Top 10 Oldies Songs for Weddings


Wedding songs are timeless, and this list of the Top 10 most popular and enduring songs fron the 50s, 60s, and 70s proves it — covering oldies that are always popular at the reception and songs about marriage itself.

“Always and Forever,” Heatwave

It’s informed so much R&B in the past few decades that even the most lenient rock scholar would hesitate before calling this 1976 R&B epic a true “oldie.” It breathes and moves with a very old-fashioned kind of soul; listen close and you can practically hear the ghosts of Motown and doo-wop in the voices. Besides, this is one of the most touching and honest pledges of fidelity ever to hit the Top 40, which may be why this song holds the top spot as the most requested wedding song of recent years. It takes a heart of stone to resist it.

“We’ve Only Just Begun,” The Carpenters

Before “Always and Forever” claimed the title, this groovy ballad from 1970 was the standard song of choice with which to celebrate nuptials. It’s easy to see why: Karen Carpenter’s voice remains a natural wonder in itself, and the sentiment is (literally) tailor-made for the ceremony, having been penned by Paul Williams for a commercial featuring newlyweds. It’s practically a blueprint for a happy marriage: “talking it over, just the two of us, working together day by day… together.” Top that, Dr. Phil.

“Chapel of Love,” The Dixie Cups

A perennial favorite at weddings, and how could it not be? Any song which starts with three girls singing “Going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married” acapella is bound to be a hit, and you can bet the folks behind this 1964 hit knew it. This girl-group classic, like many others, has a singsongish, almost childlike quality to it… it’s easy to see little girls using this as the background for their future wedding fantasies. Which may be part of its charm. Circle of life and all that.

“Unchained Melody,” The Righteous Brothers

We can probably thank the hit movie Ghost for elevating this song’s popularity up to the status of their biggest hit, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” No matter. The faux brothers’ very real blend of voices define blue-eyed soul, and since no one would ever play that other song at a wedding, this one gets the nod. It unfolds beautifully, slowly, like a flower opening, and then soars to Spectoresque heights of operatic ecstasy. Would that all relationships worked like this song does.

“Cherish,” The Association

This classic from the mid-Sixties’ greatest purveyor of romantic pop vocalese is actually about a man yearning for a woman he can’t possibly have, but never mind. The song, like so many from the Assocation’s greatest period, floats on clouds of romance so heavenly that the mere act of being in love starts to seem like a noble gesture, unrequited or otherwise. How can someone possibly cherish another person who doesn’t love them, some of you might ask? But it happens. Every day.

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