This week The Knot offers “10 New First Dance Songs.” The first is a Sam Cooke song. Sam Cooke died in 1964, so you can tell that The Knot is operating under a wonky definition of “new.” But per usual, defying logic is only the beginning of The Knot’s offensiveness.
The second song suggestion is the Mamas and the Papas recording of “Dream a Little Dream of Me.”
Ok. So, Mama Cass sings lead vocal on that track, and I just Wiki’d it and the single was released under her name alone in the UK, but… uh… you know what the Mamas and the Papas make me think about immediately? RAPE AND INCEST. Why, why why, whywhywhywhywhywhywhywhy, why why WHY is The Knot recommending anyone have their first wedding dance to a song by the Mamas and the Papas when we only learned last fall that Papa John raped his daughter a bunch of times? Why don’t they at least attempt to bill the song as by Mama Cass to avoid that association by their readers? [And honestly I don't think that would be good enough for me. If they recommended "How Do You Talk to an Angel" I would think about Jamie Walters' 90210 character Ray Pruit being a loose reworking of his character on the Aaron Spelling-produced series The Heights, and about how Michelle Phillips played one of the Brenda replacements' moms on Nine Oh, and then think about John Phillips, and then think about rape and incest, and probably decide that alone disqualifies "How Do You Talk to an Angel."]
Ok. So, to repeat: any song that employs a YouTube embed with John Phillips’ face in the background? UNACCEPTABLE WEDDING SONG.
I am working on a Unified Theory of Automatic Disqualifications for First Dance Songs. For example, no songs that prominently feature a first name different than your own. (So Bob Dylan’s “Sara,” even though it sounds like marriage more than any other recording ever in history, is eliminated if you are named Robin). Also, no songs about real-life relationships that are unsavory in their beginnings or endings (So no Bob Dylan’s “Sara” for anyone, and also no Eric Clapton nor George Harrison songs about Pattie Boyd).
I have a third rule (applied above), but it is trickier: no songs by people who committed violence against women. In application of this rule, I assume allegations are true. I started to write a paragraph here about all the songs that disqualifies, but it is REDACTED because I started to WORRY ABOUT GETTING SUED by someone who according to him never beat anyone whose name rhymes with Schmaryl Schmannah. [And I also started to worry about offending people who used or are using Lennon/McCartney songs.]
My third rule is pretty tough. It also requires due diligence that you look up if someone allegedly beat women. For example, when I started writing this entry, I knew that Sam Cooke was killed when he was young, but it wasn’t until I fact checked the year of his death to make a more specific joke in the third sentence of this post that I read some more details about his death and realized he’s disqualified too. When you cut out the misogynist musicians, you cut out a lot of tunes. It’s like that killer third prong of the Bechdel Test. No one said feminism would be easy.