You only (hopefully) get to do it once, so making the right choice for a first dance song is an integral part of any big day. And if you want to get a bit more niche than Bruno Mars’ ‘Marry You’ then there’s a whole host of indie classics perfect for grabbing your beloved and sweeping them off their feet. Here’s 20 of them.
This article was originally published in April 2017
The Flaming Lips, ‘Do You Realize?’
Ignore the chorus (“Do you realise that everyone you know someday will die?”) – the rest of this song is a romantic, soaring, wide-eyed beaut. “Do you realise that you have the most beautiful face?” sings Wayne Coyne over gloriously technicolour melodies. You can’t help but swoon.
David Bowie, ‘Heroes’
You can be king, they can be queen and nothing will drive you away. Unifying spirits to set off your marriage with the utmost solidarity.
Peace, ‘California Daze’
A future indie wedding classic, this debut album cut is arguably still Peace’s finest moment (and their most lovelorn, at least). Full of doe-eyed lyrics (“Oh she tastes like sunlight”) and lighters aloft singalong moments, it’s the perfect track with which to serenade your one and only.
Modest Mouse, ‘Sleepwalking’
Recalling old standard ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Sleepwalking’ is a boy/girl duet set over the kind of lilting, 50s guitars custom built for slow dancing. The credible indie version of feeling like you’re at an American high school.
Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot, ‘Bonnie & Clyde’
A little slice of Gallic charm, this 1968 duet makes full use of the language of love to provide an effortlessly sensual end result (even though they’re singing about two robbers).
Alex Turner, ‘Stuck On A Puzzle’
“I’m not the kind of fool who’s gonna sit and sing to you about stars, girl/ But last night I looked up into the dark half of the blue and they’d gone backwards/ Something in your magnetism must have pissed them off, forcing them to get an early night.” Swoon.
Mac DeMarco, ‘Still Together’
A gorgeously low-key love song from Mac, ‘Still Together’ is nothing more complex than an acoustic guitar and some plain and simple lyrics about loving someone completely and entirely. What more do you need?
Sonic Youth, ‘Superstar’
Take a sugar-coated Carpenters classic, douse it with some Sonic Youth atmospherics and Thurston Moore’s intimate, whispering delivery and you’ve got one of the best leftfield love songs around
The Smiths, ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’
Does anything sum up the all-consuming power of love more than the line “If a double-decker bus crashes into us/ To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die?” Didn’t think so.
Lana Del Rey, ‘Video Games’
The song that sent Lana stratospheric, ‘Video Games’ exists in a perpetual world of nostalgic romance where love is the drug and it reigns over all. Where else does this logic apply? Weddings!
Pulp – ‘Something Changed’
Documenting that miracle chance of fate that brings two people together, ‘Something Changed’ perfectly sums up the moment your life changes forever (and the weird co-ordinates that lead to it happening). “Where would I be now if we’d never met? Would I be singing this song to someone else instead?”
The Rolling Stones, ‘Wild Horses’
For when you’ve finally found the one that wild horses couldn’t drag you away from.
Florence & The Machine, ‘Dog Days Are Over’
If you want a little more pep in your step for your first dance, however, then you could do a lot worse than this jubilant effort from Florence. A crowd-pleaser, if ever there was one.
Grizzly Bear, ‘Knife’
Grizzly Bear’s multi-part harmonies and way with a tear-jerking melody are enough to bring out the romantic in you on an average day, but take their sweetest tune and your biggest day and watch the weeping commence.
The Beatles, ‘This Boy’
Oh, John. If there’s ever a voice you want serenading you at a pivotal moment, then surely it’s Lennon’s. This track lays its feelings bare and sounds like the actual sound of gut-wrenching, yearning love itself.
Cat Power, ‘Sea Of Love’
Minimal and achingly sweet, ‘Sea Of Love’ is the kind of intimately lovely track that half the indie-loving population likely want as ‘their song’.
Spiritualized, ‘Soul On Fire’
Spiritualized might not be a natural romantic choice, but few could argue with this as a true dusky classic. Never underestimate a Rugby-based space rock pioneer.
The Maccabees, ‘Toothpaste Kisses’
One big, doe-eyed melter of a song, The Maccabees’ one sojourn into acoustic territory stands strong as their perfect, heartfelt lighters aloft moment. Deny the romance of this one and you’re made of stone.
The Cure, ‘Just Like Heaven’
Though they’ve got a reputation as music’s premier goths, no one can deny the romantic heart that lies at the core of 90% of Robert Smith’s lyrics. This – one of their most accessible and straight-up sweet offerings – is perhaps the most wedding-appropriate, however.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, ‘Maps’
The most heart-wrenching indie love song of them all. Full stop.