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What Your First Dance Song Should Be, Based on the Year You Were Born

Here are song ideas for everyone, from '60s babies to '90s kids.
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
by Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Associate Editor
  • Sarah is an Associate Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses in fashion, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Mar 19, 2021

Of all the songs you'll hear on your wedding day, the first dance tune is one of the most important. Your processional song sets the tone for the ceremony and the reception playlist will keep guests on the dance floor, but your inaugural spin as newlyweds deserves to have a soundtrack that's meaningful and romantic. With so much significance surrounding the moment, you might wonder, "What should my first dance song be?" The best first dance songs are subjective to your relationship and your music preferences. You could go for a timeless classic, like "At Last" by Etta James, or something a little more modern, like "All of Me" by John Legend. But if you're stuck on finding the perfect tune, we have a fun hack to help you make a decision. Instead of turning to the music charts or your heavy rotation playlist on Spotify, let your birth year guide the selection. 

We love the idea of using the year you were born to pick your first dance song. Not only will it bring a sense of nostalgia to your nuptials, it'll easily narrow down your selection pool. As with all wedding song choices, work with your DJ or band to create a set list that fits the vibe of your reception, whether you're planning a relaxed celebration or a high-energy party that goes late into the night. Let them know which tune is your first dance song, that way they'll have it queued to play right after your reception entrance

We've rounded up the best love songs from each decade, from the 1960s to the 2000s. Find your birth year below, and pick your favorite from our selections. Whether you're looking for an iconic pop hit or a smooth jazz ballad, we've got plenty of options for your special dance. 

In this article: 

Best First Dance Songs from the '60s

The 1960s are responsible for some of the most memorable Motown and progressive rock songs. In this decade, Elvis Presley released a popular first dance song that plenty of couples still use today. Plus, it was the height of jazz crooners like Frank Sinatra and Frankie Valli—so if you were born in the '60s, you've got a great selection of swoon-worthy first dance songs. Find our top choices (along with their most romantic lyrics) here. 

"Can't Help Falling in Love," Elvis Presley

Lyrics you'll love: "Take my hand/Take my whole life too/For I can't help falling in love with you"

"Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," Frankie Valli

Lyrics you'll love: "You're just too good to be true/Can't take my eyes off of you/You'd be like Heaven to touch/I wanna hold you so much"

"Chapel of Love," The Cups

Lyrics you'll love: "Spring is here, the sky is blue, whoa-oh-oh/Birds all sing as if they knew/Today's the day we'll say, 'I do'"

"I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)," Four Tops 

Lyrics you'll love: "I'll do anything you ask me to/I can't help myself/I want you and nobody else/Sugarpie honeybunch"

"Sugar, Sugar," The Archies

Lyrics you'll love: "I just can't believe/The loveliness of loving you/I just can't believe it's true"

"My Girl," The Temptations

Lyrics you'll love: "I've got so much honey, the bees envy me/I've got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees/Well, I guess you'd say/What can make me feel this way?"

"River Deep, Mountain High," Ike & Tina Turner

Lyrics you'll love: "I love you baby like the water love the sink/And I love you, baby/Like flowers love the spring"

"The Way You Look Tonight," Frank Sinatra

Lyrics you'll love: "Yes, you're lovely, with your smile so warm/And your cheeks so soft/There is nothing for me but to love you/And the way you look tonight"

"This Magic Moment," The Drifters

Lyrics you'll love: "This magic moment/While your lips are close to mine/Will last forever/Forever, till the end of time"

"Unchained Melody," The Righteous Brothers

Lyrics you'll love: "Woah, my love, my darling/I've hungered for your touch/A long, lonely time/And time goes by so slowly/And time can do so much

Best First Dance Songs from the '70s

The 1970s were all about disco, new wave and soft rock music. Bands like Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones and Queen dominated the charts, but not all of their songs are appropriate for a first dance. (But if you are your S.O. are all about a bold rock entrance, go for it—guests will certainly remember the moment at your reception.) Not to worry: The '70s also gave us plenty of romantic ballads fit for a spin on the dance floor. If you were a flower child, we recommend these nostalgic tunes for your first dance as newlyweds. 

"Best of My Love," The Emotions

Lyrics you'll love: "Demonstrating sweet love and affection/That you give so openly, yeah/The way I feel about yaìou, baby/Can't explain it/Want the whole wide world to see"

"Dancing Queen," ABBA

Lyrics you'll love: "Oh yeah, you can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life/Ooooh, see that girl, watch that scene, dig in the Dancing Queen"

"I'll Be There," The Jackson 5

Lyrics you'll love: "I'll be there to protect you/With an unselfish love that respects you/Just call my name/And I'll be there"

"Lean on Me," Bill Withers

Lyrics you'll love: "Lean on me/When you're not strong/And I'll be your friend/I'll help you carry on"

"Songbird," Fleetwood Mac

Lyrics you'll love: "And the songbirds are singing/Like they know the score/And I love you, I love you, I love you/Like never before"

"Then Came You," Dionne Warwick and The Spinners

Lyrics you'll love: "You're all I know, You made love grow, by touching my hand/I've never known love before, then came you"

"Your Song," Elton John

Lyrics you'll love: "I hope you don't mind/I hope you don't mind/That I put down in the words/How wonderful life is while you're in the world"

"You Are So Beautiful," Joe Cocker

Lyrics you'll love: "You're everything I hoped for/You're everything I need/You are so wonderful/To me"

"You Are the Sunshine of My Life," Stevie Wonder

Lyrics you'll love: "You are the sunshine of my life/That's why I'll always stay around/You are the apple of my eye/Forever you'll stay in my heart"

"Wonderful Tonight," Eric Clapton

Lyrics you'll love: "I feel wonderful/Because I see the love light in your eyes/And the wonder of it all/Is that you just don't realize how much I love you"

Best First Dance Songs from the '80s

As disco fell out of popularity, dance music took over in the 1980s. Stars like Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen catapulted to fame, and advances in music production technology resulted in a new trend of electronic beats. Relive your glory days with any of these first dance songs from the '80s. 
 
"Can't Fight This Feeling," REO Speedwagon

Lyrics you'll love: "My life has been such a whirlwind since I saw you/I've been running 'round in circles in my mind/And it always seems that I'm following you, girl/'Cause you take me to the places that alone I'd never find"

"Endless Love," Diana Ross and Lionel Richie

Lyrics you'll love: "'Cause you/You mean the world to me (oh)/I know I know/I've found, I've found in you/My endless love"

"Eternal Flame," The Bangles

Lyrics you'll love: "Close your eyes, give me your hand/Do you feel my heart beating/Do you understand"

"Faithfully," Journey

Lyrics you'll love: "Faithfully, I'm still yours/I'm forever yours/Ever yours, faithfully"

"Heaven," Bryan Adams

Lyrics you'll love: "Oh once in your life you find someone/Who will turn your world around/Bring you up when you're feelin' down/Yeah nothin' can change what you mean to me"

"I Just Called to Say I Love You," Stevie Wonder

Lyrics you'll love: "I just called to say I love you/I just called to say how much I care, I do/I just called to say I love you/And I mean it from the bottom of my heart"

"(I've Had) The Time of My Life," Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

Lyrics you'll love: "Now I've had the time of my life/No I never felt like this before/Yes I swear it's the truth/And I owe it all to you"

"Just the Two Of Us," Bill Withers

Lyrics you'll love: "And darling when the morning comes/And I see the morning sun/I wanna be the one with you/Just the two of us/We can make it if we try"

"The Power of Love," Jennifer Rush

Lyrics you'll love: "We're heading for something/Somewhere I've never been/Sometimes I am frightened/But I'm ready to learn/Of the power of love"

"You're the Inspiration," Chicago 

Lyrics you'll love: "You know our love was meant to be/The kind of love to last forever/And I want you here with me/From tonight until the end of time"

Best First Dance Songs from the '90s

High-energy dance tunes gave way to techno grunge and hip hop throughout the 1990s. Young stars like Mariah Carey the Backstreet Boys joined the music scene, while seasoned performers like Whitney Houston and Elton John released some of their most memorable hits. Find our favorite first dance-worthy '90s songs here. 

"All I Have to Give," Backstreet Boys

Lyrics you'll love: "But my love is all I have to give/Without you I don't think I can live/I wish I could give the world to you/But love is all I have to give"

"Always Be My Baby," Mariah Carey

Lyrics you'll love: "Time can't erase a feelin' this strong/No way you're never gonna shake me/Oh darlin' cause you'll always be my baby"

"Can You Feel The Love Tonight," Elton John

Lyrics you'll love: "And can you feel the love tonight?/It is where we are/It's enough for this wide-eyed wanderer"

"I Will Always Love You," Whitney Houston

Lyrics you'll love: "And I'm wishing you joy and happiness/But above all this, I wish you love"

"I'll Be," Edwin McCain

Lyrics you'll love: "And tell me that we belong together/And dress it up with the trappings of love/I'll be captivated, I'll hang from your lips"

"Kiss from a Rose," Seal

Lyrics you'll love: "Yes, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the gray/Ooh, the more I get of you, the stranger it feels, yeah/Now that your rose is in bloom"

"Only Wanna Be With You," Hootie & The Blowfish

Lyrics you'll love: "Well there's nothing I can do/I only wanna be with you/You can call me your fool/I only wanna be with you"

"Something to Talk About," Bonnie Raitt

Lyrics you'll love: "Let's give them something to talk about/A little mystery to figure out/Let's give them something to talk about/How about love, love, love, love?"

"This Kiss," Faith Hill

Lyrics you'll love: "It's the way you love me/It's a feeling like this/It's centrifugal motion/It's perpetual bliss"

"You're Still the One," Shania Twain

Lyrics you'll love: "Ain't nothin' better/We beat the odds together/I'm glad we didn't listen/Look at what we would be missin'"

Best First Dance Songs from the 2000s

Hip hop and R&B continued to dominate in the early 2000s, but pop music also exploded thanks to artists like Beyoncé, Jason Mraz and Taylor Swift. It's hard to narrow down the best first dance songs from the 2000s—with so many popular genres of music, the best of the best is open to interpretation. To give you some ideas, though, we've rounded up a few chart-toppers to use for your first dance. 

"A Moment Like This," Kelly Clarkson

Lyrics you'll love: "Some people wait a lifetime/For a moment like this/Some people search forever/For that one special kiss"

"Be Without You," Mary J. Blige

Lyrics you'll love: "Chemistry was crazy from the get-go/Neither one of us knew why/We didn't build nothing overnight/'Cause a love like this takes some time"

"Bless the Broken Road," Rascal Flatts

Lyrics you'll love: "I think about the years I spent just passin' through/I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you/But you just smile and take my hand/You've been there, you understand/It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true"

"Everything" Michael Bublé

Lyrics you'll love: "And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times/It's you, it's you, you make me sing/You're every line, you're every word, you're everything"

"Halo," Beyoncé

Lyrics you'll love: "Everywhere I'm looking now/I'm surrounded by your embrace/Baby, I can see your halo/You know you're my saving grace"

"Home," Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros

Lyrics you'll love: "Oh, home, let me come home/Home is wherever I'm with you/Oh, home, let me come home/Home is wherever I'm with you"

"I'm Yours," Jason Mraz

Lyrics you'll love: "So I won't hesitate no more, no more/It cannot wait, I'm sure/There's no need to complicate/Our time is short/This is our fate, I'm yours"

"Love Story," Taylor Swift

Lyrics you'll love: "See the lights, see the party, the ball gowns/See you make your way through the crowd/And say, 'Hello'/Little did I know"

"My Boo," Usher and Alicia Keys

Lyrics you'll love: "There's always that one person that will always have your heart/You never see it coming 'cause you're blinded from the start/Know that you're that one for me, it's clear for everyone to see"

"We Belong Together," Mariah Carey

Lyrics you'll love: "Who am I gonna lean on/When times get rough?/Who's gonna talk to me/Till the sun comes up?/Who's gonna take your place?/There ain't nobody better"

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