Rocking and rolling in the aisle

With the royal nuptials fast approaching, Gillian Orr picks a dozen classic wedding songs – but will they make next Friday's playlist?

You can listen to this playlist via Spotify at http://ind.pn/gMUfJM



Jimmy Soul

If You Wanna Be Happy (1963)

This No 1 hit offers the somewhat dubious advice to men that by marrying an ugly girl they will secure a lifetime of happiness, so eternally grateful she will be that you were able to look past her unfortunate visage. Apparently, she'll be so willing to please that even your meals will always be served on time. Despite its upbeat tempo and seemingly joyful spirit, playing this song on your wedding day should be avoided unless the bride is so dazzlingly beautiful that you are obviously being totally ironic. Or if she has a very good sense of humour indeed.

Chuck Berry

You Never Can Tell (1964)

The giant of rock'n'roll wrote this rather sweet paean to marrying young while he was incarcerated in 1962, before it went on to reach cult status in 1994 when John Travolta and Uma Thurman boogied down to it in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. After the "teenage wedding", the couple go on to find work, prosperity, happiness and make a nice little life for each other, which, just as the old folks point out in the song, "Goes to show you never can tell".

Bruce Springsteen

The River (1981)

While everything might turn out peachy for Chuck Berry's teenage couple, Springsteen's adolescent lovers in "The River" aren't so fortunate. After his girlfriend gets pregnant, the narrator marries her when he turns 19, and he gets "a union card and a wedding coat" for his birthday. Far from a happy occasion for the young, poor couple, we're told there are: "No wedding day smiles/ No walk down the aisle/ No flowers/ No wedding dress". Burdened with responsibility and struggling to find work, our narrator is haunted by their carefree youth spent on the banks of the river, and he finds himself returning there, only now "the river is dry". Heartbreaking stuff.

The Dixie Cups

Chapel of Love (1964)

Originally written for The Ronettes, "Chapel of Love" was The Dixie Cups' biggest hit. Weddings were a constant theme in the music of the Sixties – the dream of the handsome prince sweeping a girl off her feet and the two of them disappearing into improbable quantities of lace and confetti were a recurring image. Rather sweet for a song co-written by Phil Spector, the trio harmonise to celebrate that "Today's the day we'll say 'I do'/ And we'll never be lonely anymore".

The White Stripes

Hotel Yorba (2001)

Taken from the duo's third album, White Blood Cells, this infectious, delightful two-minute blues-rock ditty follows a man who is trying to plan a future with his girl. Dreaming of getting "a little place down by the lake" he finally pleas to her, "Let's get married/ In a big cathedral by a priest/ Cos if I'm the man that you love the most/ You could say 'I do' at least". Famously, Jack and Meg White were actually married, although they insisted that they were siblings for a number of years to keep the focus on the music rather than their relationship. In fact, they had divorced a year before this track was released.

The Carpenters

We've Only Just Begun (1970)

A celebration of a young couple who are just starting their lives together, so far there has just been "White lace and promises/ A kiss for luck". Whether you think the newlyweds are naïve in thinking that they have "so many roads to choose" or you find the song to be a beautiful homage to young love probably depends on age and experience. Whatever your feelings, in 1998 the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which honours recordings that are at least 25 years old and have "qualitative or historical significance".

Freda Payne

Band of Gold (1970)

Opening with the lament, "Now that you're gone/ All that's left is a band of gold", Payne turned down the forlorn track when it was first offered to her. Luckily, she eventually reconsidered: the record went on to spend six weeks at No 1 in 1970. The song charts the demise of a marriage, starting with ominous beginnings when the newlyweds spend their first night together on their honeymoon in separate rooms. It has gone on to be covered many times, proving that getting your heart broken really is the perennial human experience.

Darlene Love

(Today I Met) The Boy I'm Going to Marry (1963)

There's a simple, charming sentiment behind this Phil Spector-produced hit: girl meets boy, falls in love and instantly knows that they'll spend their lives together. "Today I met the boy I'm gonna marry/ The boy whose life and dreams and love I wanna share" croons the majestic Love, over Spector's signature Wall of Sound. Unlike Freda Payne's sad wedding ring that she is left with, Love receives "The band of gold I'd always dreamed I'd wear."

Billy Idol

White Wedding (1982)

An Eighties rock classic, on release it was believed that the line "Hey little sister who is it you're with?" hinted that the somewhat menacing track was about Idol's own anger when his younger, unmarried sibling fell pregnant. Idol went on to rubbish the reports, claiming the song was nothing but fantasy. For those who find the track and the accompanying goth-tastic video just the wrong side of camp, Queens of the Stone Age do a fantastic stripped-down cover.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

Mistaken Wedding (2010)

This trippy little number was released as a B-side to the band's single "Round and Round". The rather surreal accompanying video includes real-life footage of a wedding day, with the inimitable Ariel Pink himself superimposed onto the hotel reception, resembling some sort of unfortunate wedding singer, warbling along and smoking. We can only assume he was trying to sound like a drunk Elvis impersonator on purpose.

Laura Nyro

Wedding Bell Blues (1966)

Written from the perspective of a girl whose boyfriend, Bill, is yet to pop the question, she ponders, "Am I ever going to see my wedding day?" and includes the plea, "Come on and marry me, Bill!" Written at the age of 18, the phrase "wedding bell blues" was invented by Nyro and has gone on to become shorthand for anyone anxious over the prospect of marriage, lending itself to a number of book titles, films and television show episodes.

Pulp

Modern Marriage (2006)

Although recorded as part of their 1998 album, This Is Hardcore, "Modern Marriage" didn't get released until 2006 when Pulp issued a deluxe edition bonus disc, which included this track that sees Jarvis Cocker attempt to create a new set of wedding vows more suited to the modern day. Over a slightly foreboding organ, the typically wry Cocker humorously replaces the traditional "Love, honour and obey" with a promise to "Never smoke all your stash if I happen to find it whilst tidying up. Which, let's face it, isn't likely." Who said romance was dead?



You can listen to this playlist via Spotify at http://ind.pn/gMUfJM

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones