Pride Weddings • Music: the food of love

Posted on 29 Apr 2009 at 5:47pm
By Howard Lewis Russell Contributing Writer

A socially correct playlist can turn a ho-hum wedding into a gay ol’ time


We doubt that Manny Lehman spins at many same-sex weddings, but a DJ with a gay sensibility can make or break your reception.

Need a hint as to what the most popular gay wedding song is of all time? "Born to Be Alive," originally recorded as a disco ditty by Patrick Hernandez back in the Donna Summer heyday of 1979, spent the month of July that summer at no. 1 on the Billboard charts and has since been covered by such diverse artists as Los Nikis, PsychoSomatics, Sabrina Salerno and Nekromantix — methodically and defiantly becoming the anthem of all gays determined to stay around, get hitched and live normal lives happily ever after.

Fortunately, the wedding chapel closet door these days is wide open for gays and lesbians, who no longer have to resort to the soaring strains of "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria" as their only alternative seduction to "Here Comes the Bride." Gays and lesbians know what music is right just for them, whether they want their moment to be romantically tenderhearted, smitten and sentimental, or just plain old foolish, flippant fun.

It was only as recently as 1972 that the first gay nuptials took place. It was front page news in The Advocate when, on Feb. 26, Canadian singer and radio-television personality Michel Girouard, 27, married his accompanist, 25-year-old Regeant Tremblay. Later that same year, the two released an album together, making it all "musically official." Theirs was the first album ever recorded specifically containing gay marriage and wedding songs.

But if you’re flummoxed regarding your own perfect wedding song choice, the following three (in-no-way-definitive) lists of options may be of assistance:

Top 10 lesbian wedding songs: 1. "Born To Be Alive," Sabrina Salerno; 2. "Time After Time," Cyndi Lauper; 3. "When I Get Up," Tegan and Sara; 4. "Perfect," Doria Roberts; 5. "Beautiful," Me’Shell Ndegeocello; 6. "A Simple Love," Melissa Etheridge; 7. "Wedding Song," Tracy Chapman; 8. "Power of Two," Indigo Girls; 9. "Darling," Toshi Reagon; 10. "Close Your Eyes," k.d. lang.

Top 10 gay wedding songs: 1. "Born To Be Alive," Patrick Hernandez; 2. "The Way You Look Tonight," Rod Stewart (not Sinatra or Bennett); 3. "I Will Always Love You," Dolly Parton (not Whitney, please); 4. "After All," Cher and Peter Cetera; 5. "All My Life," America; 6. "Looking Through The Eyes Of Love," Melissa Manchester; 7. "Endless Love," Mariah Carey (not Lionel Richie and Diana Ross); 8. "In My Life," the Beatles; 9. "Your Song," Elton John; 10. "Try A Little Tenderness," Otis Redding.

Top 10 "alternative" wedding songs: 1. "Born To Be Alive," Patrick Hernandez; 2. "Stand By Your Man," Tammy Wynette; 3. "The Rose," Bette Midler; 4. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," Cyndi Lauper; 5. "She’s A Lady," Tom Jones; 6. "True Love Ways," Buddy Holly; 7. "That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be," Carly Simon; 8. "Gloria," Laura Branigan; 9. "If Not For You," Bob Dylan; 10. "I Am Woman," Helen Reddy.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 1, 2009.

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