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God Only Knows, it should be a great first dance song

25 May 2016

By the LifetimesMAG Scribbler...

It’s beautiful, it’s heartfelt and it’s romantic. It’s got a gentle rhythm and the most gorgeous harmonies and, heck, it’s arguably the best track on one of pop music’s finest albums.

But when it was released on Pet Sounds 50 years ago this month, the Beach Boys’ God Only Knows became the greatest first dance song that can never be.

Yes, it’s exactly five decades since that lovely horn, piano and bells intro was first heard, it’s sweet sound giving away to that killer - yes, that’s right, passion-killer - first line: “I may not always love you.”

I may not always love you? The melody is pure, unconditional love. It stirs the soul, screams I’ll love you ‘til death us do part, for better for worse. Forget all that, though, brides and grooms – Carl Wilson is singing: “I may not always love you”.

With the song having so much going for it as a potential first dance, it’s not enough to simply cough over the first line, unfortunately. Fast forward to verse two and you’ll find such matrimonial profanities as: “If you should ever leave me, though life would still go on believe me.”

Quite simply, as lovely a song as it is, it’s about as welcome at a wedding as Coronation Street’s Tracy Barlow.

Choosing a first dance is one of the most fun things to do ahead of the big day, and is certainly much easier in the Spotify era, when pretty much any song ever recorded can be vetted for God Only Knows-style violations. Many couples have their own special song, which may be romantic or stir a special memory, while others may choose a track based on their dancing ability and levels of confidence. For every bride and groom who take dance lessons to entertain their guests with a performance that would wow the judges on Strictly, there will be many more who simply seek to reduce the chances of the leading lady ending up on her bridal behind.

The first dance is one of the key moments of the wedding day – a moment when all eyes focus upon the two most important people as they symbolically begin their life as one. It is also the start of the evening party, with the couple joined by friends and family during the latter part of the song. As an important feature of the day, the bride and groom may consider how their choice will be received by Great Auntie Freda and the vicar, who’s come over for half a mild. Or they can decide to do as they please, thank you very much.

So there’s plenty to consider, but unless you want to start married life with a paean to not always loving someone, maybe wait until you’re chilling by the pool on your honeymoon with your iPod, and wedding ring on, before listening to God Only Knows.

 

DANCE DISASTERS - Our top 5

So here they are - forget the chart countdown - here are the five songs to avoid on your first dance, courtesy of the LifetimesMAG Scribbler:

In at No.5... 'Heartbreak Hotel' – If your “baby” leaves you, follow Elvis Presley’s advice and “just take a walk down lonely street to Heartbreak Hotel”. Or maybe don’t…

At No.4... 'Rude' – “I'm gonna marry her anyway” in this Magic! chart-topper is the taunt a young man delivers to the father of his girlfriend after failing to get his blessing.

Into the top three, and we have... 'I Heard it Through the Grapevine' – Usually spilling the beans about the bride or groom’s misdemeanours is for that part of the service when everyone is asked ‘if anyone knows of any lawful impediment’. But if you wanted a more subtle approach, perhaps request this from the DJ?

Just edged out of top spot at No.2 is... 'Gold Digger' – Kanye West insisted he wasn’t “saying she’s a gold digger”, but he actually was in this ironic swipe at those who are sadly only in it for the money. Who could he have been thinking of?

Which means that at No.1 is... 'D-I-V-O-R-C-E' – A country classic by Tammy Wynette... but not quite in the spirit of the day!