The title of this post is the same as a Joe Jackson song, but the inspiration for this week’s “Can’t Get It Outta My Head” could have come from a 5th Dimension number, “Wedding Bell Blues.”
Actually, it’s more like the “Wedding Song Blues.” My only child is getting married this weekend, and a month ago she informed me that I had to come up with a song for our father-daughter dance.
Cait sprung that on me at her cousin’s wedding, right about the time that I had to go out on the dance floor and stumble around with the other woman in my life, my wife. That episode convinced me that the father-daughter thing had to be a slow song; Jeanne and I took some dance lessons after we were married, but that was 30 years ago.
Besides, I come from that generation that danced separately, and rapidly. And that probably wasn’t going to be acceptable.
My better half right away suggested the Temptations’ “My Girl,” which was a good idea, but it wasn’t my idea. And it was too upbeat for my dancing abilities.
So I started searching — and not Googling, either. I wasn’t going to do something that other panicked dads had done before, and come up with the same thing.
I probably could have found something in country and western, because of that genre’s tendency to push emotional buttons, But I don’t have much country in my iTunes library, or on the vinyl, tapes and CDs that aren’t in said library.
So I started going through my iPod, looking for slow songs. I have a lot of music on that device — more than 4,700 songs — but it’s mostly 1960s and ’70s album rock, and that period and genre didn’t include much in the way of slow songs.
So, a few of my evenings on the deck lately were spent going through the albums on the iPod one by one, listening to songs and making a list, and checking it twice. (That was a good thing, though; despite having that much music to choose from, I tend to listen more often to certain artists and types, and this search reacquainted me with some of the music on my ’Pod.)
The resulting list was 25 slow songs long, but it was soon cut down quite a bit, some eliminated because the lyrics sounded wrong for a father-daughter dance — sung from the viewpoint of a boy- or girlfriend to his/her significant other. For instance: Emmy Lou Harris’s cover of Skeeter Davis’s vocalized version of Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date”; “When I Close My Eyes” by Rhonda Vincent (one of two that could be called country); the Temptations’ “Just My Imagination”; “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge; and Otis Redding’s “That’s How Strong My Love Is.”
Others had not only that liability, but also a weird take on romantic relationships, like “Do I Still Figure in Your Life” by Joe Cocker and Linda Ronstadt’s “White Rhythm and Blues.” Joni Mitchell’s “Little Green” is about a daughter — who gets put up for adoption.
“Woman in Chains” by Tears for Fears maybe isn’t appropriate for a woman getting married. “Stella Blue” is my favorite Dead cut, and is a slow song, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic at hand. Elvis Costello’s “Alison” mentions a wedding cake, but has the jaundiced view that one expects from that songwriter.
So the list got whittled down to three or so, including the other C&W-ish number, Alison Krause’s lovely cover of Keith Whitley’s “When You Say Nothing at All.” And “Into White” by Cat Stevens and Van Morrison’s “Brand New Day.”
The Krause number turned out to be a bit too romantic. My daughter liked “Into White,” and it’s short enough to get me off the dance floor quickly, but the lyric is kind of abstract, if not nonsensical.
We agreed on Van the Man’s song, even though it runs long enough that I will run out of dance steps. But it fits in another sense — the newlyweds’ first dance is to Morrison’s “Crazy Love.” Both of Van’s songs are from Moondance, which is one of my all-time favorite LPs; plus, the groom-to-be is also a big fan of Morrison and that album.