Thursday, December 18, 2008

MORE Love Songs!

Here are even more ideas for unique love songs. Use the player below and scroll through the suggestions as you would any other MP3 device. Push the PLAY arrow to get started and happy listening!


1. "Someone Like You"- Van Morrison

Van Morrison is Rock And Roll's spiritual godfather. His music ranges from gritty rock to the spiritually profound. "Someone Like You" is a love song with no pretense. The message is simple-

"Ive been searching a long time
For someone exactly like you
Ive been travelling all around the world
Waiting for you to come through..."

2. "Body And Soul"- Anita Baker

Anita Baker hit it big in the 80s with a string of soulful ballads. Then she all but disappeared. In 1994, she reemerged with a new album, "Rhythm Of Love", featuring the song "Body And Soul". The romantic song may not have received the attention of her earlier hits but Anita's voice has never sounded better.

3. "Your Song (live)"- Elton John

Elton John's "Your Song" is a classic 70s, soft rock anthem. In 1987, Elton performed it live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and captured the magic on tape. The new arrangement featured luscious keyboards, swirling violins, harps, horns and flutes- all complimenting an already great song and actually eclipsing the original version!

4. "I Could Not Ask For More"- Sara Evans

Sara Evans takes Edwin McCain's "I Could Not Ask For More" and makes it her own. Sara's sexy, earthy voice is complimented by a lush violin arrangement and a sweet slide guitar.

5. "Fly Me To The Moon"- Bobby Darin

Bobby Darin turns Sinatra's signature, "Fly Me To The Moon", from a bouncy foxtrot into a devotional ballad. Darin's knack for rearranging songs is uncanny. Listening to his version of "Fly Me..." is like hearing the song for the first time.

6. "Blue Moon"- Elvis Presley

In July of 1954, at Sun Studios in Memphis, a truck driver named Elvis Presley plugged in his guitar and changed the world. A byproduct of the original explosion of Rock and Roll, was a little noticed version of "Blue Moon". It was a B side to the hit, "That's All Right" and never got the exposure of Elvis' monster hits. Hearing "Blue Moon" is like finding a lost gem. It is stripped down- just Elvis, a guitar, percussion and some echo. The result is haunting and even a bit spooky but none the less captivating.

7. "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire"- Ink Spots

This throwback to the golden era of vocals is heartfelt and innocent, which makes it a novelty in today's world of salacious, disposable pop love songs. Like a classic Model T, they just don't make 'em like this anymore!

8. "True Love Ways"- Buddy Holly

This ballad finds rocker, Buddy Holly, in a studio with an orchestra that includes a heavenly saxophone. Holly's arrangement and singing are worlds away from the Rockabilly sound he helped pioneer. He croons along with sweet violins, making a delicate love song that has stood the test of time.

9. "Anyone Else But You"- The Moldy Peaches

This quirky duet was originally featured on the soundtrack to the Academy Award winning movie, "Juno". It's offbeat lyrics are matched only by it's sincere promise to accept a lover simply for who and what they are. Sample: "Here is the church and here is the steeple, we sure are cute for two ugly people!"

10. "All I Want Is You"- U2

These Irish rockers again prove that they have the range to rumble loudly as well as introspect gently. On the live at Sloan Castle version, Bono dedicates the song to his wife and the crowd gleefully sings along.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The iPod Wedding Challenge

The idea of having an iPod wedding is a growing trend. Save tons of money on a traditional DJ by plugging in an preprogrammed MP3 player and let the magic of technology take over. Sounds great but the reality of mechanized music programming has its drawbacks. At the bottom of this article is a short test to see if you have what it takes to be a Master iPod Wizard!

A good DJ has an educated idea of what will work to get people dancing. He does well when he can suspend his own musical prejudices and play for "the crowd". The iPod and the guests are at the mercy of the taste of its programmer. The person in charge of the iPod knows what THEY like but may be inexperienced at playing for a mixed group.

On the other hand, the "jukebox" aspect of the iPod is interesting. It allows for eclectic, random musical changes and songs that might not necessarily go together. If you've ever been to a bar where the jukebox plays Metallica one minute, Sinatra the next, you may have noticed a quirky charm to the unorthodox mix. If you have the kind of group that will dance to anything or is quite musically evolved, the iPod may work out fine.

If it doesn't work out, you may have to bear some responsibility. Perhaps not the best way to start on the road to matrimonial bliss.

Here are some potential pitfalls:

Unless you want to edit each song, there will be gaps of silence between songs which can be a momentum killer.

Even with Apple's "Sound Check" technology, there are often quite significant differences in volume level for various songs. Someone will have to watch over the player all night to make volume adjustments.

You're going to need an amp and some decent speakers. If you need to rent them you will have to pick them up, deliver and set up the system. Then load it up and take it back after the party.

Timing is important. An iPod cannot build musical momentum on your dance floor, anticipate when to change tempo, musical style or throw in the unexpected zinger or "Guilty Pleasure". As a DJ, I know that HOW I play and mix songs together is just as important as WHAT I play.

The iPod does NOT take requests. And it is limited to the musical breadth of the person who owns it. A DJ is likely to have a library that appeals to a wide audience and crosses over generations and social strata.

If you still want to do it yourself, let's see what kind of music programmer you are! Take The iPod Wedding Quiz:

1. Can you name the TWO rock songs of the past 20 years that have proven to be MOST likely to get a response from a mixed age group?

2. If you had to pick ONE slow song that would have the widest appeal and get the best response, what would it be?

3. What 3 upbeat Motown songs work just about every time?

4. If you got a request to play Country, what song would appeal to even non-Country fans?

5. Name THE 70s Rock song that people seem to NEVER get tired of.

Answers Below...


1. "Love Shack" by The B-52s and "Smooth" by Santana. No other Rock songs from the last two decades have as much dance floor appeal.

2. "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole is the hands down winner here.

3. "It's The Same Old Song" by The Four Tops, "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" by The Temptations, "Come See About Me"- Diana Ross And The Supremes. Truth is, there are lots of Motown songs that work well. If you answered with at least one of these, give yourself a full point.

4. "Friends In Low Places"- Garth Brooks. You might try some Jimmy Buffet as well.

5. "Old Time Rock And Roll"- Bob Seger. People still love this song and rush to the dance floor when it is played. Did you say "You Shook Me" by AC/DC? Good guess but that was 1980. If you answered "My Sharona" deduct 2 points.


1-2 correct. Hire a professional to play music or risk the scorn of your loved ones and painful reception memories for years to come.

2-3 correct. You've got potential, you MAY be able to pull this off. If not, you'll have plenty to talk about on your honeymoon.

4-5 correct. OK Hotshot, you know your stuff. Do you have a back up sound system in case of emergency?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Diana and Doug's Marbella Matrimony

Diana and Doug's plans for their November 2008 wedding seemed, at first, a bit ambitious. Plan an outdoor ceremony, a cocktail hour on the adjacent patio, dinner in the grand hall and dancing in yet another room.

The Marbella Country Club in San Juan Capistrano offers these options but the logistics of providing sound for all of this could be a DJs nightmare. With the help of 2 sound systems, 4 speakers, several hundred feet of speaker cord and a bit of legwork, we pulled it off!

The ceremony was perfect as Diana and Doug used our Shure wireless mic to pledge their vows. We had another mic pinned to the lapel of the clergy. After the ceremony, we invited the guests to join the Newlyweds for a group photo. The ceremony system was then repositioned to cover the cocktail patio area.

The dining area sound coverage was provided by two satellite speakers. After the grand entrance to the reception and five toasts, it was cake cutting time. Since the cake was located near the dance area, it was a great way to move the guests and have them in place to witness the First Dance.

"The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson rang out from our main sound system as the guests enjoyed watching Diana and Doug take the floor. As is the Chinese custom, Diana went through no less than FOUR wardrobe changes throughout the night, including the dazzling red dress shown below:

Then it was party time! Partygoers enjoyed a great mix including music from Sinatra, The Beatles, Lynyrd Skynyrd as well as newer music from Flo Rida, Rihanna and Chris Brown. The guests danced into the night requesting a healthy dose of 90s Old School like "Return of the Mack" by Mark Morrison and "Mo Money, Mo Problems" by Notorious B.I.G.

Special thanks to Sherri from Marbella for helping make this day turn out wonderfully. And here's to another great beginning!

DJ Craig

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tara And Jason's Bel Air Nuptials

This trend setting LA couple chose to have their October 2008 ceremony and reception on a beautiful private estate in Bel Air, California.

Music from the soundtrack of "Cinema Paradiso" played for prelude. Processional music from eclectic Icelanders, Sigur Ross, was used for the processional.

Tara and Jason chose "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey as their Reception entrance song. Once the toasts and meal and mingling were done, it was time to get down to business on the dance floor.

Sam Cooke's classic love song, "Cupid", served as the First Dance. As Tara's family had New Orleans roots, we quickly jumped into a "Second Line" song to get the dance floor moving. Second Line is a traditional southern term for what those who follow and dance behind the first line of parade floats are called.

Our Bride and Groom broke out colorful umbrellas and led the second line of guests, winding around the property and eventually back to the dance floor. Mardi Gras type beads were handed out and the guests seemed to really enjoy this unique tradition.

Next we played a traditional Hora to honor Jason's heritage and the guests wasted no time lifting the Newlyweds into the air!

The wedding cake was one of the most unusual and beautiful I have seen. The serve yourself candy bar table, adjacent to the cake, was a nice touch.

Back on the dance floor, Jason used "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Barry White as the garter removal song. The enthusiastic crowd then partied to everything from "We Are Family" to "Sexyback" to Brian Setzer's swing song, "Gettin' In The Mood".

We closed the night out with one of Tara's favorites, "Crazy Love" by Van Morrison.

We used a two speaker, digital Yamaha system, Raptor lighting for the dance floor and a wireless lapel for the clergy.

Here's to another great beginning!

Wedding DJ

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


"Forever" by John Michael Montgomery is a new, heartfelt love song that could be the perfect First Dance. Right now, it's a free download at Amazon:

Click here for "Forever" free download

Sample lyrics:

baby i don’t want to be the one to face this life
all alone at the end of the day when the sun goes down
i want you right here in my arms…forever
every little smile every move you make
it’s like a dagger to my heart took my breath away
all i ask is that you be mine forever…forever

Happy Listening,

Wedding DJ

Monday, October 6, 2008

Where Fairy Tales Come True

Who wouldn't want to get married in a magical, fairy tale setting? That's exactly what Jaime and Robert decided to do for their October 5, 2008 wedding at Rancho Las Lomas!

"Rancho" is part of a large ranch in Trabuco Canyon. It features exotic captive wildlife, including white lions, llamas and many tropical birds. But the first thing most people notice is the architecture. The alabaster towers, wooden bridges and surrounding lush foliage are right out of Medieval times. The only thing missing are dragons and unicorns!

For the ceremony, Jaime walked down the aisle to "Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. The recessional song was the energetic "Walking On Sushine" by Katrina And The Waves. This is the first reception I've been at where, instead of a flower girl we actually had a "Flower BOY".

After appetizers and refreshments at the reflection pool, Jaime and Robert chose to make their official reception entrance to "Bad Case Of Loving You" by Robert Palmer. When the dancing started, musical highlights included, "Jump Jive An' Wail" by Brian Setzer, "She's Everything" by Brad Paisley and "You Shook Me" by AC/DC.

For the ceremony and reception we used a 2 speaker digital Yamaha system & wireless lapel mic for clergy. Upstairs at the cocktail area we used an additional Yamaha powered, Renkus Heinz speaker system.

Here's to another great beginning!

DJ Craig
Wedding DJ

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Father Daughter Dance Song Ideas

The iPod player above (yes, it actually works!) has full length songs. You can play all or part of them and move back and forth through them just like any mp3 player.

Press the arrow in the center of the iPod or click on a song to get started.

Song Listing:

1. "I Loved Her First"- Heartland

2. "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life"- Stevie Wonder

3. "When You Wish Upon A Star"- Billy Joel

4. "My Little Girl"- Tim McGraw

5. "You're Gonna Miss This"- Trace Adkins

6. "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You"- James Taylor

7. "I Hope You Danced"- Lee Ann Womack

8. "You're Nobody Til Somebody Loves You"- Dean Martin

9. "Landslide"- Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac

10. "Time To Say Goodbye"- Andrea Bocelli

11. "My Girl"- The Temptations

12. "Unforgettable"- Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole

13. "Father And Daughter"- Paul Simon

14. "Because You Loved Me"- Celine Dion

15. "Stand By Me"- Ben E. King

16. "The Way You Look Tonight"- Frank Sinatra

17. "Stand By Me"- Ben E. King

18. "That's My Job"- Conway Twitty

19. "Daughters"- John Mayer

20. "Lullabye"- Billy Joel

21. "The Long And Winding Road"- The Beatles

22. "Sunrise Sunset"- Fiddler On The Roof

Happy Listening,

DJ Craig

Wedding DJ

Monday, September 22, 2008

Christine And Kirk's Moroccan Paradise

In the heart of downtown LA, hidden between the skyscrapers, is an exotic, Moroccan oasis known as Hotel Figueroa. This is the one-of-a-kind location that Christine and Kirk chose for their nuptials on Sept. 20, 2008. Their goal was to create an unforgettable and unique experience for their guests and by all accounts, they succeeded!

The ceremony and reception, being lit mostly by candle light, added to the ambiance of the well decorated surroundings. The officiant actually quoted Dr. Seuss as part of the vows. Another hint that this was not your typical wedding! Christine's choice for the end of the ceremony recessional song was Shirley Bassey's incredible cover of Pink's "Get The Party Started".

The owner of the Hotel, Uno, was actually on site, making sure every detail was taken care of. Uno is a man with an eye for detail. During set up, he even straightened out some of the reception tables that were slightly out of place. Now that's service!

Kudos also go out to Laura, from Rebel Belle Weddings, who was invaluable in coordinating and keeping the reception flowing.

In lieu of a traditional wedding cake, these newlyweds opted for a gourmet cupcake pyramid. Their first dance, another unusual choice, was Springsteen's "Drive All Night". Party music ranged from "Islands In The Stream", "It's Raining Men", "SexyBack" to an actual tango (by request).

I closed the evening out with another of Christine and Kirk's favorites, "To Make You Feel My Love" by Garth Brooks.

Here's to another great beginning!

DJ Craig

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gina & Aaron's Reception At Coyote Hills

Sept. 19, 2008

The newlyweds made their grand entrance to "Another One Bites The Dust" by Queen. Then, in a bit of a break from tradition, the bride and groom went immediately to the dance floor. "Lost In This Moment" by Big & Rich rang out while an adoring crowd of family and friends witnessed the first dance.

After the usual toasts, Gina and Aaron grabbed the mic to thank everybody. The bride took this opportunity to present her bouquet to her grandmother, who had been a lifelong inspiration to her.

Once the party got started, musical highlights included "Low" by Flo Rida, "Smooth" by Santana and the guilty pleasure of 80s flashback, "You Give Love A Bad Name" by Bon Jovi!

We used a 2 speaker digital Yamaha system for the dance floor and two satellite speakers to provide sound for guests in the dining area.

Here's to another great beginning!

DJ Craig

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cliff Top Wedding In Dana Point

There's nothing like looking out at the horizon and seeing the blue Pacific stretching out endlessly. Especially when you are about to say, "I do" to the one you love! This is what Marie and Chris choose to do for their September, 2008 wedding in Dana Point.

Adding to the visual appeal, The "Tall Ship" festival was going on this weekend. The harbor was seemingly filled with these ancient mariners, their masts reaching to the sky.

I addition to the spectacular views, The Chart House features about THE best reception buffet you'll find. Guests enjoy an incredible salad bar complete with capers, hearts of palm and, oh yes, even caviar! The salmon was tender and the roast beef was quite juicy.

Chris and Marie's playlist ranged from Santana to Phil Collins to Gloria Estefan and the guests enjoyed dancing to it all. Marie's father, "Red", cautioned me to keep the father/daughter dance short, as he wasn't much of a dancer. No problem. I invited the guests to join in after just a minute or so.

We used a four speaker system and two wireless mics so that guests could hear the nuptials and enjoy sound coverage throughout the reception areas.

A special thanks to Chart House manager, Ken Rosnagle and his experienced staff, who attendeded to every detail of the ceremony and reception.

Here's to another great beginning!

DJ Craig

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Unique Slow Songs

Hint: Press the center button just below "menu" to start music.

Looking for an unusual, original slow song? You've come to the right place.

Here are some overlooked gems that aren't getting the attention they deserve. Use the iPod player above to sample and scroll through the suggested songs.

1. "You Give Me Something"- James Morrison

Never heard of him? Give it some time. Morrison is new to the music scene but his soulful voice will make you wonder why he isn't already a household name.

2. "You Take My Breath Away"- Queen

The band that brought operatic, Pomp Rock to it's pinnacle could also perform an inspired ballad. This song is stark and captivating in it's naked emotion.

3. "Falling Slowly"- Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova

From the Academy award winning soundtrack of "Once". You may have missed this song if you didn't see the movie. In the film and in real life, Hansard and Irglova bring a refreshing innocence into a world of corporate, commercial muzak.

4. "The Way I Am"- Ingrid Michaelson

On this simple and straightforward song, Michaelson wants to "catch you" when you fall and "buy you Rogaine" when you start losing your hair. Now that's love.

5. "Breathe Me"- Sia

Sia's already making a mark for herself as a talented performer. The fact that her music ranges from percolating Pop to deep, reflective, Alternative Rock doesn't hurt. "Breathe Me" is simply arresting, Sia's voice crackles across it as if she's just had a good cry.

6. "The Golden State"- John Doe

You may remember John Doe as front man for the 80s Punk band X. His guitar still has a biting edge, as do his lyrics. He wants to be "the aching in your heart" even if you are "the hole in (his) head". Doe knows that love is not always easy but he is still willing to give it all he has.

7. "God Only Knows" (1967 Rehearsal)- The Beach Boys

This recently released "lost" track shows that even in rehearsal, Brian Wilson and company could create pure magic. No studio trickery here, just great harmonies.

8. "The Very Thought Of You"- Frank Sinatra

When is the last time you heard this? If you can't remember, that's a shame. When "The Chairman" sang about love, he meant it. It's still Frank's world, we just live in it.

9. "One"- Mary J Blige & U2

Mary revamps this classic 80s ballad and adds an R&B edge. Bono helps start the song and later gracefully steps out of the way to let Blige's power kick in.

10. "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair"- Nina Simone

Sang in nearly a cappella style, Simone bares her soul with a stunningly unabashed vulnerability. This is earthy, real and inescapable.

11. "We're All Alone"- Boz Scaggs

Boz starts off singing with a soft solo piano. By the time the orchestra crescendo hits full force, it's too late- you have been teleported into Romanceville with no return ticket.

12. "Stay Awhile"- Journey/ 13. "Patiently"- Journey

Choosing between these two is like deciding which twin to keep. Before Journey hit it big with their Arena Rock anthems, Steve Perry's voice rang out to the universe on these odes in search of divine love.

14. "What a Wonderful World"- Tony Bennett & k.d. lang

Tony and k.d. do Louis Armstrong proud on this classic duet. Bennett is smooth as silk and Lang simply sparkles.

15. "Never My Love"- The Fifth Dimension

Back in the Summer Of Love, The Association had a huge hit with this devotional anthem. The Fifth Dimension's subsequent cover may make you forget all about that. Marilyn McCoo's vocals soar over a soulful horn section, making you wish the song would go on and on.

Happy Listening,

DJ Craig

Monday, September 1, 2008

Reid and Victor's "Hairspray" Extravaganza!

August 31, 2008

Reid and Victor, having been together 20 years, were planning a big celebration for their anniversary. Their idea was a "Hairspray" inspired, kitschy cocktail party.

After some consideration, they finally decided to take advantage of the recent changes in California law and officially tie the knot. "Having been together for 20 years, we know what it takes to be married", Victor said.

So the newly engaged couple incorporated the ideas for their party and had a "Hairspray" wedding, complete with giant aerosol can props and brightly colored turquoise and pink linens and decorations.

The gala was held at The Wyndham Hotel in Costa Mesa's South Coast Metro area. The couple took advantage of the scenic lakeside area as their ceremony location. Wyndham's coordinator, Marcy Hail, was incredibly nice and very accommodating.

I had the pleasure of introducing them into their reception as, "...celebrating their 20th anniversary, the newlyweds- Reid and Victor!", to a thundering ovation.

The party was a smash as guests enjoyed Victor and Reid's eclectic playlist which included such diverse choices as Diana Ross, Elvis Costello, The Monkees, The Go-Gos and the guilty pleasure of Quiet Riot's "Cum On Feel The Noise".

Before the party, I was able to track down a copy of Madonna's "Dress You Up" (Formal Mix), at Victor's request. This certainly brought the 80s aficionados onto the dance floor. And then there was young Dalton, our white jacketed ring bearer. He did his best to keep the party hip by requesting "Low", "Walk It Out" and "The Cha Cha Slide".

We used a two speaker, digital Yamaha system for sound and a couple of Martin Raptors to light up the dance area.

Here's to another great beginning!

DJ Craig