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Music from The Wedding Singer: flawed, but a great 80s collection  

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Many people enjoyed the nineties film The Wedding Singer, and while it was one of the first to launch new interests in the eighties, it is still highly flawed to anyone who lived through that period. If you are going to dredge up nostalgia to promote a film, you should try to get a few facts right. The problem is that The Wedding Singer has mistakenly taken music and culture of 79-85 and presented it as music of 1985 (if you enjoy big words, then you would call this an anachronism).

While picking flaws in films is a favourite past time of many film junkies and some times it can get very tedious, few invite criticism like the Wedding Singer. It was deliberately marketed as being a film about living in 1985 and promoting itself as accurate reflection of living in that period. From The Wedding Singer promotional material:

"Before the Internet,
Before mobile phones,
before roller blades
There was a time…1985
Don't pretend that you don't remember"

Which is the whole point: eighty-eightynine does remember!

The flaws in the Wedding singer are no different to that of a film that promotes itself to show what it's like living in New York, and then goes on to show the Sydney Opera House or the Big Ben as New York landmarks. Also see part 2 of this series which deals with other plot faults. One positive aspect is that the Wedding Singer did allow the wider release of Eighties music that would have otherwise been impossible to get without buying a swag of compilation albums. The two albums released are a great way to start a collection of Eighties songs, but as the following table shows, it has very little to do with the year 85. Some songs were released as far back as 79. Put it another way - would the culture of 85 fit next to the grunge period of 1990-91. Can you imagine Nirvana seriously singing Smells Like Teen Spirit while wearing a blue suit or popping on a frock like Dead or Alive?

In this table, the Wedding Singer is considered correct if the song is released from mid 84 onwards. Anything before this time and the Wedding Singer gets a black mark in the Oops! column. Note that songs are not released at the same time across the world, but we're not talking about a few months here...





You spin me round (like a record) - Dead or Alive

One of the few songs the movie gets correct



Blue Monday - New Order

Released 83, and still played today. However in the early 80's it was part of the alt/mod scene.



Private Idaho - B52's

Released 1981. By 1985 the B52s were in their tomb, awaiting a rebirth that would mark the end of the 80's. In 85 they were 'has-beens'



Just Can't Get Enough - Depeche Mode

Released 1982, considered very daggy song in 1985. There were many other Depeche Mode hits released closer to 1985.



Holiday - Madonna

Madonna had released two more albums and many hit singles since Holiday. Crazy For You or Get Into The Groove would have been far more appropriate for 85.



Do You Really Want To Hurt Me - Culture Club

Although released years earlier, it suited the style of song for a wedding, so this point will go to Wedding Singer



Video Killed The Radio Star - The Presidents Of The United States Of America

Where did this come from? The Buggles version was half a decade old and POTUSA wouldn't be around for another decade. They should lose two points here, but they were trying to give the film a modern relevance. This song was released in 79.



Too Shy - Kajagoogoo

A definitive early 80's song but way too silly for 85. The lead singer Limahl went on to sing Never Ending Story (84) which would have been a closer fit.



Money (That's What I Want) - Flying Lizards.

The Flying Lizards had come and gone way before 85. Definitely out in 85.



It's All I Can Do - The Cars

Oops - not even from the 80's (although 79 is considered by this site to be part of the 80's), this song from 79 is way off track. Heartbeat city would have been closer



True - Spandau Ballet.

Spandau Ballet had their new romantic feet pointing skyward by 85 not even a hidden nipple in their 84 film clip could save them



Space Age Love Song - A Flock Of Seagulls

Sequel to I Ran, but still many years too early for 85



Love Stinks - The J. Geils Band

Oh dear, another song from 1980. Even the 82 hit - Centerfold was closer to 85.



You Make My Dreams - Hall & Oates,




Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

Release 1981 - The Police had broken up by end of 84 and Sting released Russians in 85



How Soon Is Now - The Smiths

1984. Close enough to be a point for the Wedding Singer



Love My Way - Psychedelic Furs

A few years too early for the Wedding Singer (from the 82 album Forever Now). 85's Pretty In Pink remix may have been a better choice.



Hold Me Now - Thompson Twins

1984. Close enough.



White Wedding - Billy Idol

Appropriate title but it was a hit for 82. Rebel Yell - from the 83 album - would have been closer but neither are 85



Everyday I Write The Book - Elvis Costello

This song from 83 is close but like most songs on this list, it is nowhere near 85



China Girl - David Bowie

Yet another song from 83



Pass The Dutchie - Musical Youth

They broke up in 85 after their hit from a year or two earlier. Lineball.







Final point
Even with a little lee-way, only 1 in 5 songs are from the 1985 period. There is no real reason for the Wedding Singer to be set specifically in 85. In fact, the soundtrack has songs mainly from 83. Interestingly, 1985 was considered to be a bit of a dud year for music, but there were some missed opportunities such as Wham (we suspect that there was some difficulty obtaining the distribution rights).

After the wedding, try Honeymoon songs.

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