It’s all getting a bit much all this ‘FUCK THE ROYAL WEDDING’ malarkey. A bit like, “If you don’t care about something, how’s about not going on about how much you don’t care about it?”
Will you be watching it? Nope. When the dissolution of the Monarchy finally occurs, will you miss the extra day off when one of the idiots gets married? Probably.
Have Wills’n’Kate in fact united those who detest them as much as those who love ’em, and shown, conclusively, that the yoof don’t hate or love the Royal Family, they’re just completely bereft of emotion when it comes to them, largely because Hello! and all them other magazines have got much more easily-accessed minor celeb mainstays these days, and so don’t splash them around quite as much as they used to?
Oh sorry, I started sounding like one of those “I really hate the Royals, me” people. Which is not my intention. Rather, I’m here to present to you – and those two-to-be, if they’ve got a minute – a list of the best songs about weddings/marriage going tits up.
Not ’cos I hope the Royal one does, just because with all the chattering about not caring about the Royal Wedding, I started thinking about weddings and wedding songs and songs about weddings going wrong. It’s hard not to.
It’s meant to be fun, you see.
1. Gram Parsons – ‘$1,000 Wedding’
Not just a great wedding-gone-wrong song, this document of Gram’s aborted plan to wed the mother of his daughter is maybe one of the saddest ever tunes about anything. The poster boy for Cosmic Country is at his best when he’s at his most melancholy, and this is the peak/nadir. “But where are the flowers for my baby?” he moans. “I’d even like to see her mean old mama.” Nasty-but-beautiful stuff.
2. Freda Payne – ‘Band Of Gold’
Never has realising you’ve got nowt left been so danceable. “We kissed after taking vows,” we are informed, “But that night on our honeymoon/We stayed in separate rooms.” All the while an insistent Motown backbeat pounds away in the background, making for the sort of song that would fill the floor in an instant at the evening do.
3. Radiohead – ‘Morning Bell’
They liked this one and its sinister “Cut the kids in half” line that they decided to record it twice, for both ‘Kid A’ and ‘Amnesiac’.
4. Panic! At The Disco – ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’
As is customary with these chaps, no-one outside of the obsessives will have previously had even the vaguest clue as to what they’re actually saying, so in the interests of singing along with the song below, the first verse goes: “Oh, well imagine; as I’m pacing the pews in a church corridor, and I can’t help but to hear, no I can’t help but to hear an exchanging of words. ‘What a beautiful wedding!, What a beautiful wedding!’ says a bridesmaid to a waiter. “’Oh yes, but what a shame, what a shame, the poor groom’s bride is a whore.’”
Apart from anything else, top marks for rhyming “corridor” with “whore”.
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5. Morrissey – ‘Will Never Marry’
It wouldn’t be an anti-love list without an entry from his cheeriness now, would it? “I’m writing this to say, in a gentle way,” he sings in response to a proposal, “Thank You, but no. I will live my life as I will undoubtedly die – alone.” Never let it be said that Moz is one to not be direct with his feelings.
6. The Beautiful South – ‘Don’t Marry Her, Fuck Me’
Because they’re associated with old-school-Radio-2 schmaltz, it’s often not noted what marvellously good lyrics Paul Heaton writes (sung here by Jacqui Abbott). In terms of documenting dysfunction within normal people, you’d be hard pushed to beat “She’s a Ph.D in ‘I told you so’/You’re a knighthood in ‘I’m not listening’”. And then there’s the way that the “grab your sweaty bollocks” line was changed to “Sandra Bullock” for the radio edit. Brilliant.
7. Dolly Parton – ‘D.I.V.O.R.C.E’
Yes indeed, as fine an example of Dolly’s beautiful way with words as there is: “This will be pure h-e-double-l for me!”
8. Nick Lowe – ‘I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock N Roll)’
Inspired by Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’ (which concerns a young couple defying their parents’ belief that their marriage would be doomed), this song takes a dimmer view of wedlock. “Well, take a look at the bridegroom smilin’ pleased as pie/Shakin’ hands all around with a glassy look in his eye,” it goes. “He got a real good job and his shirt and tie is nice/But I remember a time when she never would have looked at him twice.”
9. Bruce Springsteen – ‘Stolen Car’
The master, of course, of everyman storytelling, this is one of Bruce’s most weepy weepies, concerning not the dramatic break up, but the slow fading away of a marriage. “She asked if I remembered the letters I wrote/ When our love was young and bold/She said last night she read those letters/And they made her feel one hundred years old.”
10. Billy Idol – ‘White Wedding’
The only line that everyone really knows from this one is “Nice day for a white wedding” meaning poor ol Bill has had to spend a not insubstantial proportion of his life clarifying that it’s about how much he fucking hated his sister’s fiancé. This is not an ideal thing for a career-defining song to be about, really, is it? What happens when she gets married again, and you want to sing at the ceremony, and everyone’s shouting for…
Have a good one, Wills and Kate. Sorry, I meant ‘Fuck you, Wills and Kate’. What other songs are there that could ruin their day?