song requests by the clients aka. young bride they're also not all from weddings. So don't be afraid to play to the older people as usual off and on throughout the reception. A great blowout song for me is Shout. It always gets them all going all guests of all ages. It's true that a lot of times older people will request new stuff. No matter how old I get I'm sure I'll always want to stay up to date with new music and will still love my "Oldies" you know like the good ol' days of the late 90's. :) I know another concept is recognizing songs that were popular when that person was in H.S. but there is music I really love that is from the years after H.S. that I like just as much or more. Hell I love the songs Wake Me Up & Hey Brother.

Then once you get them entertained & drunk they'll go along with anything you do. :)
 

Chuck Amstone

Active Member
Here's some I haven't played in long long while.

Love shack
Mony mony
Chicken Dance
Macarena
YMCA
In The Mood

Basically oldies now is 90's music. I've been playing long enough that oldies was 50's & 60's.

Times have changed.
 

Ausumm

Active Member
I was wondering if anyone else has some classic wedding songs that they seldom use anymore...
Pretty much anything from the 50's and 60's.

I still get plenty of requests for "oldies"....
but as you know, you have to ask how old THEY are are, and what songs THEY consider as "oldies".
 

KennyZail

Caffiend
YES, Mike. Think back when you got married, you were probably 20 something and "oldies" to you were music from 15-20 years ago.
If you got married in 1975 - then 1955-1960 (doo wop) were your oldies.
If you got married in 1985 - then 1965-1970 (Motown) were your oldies.
If you got married in 1995 - then 1975-1980 (disco) were your oldies.
If you got married in 2005 [you'll be celebrating your 10th anniversary soon] - then 1985-1990 (Blondie & Madonna) were your oldies.
Scary isn't it!!!
 

DJSTEVEZ

DJ Emeritus
A Different Spin

Yes, so many songs just naturally "age out", but I think there's a larger trend going on.

There is a more dramatic breaking away from traditions than I can ever recall. This is both a macro trend in getting married as well as a micro trend we DJs readily observe in the way B&Gs want their reception to go & flow.

It's a well documented National trend that many B&Gs are foregoing the purchase of extravagant engagement rings and rather pooling their money to place a down payment on a home. In my day, in my market, you would never ask a woman you love to marry you without presenting a ring that's sporting a center stone of at least 1 full carat. The other C's have to be well represented as well, so depending on how deep your pockets are, you're not getting out of the jewelry shop or logging off from Blue Nile for anything less than $10 to $15K. Remember, I said my market. Today, many Millennials can easily easily scratch together a pool of $30 to $40K in order to make a down payment. In order to do so, simple seems to be the order of the day when it comes to designing their wedding. That's just 1 trend that's more macro in nature.

The micro trends I have seen can be directly related to the annual list of the most annoying things about weddings. Long drawn out ceremonies, reception lines, the garter, long speeches (other than the MOH & the BM) and a general pairing down of formalities and an increase in dance floor time. I also see a departure from the over-the-top approach. Cigar rollers were once a must have, not so much today. While photo-booths are still popular, not too many orders for 2 flat screens with remote controlled, live action, robo-cams.

It would seem that out of the recession has come a very fresh and frugal approach to getting married. Arguably the recession has been a fact of life for 7 years. For many of today's Millennials that includes much of their high school life and all of their college years. In many respects, the current crop of prospective B&G come from have a very different view & orientation on what getting married means and what a wedding reception should be. This parallels the unprecedented trend of years of consecutive reduction in credit card spending. -Z-
 
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KennyZail

Caffiend
The macros - many college grads still looking for a decent job, has made those who are paying for their own wedding more of a price shopper.
Geographics/demographics has a lot to do with the business. When I gigged in Chicago weddings were 6 hours, usually "family style", full bar, church ceremonies and 200+ guests - [might be different now]. When I came to Atlanta it was 4 hour weddings, buffet, beer and wine, outdoor ceremonies and 80-130 guests.

When I started - if there was a DJ at a wedding that meant the bride/groom could not afford a band and a DJ was the equivalent of cutting grass or washing cars for a living. Now DJs have status, are found in TV commercials and create hit songs.

Micros - there are more "age generations" attending weddings meaning oldies can be from the last 50-60 years where it used to mean the last 15-20 years. Many brides & grooms are more "picky" with song selection and want to put their flavor of music in the reception because there is just so much music out there. Where before there was primarily 3 types of music Top 40, R & B and Country (plus ethnic), now there is 40-50 different genres from Club and Alternative to Urban and Trance, besides the standard Top 40 and Country ( plus remixes). I think DJs have it much tougher now.
 

djgulfcoast

Mobile DJ Alabama
Occasionally, Youtube impacts song selection. Further fragmentation of music formats doesn't help either. I play very few songs from the 50's & 60's. Certain disco selections from the 70's still do well. Footloose, Prince, Journey, etc.for the 80's. I agree with Chuck, the songs he listed have fallen off. I'm also seeing more of the "interactive" songs like the Electric Slide on the list. In some cases, groups wanna hang out on the dance floor and don't dance (and in some case take pictures and text), but at the end of the evening say they had a great time. A shift in both music and attitude.
 

robertbenda

Active Member
Occasionally, Youtube impacts song selection. Further fragmentation of music formats doesn't help either. I play very few songs from the 50's & 60's. Certain disco selections from the 70's still do well. Footloose, Prince, Journey, etc.for the 80's. I agree with Chuck, the songs he listed have fallen off. I'm also seeing more of the "interactive" songs like the Electric Slide on the list. In some cases, groups wanna hang out on the dance floor and don't dance (and in some case take pictures and text), but at the end of the evening say they had a great time. A shift in both music and attitude.
Youtube is just another means of exposure of songs. Before, it was only the radio or TV/movies... like when I suddenly had to start playing 'Thriller' at high school dances, largely because of a movie. Or, growing up, every once in a while an older song would pop back up on the Top 40 station. YouTube just adds another way for anyone to connect with something they've never heard before.

We play fewer older songs (like from the 50s/60s) because, well, they're getting even older. The people who grew up listening to the 50's, as they happened, are now 80+ years old. As time continues to pass, people have had less and less exposure to those songs from ANY source. The B&G today, their parents didn't grow up in the 50s anymore. They're children of the Bee Gees, Tina Turner, BTO, and even into Def Leppard and the hair band 80s.

One way we used to hear these old songs was movies. Except they mine nostalgia, usually of the people making them, so it's generally the culture of 20 years ago. For me, growing up, that's how I heard the Righteous Brothers the first time, but Top Gun is now 30 years old, and Ghost is 25. A B&G (and their friends) have likely never seen those movies. Their movies now are farming the 80's and 90s for music. "Madagascar" used "I Like to Move It," Ice Age had Rusted Root's "Send Me On My Way," 13 Going on 30 used "Thriller."

There is nothing wrong with any of this. It's not even new. It's always been this way. The difference is, what is normal or expected, for each of us, is what we grew up with or learned back when... but now enough time has passed that the base line of cultural experience for a 25 year old has shifted away from what we're used to because we're not 25 anymore. I'm now dead split between the ages of my B&G and their parents. I'm just old enough to remember thinking MC Hammer was cool for real, not ironically or because of nostalgia. That's OK. It's one reason I like to do school dances... it helps keep me in tune, at least a bit, with whats coming up, rather than being stuck in 1998, when I started DJ'ing weddings.

Keep learning, or get left behind.
 
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djgulfcoast

Mobile DJ Alabama
Youtube is just another means of exposure of songs. Before, it was only the radio or TV/movies... like when I suddenly had to start playing 'Thriller' at high school dances, largely because of a movie. Or, growing up, every once in a while an older song would pop back up on the Top 40 station. YouTube just adds another way for anyone to connect with something they've never heard before.

We play fewer older songs (like from the 50s/60s) because, well, they're getting even older. The people who grew up listening to the 50's, as they happened, are now 80+ years old. As time continues to pass, people have had less and less exposure to those songs from ANY source. The B&G today, their parents didn't grow up in the 50s anymore. They're children of the Bee Gees, Tina Turner, BTO, and even into Def Leppard and the hair band 80s.

One way we used to hear these old songs was movies. Except they mine nostalgia, usually of the people making them, so it's generally the culture of 20 years ago. For me, growing up, that's how I heard the Righteous Brothers the first time, but Top Gun is now 30 years old, and Ghost is 25. A B&G (and their friends) have likely never seen those movies. Their movies now are farming the 80's and 90s for music. "Madagascar" used "I Like to Move It," Ice Age had Rusted Root's "Send Me On My Way," 13 Going on 30 used "Thriller."

There is nothing wrong with any of this. It's not even new. It's always been this way. The difference is, what is normal or expected, for each of us, is what we grew up with or learned back when... but now enough time has passed that the base line of cultural experience for a 25 year old has shifted away from what we're used to because we're not 25 anymore. I'm now dead split between the ages of my B&G and their parents. I'm just old enough to remember thinking MC Hammer was cool for real, not ironically or because of nostalgia. That's OK. It's one reason I like to do school dances... it helps keep me in tune, at least a bit, with whats coming up, rather than being stuck in 1998, when I started DJ'ing weddings.

Keep learning, or get left behind.
Robert,

Great observation, and very true.
 

Ausumm

Active Member
I had a wedding this past weekend.
Before that, I hadn't done on since last Fall...so I was feeling pretty rusty.
I tried very hard to remember those kinds of songs that I had not played in a long time.
I had to refer to an "All Time Party Favorites" list to jog my memory.
So not only am I not playing them, I am forgetting them, too!
 

DJSTEVEZ

DJ Emeritus
I had a wedding this past weekend.
Before that, I hadn't done on since last Fall...so I was feeling pretty rusty.
I tried very hard to remember those kinds of songs that I had not played in a long time.
I had to refer to an "All Time Party Favorites" list to jog my memory.
So not only am I not playing them, I am forgetting them, too!
I hate, no, HATE, to admit this, but for Weddings, I keep the MB Top 200 list handy in my browser. I'm not dependent on it, but I like being able to use it as something against which to check my choices (not individual choices, but over the course of the event) and to jog my memory.
http://www.mobilebeat.com/top-200/
 
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