June is the big month for weddings, but if you missed it, you don’t have to wait until next year. Wedding planning happens all year long!
So many love songs have been wedding songs-of-choice over the years that it would be impossible to make a definitive list. But here is a list that includes a song for each decade, starting with the thirties, that was a popular romantic song when it came out and went on to become a wedding staple.
The Thirties: “Love is Here to Stay”
George and Ira Gershwin wrote this one in 1938 for the movie The Goldwyn Follies. Most people call the song “Our Love is Here to Stay,” and that is the title Ira wanted to change it to—but it too quickly became popular with the shorter title.
“In time, the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble—
They’re only made of clay
But our love is here to stay”
The Forties: “Oh! What It Seemed to Be“
Here’s a song written specifically about getting married. Frank Sinatra unabashedly sang its romantic lyrics and made it a big hit in 1946.
“It was just a wedding in June, that’s all that it was
But, oh, what it seemed to be
It was like a royal affair, with everyone there
‘Cause you said ‘Yes, I do’ to me”
The Fifties: “Only You”
The Platters cast a spell with the melodramatic delivery of their string of hit songs, and this one, their first top-ten hit and a #1 single in 1955, was no exception.
“Only you can make the world seem right
Only you can make the darkness bright
Only you and you alone can thrill me like you do
And fill my heart with love for only you”
The Sixties: “At Last”
The song was written in the thirties but Etta James made it her own in 1960, and her version is the go-to rendition to this day—including Beyonce’s homage performance for the First Couple.
“At last—my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song”
The Seventies: “Wedding Song (There is Love)”
Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary actually wrote the song in the fall of ’69 for group-mate Peter Yarrow’s wedding, but it was first recorded in 1971. It’s been a wedding favorite ever since. Stookey, feeling it was inspired by God, doesn’t take royalties on the song.
“The union of your spirits here has caused him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in his name
There is love”
The Eighties: “Endless Love”
Lionel Richie wrote “Endless Love” in 1981 and recorded it as a duet with Diana Ross. The recording was named Billboard’s all-time greatest duet, and was used in the movie Endless Love.
“And, yes, you’ll be the only one
’Cause no one can deny this love I have inside
And I’ll give it all to you, my love
My endless love”
The Nineties: “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”
This power ballad was performed by Bryan Adams, who co-wrote it with Michael Kamen and Mutt Lange for the 1991 movie Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.
“Don’t tell me it’s not worth fightin’ for
I can’t help it, there’s nothin’ I want more
You know it’s true
Everything I do, I do it for you”
The 00s: “Yellow”
I figure it’s too soon to pick a non-controversial best love song from the most recently-completed decade. I’m gonna say Coldplay’s “Yellow,” from 2000. It was a massive hit that made the band famous, and its lyrics are heartfelt.
“Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah, they were all yellow”
OK, which of your favorites did I miss? What song did you get married to? — Steve