Tonight’s episode was originally going to feature old-school hip-hop to honor the memory of Sylvia Robinson, the Sugar Hill Records founder who died two weeks ago at the age of 75.
On the soundtrack of my youth, “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang looms large. That’s because, from 1978 to 1983, I lived in a predominantly black suburb of Washington, D.C. Consequently, while friends I made later in life grew up listening to KISS, I had elementary school friends whose older brothers and sisters listened to funk and R&B, music I love to this day.
Parliament/Funkadelic meant more to my ears than KISS, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye were as prevalent as the Eagles and Rolling Stones, and I can vividly recall my friend Pat Lawrence playing me “Rapper’s Delight,” Grandmaster Flash and other great records that comprised the first wave of hip-hop.
Then I remembered that today is my wedding anniversary. I most definitely outkicked my punt coverage when it comes to matrimony, and 11 mostly blissful years and three children later I remember much about the day — especially, of course, the music. So I decided to be completely self-indulgent (I know what you’re thinking: That’s different from these other posts … how, exactly?) and make the music of my wedding day tonight’s theme. I hope you enjoy it.
Our first dance as husband and wife was to “Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder.
You can imagine how much I micromanaged the DJ. Actually, I only had a few requests. One of them was no Kenny G., Yanni or other New Age dreck while everyone ate. I had a different kind of background music in mind. So I asked him to play three albums, and one of them was “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis.
We also listened to Van Morrison while we dined.
My mom and I danced to this classic by the Beatles.
Another request: I had the DJ play this when it was time for me to retrieve the garter.
Tara and the bridesmaids, meanwhile, serenaded me with this disco-era classic from the Emotions.
We held a “dance off” to identify the couple at our reception who had been the married the longest. The DJ started by ordering couples married two hours or less off the dance floor — e.g. my wife and I — and worked his way up to, I believe, more than 50 years. I’m pretty sure we danced to this song, though if I’m remembering it wrong I’ll update with a correction.
The second-to-last song played at the reception, another request.
I was listening to Radiohead’s “Kid A” rather obsessively during this time; it was released a couple weeks before. It just so happened they were that night’s musical guest on “Saturday Night Live.” Check out this incendiary performance of “The National Anthem.”
The next day we’d catch a train for a few days in New York City, our chosen honeymoon destination. This was the soundtrack to my Empire State of Mind.