Next month marks the 25th anniversary of my first wedding in Colorado. To celebrate, I’ve tabulated the all-time top 25 requests from my wedding couples and their guests at over 1,000 weddings from the last 25 years. So here’s the ranking from #1 to #25:
1. Electric Boogie – Marcia Griffiths
2. YMCA – The Village People
3. Cha Cha Slide – Mr C
4. Chicken Dance – The Emeralds
5. Shout – Isley Brothers or Otis Day
A few interesting facts about the top 5…none of the songs hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and only one hit the Top 5 on Billboard – “YMCA”. Although Griffith’s “Electric Boogie” (aka Electric Slide) never even hit the Top 40 when it was released, it has been extremely popular, charting on my annual Top 10 request list for 23 of 25 years – by far more than any other song.
6. Macarena – Los Del Rio
7. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
8. Cupid Shuffle – Cupid
9. Old Time Rock And Roll – Bob Seger
10. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix A Lott
Who would have thought that a couple of middle-age men from the south of Spain would launch the biggest dance craze of the ’90s. With the possible exception of the “Chicken Dance” at #4, “Macarena” would also become one of those rare songs that is both loved and despised by brides, grooms, and wedding guests. It winds up on my couple’s “Do Not Play” lists as often as it is requested to be played. Hey Macarena!!
11. What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
12. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
13. Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
14. Twist And Shout – The Beatles
15. Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
I can count on one hand how many times I got a request for “Don’t Stop Believin'” prior to the 2007 Soprano’s finale. The song was played at the end of the show’s final episode a decade ago and dance floors haven’t been the same since. Not only has it become an end-of-night last dance anthem, but it has become the most requested song of the ’80s.
16. The Wobble – Vic
17. Mony Mony – Billy Idol
18. At Last – Etta James
19. We Are Family – Sister Sledge
20. Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It – Will Smith
Seven of the top 25 most requested songs have had a resurgence in popularity years after their initial release. “At Last”, much like “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” were rarely requested until becoming more popular decades later. Etta’s classic didn’t even hit the Top 40 charts when it was originally released in 1961. But after appearing in a TV commercial and some movies in the late ’90s, it returned to the charts in 2002, and has become one of the most popular first dance songs of the last fifteen years.
21. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
22. Friends In Low Places – Garth Brooks
23. Marry Me – Train
24. In The Mood – Glenn Miller
25. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars
After tabulating this all-time Top 25, I was amazed that there was only one country song that made the chart. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that country music is “artist driven”, as opposed to other genres that are more “song driven”. In Garth’s case in particular, I can name at least a dozen of his songs I’ve gotten at least a dozen requests for over the years. Likewise, for other country artists. With the exception of the Beatles, Michael Jackson (the #1 most requested artist of the last 25 years), and a few others – most non country artists have a couple of big signature songs and the rest never get requested. “Friends In Low Places” has been a country wedding staple for a quarter century.