As a wedding DJ I’ve seen my fair share of funny things over the years, like the drunk Cindy Lauper fan who stood in front of my setup yelling “Cindy! Cindy! Girls just want to have fun!”
To which I replied, “Bob! Bob! No girls want to have fun with you!”
That’s not completely true. I called him Dave.
Then there was the time when the bride’s Uncle Louie, an Alan Jackson fan, ran across the dance floor naked wearing only a cowboy hat, shouting “It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere!”
Ah, the life of a wedding DJ. Getting paid to play music, calm panicky brides, deal with drunks and find Uncle Louie’s pants.
Once, a brawl broke out between two drunk men. No problem. I quickly switched from Queen’s “We Will Rock You” to the Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men.” The crowd began to laugh and the men stopped fighting. Later that night the men were spotted with Bob dancing to “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.”
At another wedding, as the party approached midnight, I saw the tell-tale flashing red and blue lights of the police coming to shut things down. When they arrived I immediately switch to the theme song for the COPS TV show. The officers had a good laugh and left with a warning to turn it down. Moral of the story: Make the cops laugh and you can party for another two hours.
Now, one might think that, as a wedding DJ, I’ve grown tired of certain songs, such as the “Chicken Dance,” “Happy” and “Uptown Funk.” And you’d be right. Those are my top candidates for placing in a rocket and firing it into the sun. Good riddance! Unfortunately, those songs — and many others that should be put out to pasture — are still hugely popular at weddings.
I know what you’re thinking: “How much alcohol does one have to drink to actually enjoy the “Macarena?” I get it. It’s a mystery. Why, when there are hundreds of thousands of songs released each year, do people want to listen to the same ones over and over? The reason may be rooted in science, according to the International Association of Earworms (IAE). During a 5-year experiment, a group of IAE scientists placed tiny headphones on the end of earthworms and played Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” over and over.
At first, the results of the experiment was inconclusive (the scientists inadvertently placed the tiny headphones on the wrong end of the worms). Once they cleaned off the headphones and put them on the correct end, the worms immediately created their own Meghan Trainor fan club, launched a Facebook page and planned to follow her on tour. A small faction of worms, however, rose up in rebellion and tried to strangle the scientists with the headphones, chanting “No more bass!” “No more bass!”
When I first started DJing at weddings, I learned the hard way which songs should not be played. These are songs that are likely to make grandma blush and the bride burst out in tears. For newbie DJs, I’ve created a list of the Top 5 Songs not to play:
•“Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division. Nothing like the threat of dismemberment to spoil the mood.
•“A Man Needs A Maid” by Neil Young. Any groom who requests this song can expect to move back in with mom.
•“All My Ex’s Live in Texas” by George Strait. How many women does one have to marry before you can no longer live in one of the country’s biggest states?
•“Separate Ways” by Journey. The only thing worse than this song is lead singer Steve Perry’s huge 80s-style mullet.
•“A Quick One While He’s Away” by The Who. This one is sure to discourage the new groom from going on business trips anytime soon.
As you can see, being a wedding DJ is not without peril. However, if you ever play the wrong song you can always distract people from your mistake by playing “It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere.”
Uncle Louie will take care of the rest.
Scott Graves was editor of the Curry Coastal Pilot from September 2000 to November 2017. He can be reached by calling 541-469-3123 or firstname.lastname@example.org