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The Aldie Mansion Wedding of Alyssa and Justin

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Bride and Groom DJ Wedding

Although the New Year is almost here, I wanted to post a blog about a July 4th Wedding I had the opportunity to DJ at the Aldie Mansion in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Alyssa and Justin – the bride and groom – first contacted us after checking out our reviews online. Although looking at online reviews can be very helpful, we still recommend to all of our clients that they meet us in person before they make a final decision. Cutting Edge Entertainment’s wedding clients have the option of locking in their personnel for no additional fee. It makes sense to us, that if you meet a DJ or see an individual perform at another event, you can lock in that specific Wedding DJ for no additional charge. There is no guessing who you will be matched up with for your wedding, instead, the name of that DJ is on the contract.

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 I feel right at home at the Aldie Mansion having worked there many times in the past, some of which can be seen in previous blog posts.  Yet being intimately familiar with a venue is a huge plus, it isn’t nearly as critical to the success of a reception as communication. It’s important that the DJ is constantly communicating with the catering staff, as well as other event professionals. The goal; to ensure the party is running smoothly avoiding any unnecessary breaks (down time) in the reception. As the DJ entertainer for the wedding, I want to make certain that the crowd is either eating, taking in a traditional formality such as the first dance, cake cutting, etc., or of course, dancing (having fun). Since I have worked so many times before at Aldie Mansion, I know the party is going to have a nice flow.  Alyssa and Justin’s wedding was just that. We transitioned smoothly from cocktail hour to dinner, and then after dinner we went right into dancing. The dance floor was filled with guests the entire night, while I played a variety of music from the 60s all the way up to today’s latest hits.

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I’m extremely appreciative of Alyssa and Justin for giving me the honor of being a part of their special day, and helping to ensure that all their guests – both young and old – had a great time. I also worked alongside Nicole of Nicole Leigh Photography. She took some great pictures from the party. As always she rocked, and I can’t wait to work with her again.  I can’t end this post without also thanking the staff at Aldie Mansion. Kim and Shelly of Jeffrey Miller Catering do a fantastic job running the show. All of their maitre d’s, bartenders, and servers are first class, and I look forward to many more events at this historic and elegant venue.

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Most importantly, thank you to Alyssa and Justin.  It was a pleasure to work with you and I wish you both the very best of everything as you begin your lives as husband and wife.

-DJ Richie

Images Courtesy of Nicole Leigh Photography

Aldie Mansion

Wedding DJ and Lighting
Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Cutting Edge @ November 16, 2015

Cutting Edge Amps Up With Toner Sound Acquisition

Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, News, Sweet Sixteens, Weddings Comments (1)


It is with great pleasure we announce that as of November 1, 2015, Cutting Edge Entertainment has acquired the Toner Sound Entertainment Group.

In 1990 – at the age of 15 – Brian Toner began Toner Sound working out of his mom’s garage, much like I did with Cutting Edge Entertainment two years later.  Brian and I became acquainted a few years later, and the relationship has been mutually equitable and beneficial ever since.  In and around the year 2000, Brian launched the sister company to Toner Sound, Eventions Productions, which – over the last fifteen years – would grow into one of the largest and most successful lighting, audio and production companies in the Philadelphia region.  In 2015, when Brian made the decision to focus 100% on the production and lighting side of things and to sell off his DJ Company, I was excited for the opportunity to merge such a fantastic company with my own.

We will be retaining most of the core players – Disc Jockeys and talent – that made up the Toner Sound team for the last decade. With the acquisition, we will also be adding some additional services to our roster that Toner Sound historically offered including Karaoke, Drive In Movies and some other specialty events geared for the college market.  Moving forward, we intend to provide our new Toner Sound clients and customers with many of the same faces they have come to know and love, along with some fresh new ones.  With so many DJs, it’ll be hard to skip a beat!

Again, both Brian and I, along with the staff of Cutting Edge Entertainment and the new additions to our team from Toner Sound are all very excited at what the future will hold.

Craig Sumsky
Cutting Edge Entertainment

Cutting Edge Entertainment

Toner Sound Entertainment Group

Cutting Edge @ November 4, 2015

8 Great Love Songs from 1984

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It was a leap year in which the predictions of George Orwell’s critically acclaimed novel did not come to pass. The Macintosh computer first appeared on shelves in stores across America, while the Soviet Union did not appear, boycotting the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. In Great Britain, the music initiative known as Band Aid recorded the single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” to raise money and awareness for overwhelming famine in Ethiopia, which killed over one million people by the end of 1984.

In 1984 we lost comedian Andy Kaufman, novelist Truman Capote, and music greats Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson, Count Basie and Big Mama Thornton.  In that same year Marl Zuckerberg, Prince Harry, Katie Perry, Calvin Harris, Scarlett Johanson and LeBron James were born.

As far as love songs went, 1984 came up short on slow ballads but remarkably long on more upbeat love songs with the feel-good love theme.  For those of you who were there, some of these tunes might be cringe-worthy, but for anyone born in 1984 or early 1985, these songs may be responsible for your very existence.


“I Want A New Drug” by Huey Lewis and The News

The first song on this love song list became certified gold, entering the Top 40 in January of 1984.  Huey Lewis – a fixture of the 1980s – received heavy airplay with this tune on both radio and MTV.  “I Want A New Drug” cleverly compares love to the intoxicating nature of love, without the bad side effects.  The lyrics are clever, witty and fun, and all about getting high on love.

“Got A Hold On Me” by Christine McVie

This was the first Top 40 hit for Fleetwood Mac songstress Christine McVie.  “Got A Hold On Me” was written by McVie, but was not her first great upbeat love song, as she charted with another “You Make Loving Fun” – also penned by McVie – in late 1977 while still with Fleetwood Mac.

“Head Over Heels” by The Go Go’s

Enter the all-girl 80s group the Go Go’s into our love song list with this upbeat rocker.  Like the Huey Lewis’s “I Want A New Drug”, “Head Over Heels” is not a ballad, but a song about love itself, and the feeling love gives (hence the cliché title).  This tune was the fourth Top 40 chart hit for the Go Go’s, reaching the number eleven spot in mid 1984.

“Almost Paradise” by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson

This love song had all the makings of a #1 hit in 1984. It was from the soundtrack of a mega- hit movie (Footloose), a power duet by two mega-rockers, and one degree of Kevin Bacon.  Yet “Almost Paradise” fell short of the top spot, climbing to a peak position of #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.  At the same time, as a love song, a ballad, and a duet it makes for the perfect wedding first dance, and is a nostalgic classic.

“Stuck On You” by Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie crafted love song after love song in the early to mid 1980s, and “Stuck On You” is no exception.  This tender ballad broke the Top 10, settling in at #3 on the Top 40 chart and #1 on the Adult Contemporary.  Like so many other Lionel Richie hits, the title says it all.

“Lucky Star” by Madonna

Madonna made her Top 40 debut in late 1983 with “Holiday”, making “Lucky Star” her third Top 40 chart appearance and highest chart position to that point peaking at #3.  Her next hit, “Like A Virgin”, became her first #1 later in 1984, but I digress… “Lucky Star” was a completely unexpected addition to this list, but after vetting the lyrics again and again, it made the love song cut.  Although Madonna was considered somewhat risque for her time, the nursery rhyme lyric “star light, star bright, first star I see tonight adds innocent charm to this pop-fused dedication.

“All Through The Night” by Cyndi Lauper

Another great love song from 1984, this semi-slow dance ballad-ish love song is about as quirky as its singer.  Like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper burst on the scene in 1984, and this was her fourth and lowest charting tune that year.  “All Through The Night” is oddly charming and romantic, and reached #5 on the Billboard Top 40.

“No More Lonely Nights” by Paul McCartney

Our list of 1984 love songs concludes with former Beatle Paul McCartney, remaining relevant into yet another decade twenty years after The Beatles landed on U.S. shores. In spite of being from a fairly unremarkable movie soundtrack, “No More Lonely Nights” still reached #6 on the Pop charts, and is a somewhat melancholy tune, but a great love song all the same.

Great Love Songs from 1984.

So there you have it; eight great love songs from 1984 in the order of their appearance on the Top 40 charts.  Each song has been vetted, listened to (again and again) and evaluated with the lyrics read and scrutinized to weed out any proper nouns (girls/guys names) troubled love like breakups, infidelity, done-me-wrong or lost love lyrics or and sort of unrequited love (like when the person doesn’t love you back).  They’re safe for a wedding first dance, or just to dedicate to someone you love .

Love the love…


Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.

Cutting Edge @ October 26, 2015

Billie Holiday: The Musician and The Myth

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Upon completing the book Billie Holiday: The Musician and The Myth, I made the grave mistake of gleaming a few of the many already published reviews.  One in particular by Matt Schudel of The Washington Post began with “No figure in American music led a more interesting, troubled and tragic life than Billie Holiday.”, but that just isn’t the case.  So many, like Bix Beiderbecke, Elvis Presley, Michael Hutchence, Michael Jackson and more recently Amy Winehouse come to mind.

The je nais se quoi of Billie Holiday was her music.

In regard to the book itself, music biographies often have a tendency to get bogged down in the drama of the artist’s life seemingly for the sake of drama itself, but Mr. Szwed avoided those pitfalls.  The closest thing to drama was a few rich white people who threatened to sue Billie if their names showed up in her autobiography, likely with just cause.  At any rate, the book is an enjoyable and easy read at just under two hundred pages, and the author makes short work of the mythology part of the story in just under seventy-five pages.

Then it’s on to the last hundred and twenty pages, the Musician. That was the most fun to read, chock full of the art.  How it came to be, who may have been an influence as well as who opened doors or facilitated recording sessions, as well as the iconic musicians she played alongside. Best of all was the eloquent telling of how Billie Holiday played, and how her timing, and her sense of rhythm makes her music so… Billie Holiday.

Music is very personal, and I personally love the sound of Billie’s voice.  To me, her voice is haunting and enchanting, happy and sad, and reading this very precise biography helped me to understand the creative process by which Billie Holiday came to create her unique sound.  You either get Billie, or you don’t, and like the critics of her time, you either love her or hate her. From his writing, I got the distinct impression that John Szwed loved her, maybe even more than I do.

So there you have it from an avid reader of music biography, Jazz enthusiast and student of popular music history who fancies himself an amateur book reviewer; at fewer than two hundred pages, Billie Holiday: The Musician and The Myth is well worth the read, rich with information for such a short book.  Not to say it was a quick read, quite the opposite. In the final stretch, as the author broke down the crafting of each song, I just had to stop and listen to each and every one.

And on the off chance you’re not familiar with Billie Holiday, you don’t know what you’re missing, so feel free to use the last two chapters of this biography to become acquainted with her, and her remarkable output of truly unique music.  In the case of Billie Holiday, it is the music itself that is the rich legacy, not the trials and tribulation of her life.


Billie Holiday

Cutting Edge @ October 7, 2015

8 Great Love Songs from 1983

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The Force was still with us in 1983 as Return of the Jedi opened in theaters.  We met Ewoks, and we also met Fraggles, Doozers and Gorgs that year. The world ate “McNuggets” for the first time, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video premiered on MTV, and Compact Discs went on sale in the United States for the first time (Japan had them first).

It was the year we lost music people like Karen Carpenter, Dennis Wilson, Muddy Waters, James Jamerson, Earl Hines and Ira Gershwin. Yet was the year we gained Carrie Underwood, T-Pain and… William Hung (“She bangs, she bangs…”).

It’s a short list for 1983, but there are a few gems on the list, many ideal for weddings, anniversaries, or just to say “I love you”.


“You And I” by Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle

The title “You And I” has been used for dozens of songs, but in 1983 it was a romantic duet between Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle, with all the necessary love ingredients (building dreams together, there will never be another, etc).  This incarnation of “You And I” entered the Top 40 in late 1982, reaching #7 in 1983 and would be the last appearance of both artists on the Billboard Top 40.

 “Baby, Come To Me” by Patti Austin and James Ingram

 Written by Rod Temperton and produced by Quincy Jones, this love song just couldn’t fail.  In addition to Patti and James, if you listen closely, you’ll hear the unmistakable voice of Michael McDonald contributing to the backup vocals.  “Baby, Come To Me” entered the Top 40 in late, late 1982 reaching the #1 spot in 1983.  It would be Patti Austin’s only Top 40 hit.

“You Are” by Lionel Richie

This tune is unquestionably one of the most catchy, upbeat and fun love songs from 1983.  “You Are” was co-written by Lionel Richie and his then wife Brenda, with a yet unknown Richard Marx on backup vocals.  As far as lyrically love-infused love songs go, “You Are” is pure perfection, and rose to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, #2 on the R&B and #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts.

 “Mornin’” by Al Jarreau

 At first listen one might think Al Jarreau is just really, really happy in the morning time.  As it turns out, it seems his love has just told him she loves him, and he’s just very happy about it.  It isn’t exactly a conventional love song, but it is happy and it is about love… and the morning apparently.  Jarreau reached the #21 spot on the Billboard Top 40 with this tune.

 “Faithfully” by Journey

 Leave it to Steve Perry and Journey to deliver this epic power ballad.  Although the lyrics seem tragic, about a “music man” and the difficulties of maintaining a relationship while on the road, in the end the song insists “I’m forever yours… Faithfully.”  Need he say more?  It’s easy to envision an arena with lighters lit and swaying to this 1983 hit.  “Faithfully” reached #12 on the Billboard Top 40.

 “My Love” by Lionel Richie

 The title says it all on this, the second Lionel Richie tune on the list for 1983. And if you listen real close, you can hear none other than Kenny Rogers on the harmony backing vocals on this #5 Top 40 hit.  Unlike many of the artist on this list who were beginning to disappear from the charts, Lionel Richie would keep pumping out hits through the rest of the decade.

 “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love” by Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack

 This #16 Top 40 duet was written by two very talented hit-makers, Gerry Goffin and Michael Masser.  While it was Peabo Bryson’s first chart appearance, it proved veteran Roberta Flack to be just as relevant as she was in the 1970s.  “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love” is certainly a “making love” love song, but it’s the best kind of romantic, loving, making love song (if that even makes sense).

 “Islands In The Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

 When two Country superstars get together and sing a love song written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb (all three Bee Gees) with a title courtesy of Ernest Hemingway, you score a #1 hit.  This love song was #1 on the US Country, US Hot 100, US Adult Contemporary, Canada Top 40, Canada Country and Australia Top 40 charts.  Wow.



So there you have it; eight great love songs of 1983 in the order of their appearance on the Top 40 charts of that year.  Each song has been vetted and listened to (again and again) with the lyrics read and scrutinized to weed out any proper nouns (girls/guys names) troubled love like breakups, infidelity, done-me-wrong or lost love lyrics or and sort of unrequited love (like when the person doesn’t love you back).  They’re safe for a wedding first dance, or just to dedicate to someone you love without having to explain that Billie Jean is not your lover.

Love the love…


Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.

Cutting Edge @ October 2, 2015

The Skylands Manor Wedding of Bridgit and Doug

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Bride and Groom

As time marches forward and lazily passes us by, I’ll occasionally stop to think about moments – sometimes even as I’m in the moment itself – and wonder if they were simple coincidence or if they were destined to occur. I think the way that kicked off my wedding adventure with Bridgit and Doug is one that may be a bit of both. A year ago I began teaching at a middle school in Northern New Jersey, roughly ninety minutes from Cutting Edge Entertainment; a few weeks later a Bridgit and Doug, who live only minutes from the school, called our office to inquire about our DJ services. Little did we know, the unlikeliest of connections would lead to a perfect fit between Bride, Groom and Wedding DJ.

Mid-planning,  a venue change was required, moving the wedding from New Hope, PA to The Skylands Manor in Ringwood, NJ.  It was like I was here and they were coming here, and then they were there and… well I digress.  Needless to say, I’m now no stranger to the drive from Philadelphia, or to the Northern New Jersey area in general.  In regard to a venue change we didn’t skip a beat, but instead saved them all (the beats that is) for a group of wedding-goers that were ready to rock.

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The evening kicked off with a throwback dance set and the timeless “At Last” by Etta James as the first dance. Although Brigit described herself as “an old soul”, from a passionate DJ perspective it wasn’t old, it was classic! With a request list that included Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Temptations and Van Morrison it was easy to see why the crowd loved the Bride and Groom’s most excellent selections.  In many ways, Bridgit and Doug are like the dream clients; they gave me specific ideas on the music and feel that they wanted for their wedding reception, yet were conscious to choose tunes that their guests would also enjoy, and that would work well in getting their friends and family up out of their seats.

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Thank you to the staff at Skylands Manor for your hospitality, your staff were true professionals and an absolute pleasure to work with, and to Dana Lane from Dana Lane Photography for allowing us to feature these amazing images here on our blog!

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And lastly, I want to wish Bridgit and Doug all the best that life has to offer, and truly thank you both for being so great to work with.

-DJ Brian

Images courtesy of Dana Lane Photography

The Skylands Manor

Wedding DJ and Lighting
Philadelphia and New Jersey

Cutting Edge @ September 30, 2015

8 Great Love Songs from 1982

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In 1982, the Commodore 64 8-bit computer became the best-selling personal computer of its time, E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial was released, becoming the biggest box-office hit to date, and remained so for the rest of the decade (and beyond) while the Sony Corporation launched the first consumer compact disc (CD) player.

In music, Michael Jackson releases “Thriller”, soon to become (and remain) the greatest selling album of all time, Ozzy Osbourne bites off the head of a live bat and a newcomer named Madonna released her debut single “Everybody”.  While 1982 was the year that Kelly Clarkson. LeAnn Rimes and Lil Wayne were born; it was also the year we lost Jazz greats Thelonious Monk and Art Pepper, along with guitarist Randy Rhoads and comedian/Blues Brother John Belushi.

Although the list of love songs for 1982 is a short one, there was still love; it’s a pretty solid list, many of which are ideal for a wedding first dance. The eight love songs on this list are void of any “you done me wrong” or “why did you hurt me” or “please notice me I’m a stalker” nonsense, but just good love songs about the best kind of love… reciprocal love.


“Leather And Lace” by Stevie Nicks (with Don Henley)

The first of two duets on this list, “Leather And Lace” first appeared on the Billboard Top 40 in late 1981, topping off at #6 in early 1982.  This tune essentially pairs two great singers from epic 1970s Rock bands (Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles) making it a true Rock ballad.  This was not Stevie’s first great Top 40 duet love song, her first being “Whenever I Call You Friend” with Kenny Loggins in 1978.

“Yesterday’s Songs” by Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond began charting hits in 1966, and would continue until 1983.  Like “Leather And Lace”, this tune debuted on the Billboard charts in late 1981, but reached its peak position of #11 in early 1982.  The lyrics reflect on how love itself outlasts the fleeting nature of love songs themselves.

“Through The Years” by Kenny Rogers

This Kenny Rogers classic has become a standard at weddings and anniversaries ever since its release in 1982.  The lyrics of this timeless love song speak of a more mature, tried and tested love, which is likely why it reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts, while only reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Kenny would go on to have yet another great hit love song/duet the following year.

“Making Love” by Roberta Flack

Another 1970s songstress crossing over into the unknown 80s, Roberta Flack’s unmistakable voice delivers a beautiful ballad in this 1982 hit.  “Making Love” reached #13 on the Billboard Top 40 chart mid-year in 1982.  The message in the lyrics here seems to suggest in the most eloquent of ways that there is far more to love than just sex.  Food for thought?

“Caught Up In You” by 38 Special

This upbeat love song was the second Top 40 hit for the Southern Rock band 38 Special, fronted by Donnie Van Zant, brother of the late Ronnie Van Zant, former front man for Lynyrd Skynyrd.  This #10 Billboard Top 40 hit is by far the most upbeat rocker of a love song on this 1982 list.

“Even The Nights Are Better” by Air Supply

The Australian band Air Supply seems to have a knack for making a love song sound melancholy, so much so that I had to re-read and re-review the lyrics several times and I’m still scratching my head.  In the end, “Even The Nights Are Better’ makes the love song cut, charting at #5 on the Top 40 charts in the late summer of 1982.  Again, the elevators of the world owe a massive debt to this Aussie band.

 “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes

 “Up Where We Belong” is from the soundtrack of the movie An Officer And A Gentleman, which gave birth to the movie genre known today as “chick flicks”.  This is the second duet on our 1982 love song list, and was the first and only #1 hit for Joe Cocker.  The lesser known Jennifer Warnes would go on to record another chick flick duet with former Righteous Brother Bill Medley.

“Truly” by Lionel Richie

Former Commodore Lionel Richie’s solo career was built on the back of love songs, and “Truly” is no exception.  The lyrics of this tender slow ballad are a powerful pledge of love, and it’s no surprise that it was a popular request for the first dance of brides and grooms at weddings in the early 80s.  “Truly” went gold, and reached #1 on the Top 40 charts in 1982.


These are some of the best kind of feel-good fuzzy love songs from 1982. Each song on this list has been vetted for proper nouns (girls/guys names), or any hint of bad love like breakups, infidelity and/or done-me-wrong themes, or and sort of unrequited love (like when the person doesn’t love you back). They’re safe for a wedding first dance, or just to dedicate to someone you love without your girlfriend saying something like, “But my name isn’t Rosanna!!!”

Love the love…


Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.

Cutting Edge @ September 16, 2015

The Wedding of Meg and Chris at Auletto Catering

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Bride and Groom 01

Meg and Chris are not only an awesome couple that I really enjoyed working with as their Wedding DJ, but I also have the distinct pleasure of calling them my friends. Their wedding reception was held on May 30, 2015 at Auletto Catering in Deptford, NJ. The evening began with the wedding ceremony held on site in the garden area overlooking a beautiful pond, and their ceremony was held on a beautiful late Saturday afternoon. We provided the microphones and music for the ceremony. Sometimes people overlook the fact that people sitting in the back may be unable to hear the ceremony so having a microphone set up for the officiant, along with the bride and groom eliminates any concerns. Once the ceremony concluded, the guests were ushered to the cocktail hour area in the barn.

For this part of the party, I played music from the Vitamin String Quartet, plus classic selections from artists like Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble. As the music filtered through, guests enjoyed plenty of hors d’ouvres and drinks. When cocktail hour came to a close, we gathered everyone into the ballroom to start our high-energy introductions. As our parents, bridal party and of course bride and groom entered the room, the crowd showed lots of love and affection for our guests of honor. Once the bride and groom entered the room, they took center stage on the dance floor and had their first dance. After toasts by the Maid of Honor and Best Man, the staff at Auletto’s did a great job serving an excellent meal for all of guests, after which the entire crowd hit the dance floor. Meg and Chris were out there dancing virtually the entire evening, and that really makes my job a whole lot easier. Where the bride and groom are, their guests are sure to follow. Everybody was out dancing pretty much the entire night. From the first dance song until the last song of the evening, not a single person was in their seat. It’s always great to end a wedding reception on such a high note.

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This was one of the most fun receptions I have had the chance to DJ at Auletto Catering, and it was because of the bride and groom – Meg and Chris – are amazing, and I was honored to have entertained at their wedding. All of the images here were provided by Matt from Matt Gruber Photography, who was also a pleasure to work with.  Thanks for allowing us the use of these great images Matt!

Once again…On behalf of Cutting Edge Entertainment, I would like to thank Meg and Chris for allowing us the pleasure to make their event a success, and wish you both all the best!

DJ Michael

Images courtesy of Matt Gruber Photography

Auletto Catering

Wedding DJ and Lighting
Philadelphia and New Jersey

Cutting Edge @ September 4, 2015

12 Great Love Songs from 1981

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As 1980 quietly slipped into 1981, many changes were brewing that would inevitably change the musical landscape forever, and begin to quash the last remnants of the 1970s once and for all.  First and foremost was the debut of a cable television channel called MTV, which, upon its inception, played music videos 24 hours a day. A guy named Billy Idol left the band Generation X to begin a solo career, Ozzy Osbourne bit off the head of a dove and an all-girl band called the Go-Go’s were signed to IRS Records.  In New York City, while sitting in Tom’s Restaurant, a then unknown Suzanne Vega penned the lyrics to “Tom’s Diner”.

While 1981 was the year we lost Rock & Roll’s iconic Bill Haley, Reggae pioneer Bob Marley, singer/songwriter Harry Chapin and the epic and legendary songwriter and musician Hoagy Carmichael, the world saw the births of future stars like Justin Timberlake, Josh Groban, Beyoncé Knowles and Britney Spears.

But through it all, there was still love, and love songs in 1981; some great, some good and some not so good. The twelve love songs on this list are void of any “you done me wrong” or “why did you hurt me” or “please notice me I’m a stalker” junk, just good love songs about the good kind of love.


 “Every Woman In The World” by Air Supply

This tune was actually released toward the end of 1980, but reached its peak chart position of #5 on the Top 40 charts in early 1981.  Sounding slightly Country at the start, this Air Supply classic slides quickly into the staple mushy-wushy Air Supply mold.  Thanks to this Australian band (and perhaps Dan Fogelberg), elevators around the world are filled with joyous love.

 “Giving It Up For Your Love” by Delbert McClinton

Another love song originally released near the close of 1980, this one-hit-wonder (on the Top 40 charts) for Country artist Delbert McClinton reached #8 in early 1981.  Although likely one of the least recognizable today, in 1981 this was an upbeat hit with catchy lyrics that were (and still are) fun to sing along with.  As the title proclaims, this song is a declaration of love, and a great love song.

 “Woman” by John Lennon

The title is “Woman”, and the chorus repeats “I love you now and forever”.  One can only guess this was meant from John to Yoko, and with Lennon’s senseless assassination less than a month before this love songs debut on the Billboard Top 40, John Lennon left us with a gem of a love song.  “Woman” peaked at number two on the Billboard Top 40 in 1981.

“The Best Of Times” by Styx

If you attended middle or high school in the 80s, it’s likely this song was played, and played, and played again.  This Styx tune is one that “happens to be” a love song, although its original intention is suspect, as it can have many meanings (particularly the questionable second verse).  Regardless, it resounds in love somehow being the best of times.  This tune reached #3 in early 1981, and remained a go-to track through the early and mid eighties.

 “Morning Train (Nine To Five)” by Sheena Easton

“Morning Train” was Australian songstress Sheena Easton’s Top 40 debut in the United States, and remarkably rocketed to the number one spot on Billboard’s U.S. Pop charts.  As far as love songs go, “Morning Train” is sort of untraditional, and while too bouncy and upbeat for a wedding first dance or anything remotely romantic, it is without question a great love song helping to re-definine the new 80s sound.

 “Just The Two Of Us” by Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers

In a new decade, with Hip Hop yet to come and Rock still the predominant genre, this Jazz/R&B fusion by Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers was an unpredictable chart hit, reaching number two on the Billboard Top 40.  Today, “Just The Two Of Us” is a classic among classics, and if ever a love song were written specifically for dinner or cocktail music at a wedding, it would be this one.

“I Love You” by Climax Blues Band

As if the title didn’t say it well enough, a thorough listen to the lyrics says it even better.  Perhaps one of the greatest Soft Rock 70s/80s sounding love songs ever written, this one is an unquestionable home run.  I want you, I need you, I got you, I love you.  The Climax Blues Band charted in the Top 40 only twice, with this being the second and last, charting at number twelve.

 “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates

As Daryl Hall and John Oates – originally dubbed as “Philadelphia blue eyed soul” – evolved their sound in the early 1980s into a Pop hit-making machine.  “You Make My Dreams Come True” is yet another title that reveals the theme of the song. This tune reached #5 on the Top 40 charts in 1981.

“Lady (You Bring Me Up)” by The Commodores

Lionel Richie and The Commodores were soon to split, with Lionel to launch a hugely successful solo career, but before he left the group left us with this awesome upbeat just pre-disco love song.  This one is a proclamation/declaration of love from the guy to the girl (Lady), and broke the Top 10, settling at #8 in late 1981, yet Lionel was to do it once more that year (see below).

 “Endless Love” by Diana Ross & Lionel Richie

 An epic mega hit song from a not-so epic or memorable movie. To be clear, this is the original and only version of this ballad worth playing, with all remakes falling far short.  Written by Lionel Richie, he and Diana Ross deliver an unrivaled duet, one which not only reached #1, but went platinum and was named by Billboard as the greatest duet of all time.

 “Cool Love” by Pablo Cruise

 The fifth and final Top 40 hit for the group Pablo Cruise, this love ballad reached #13.  The topic is somewhat unique and interesting in that it refers not to the subject or recipient of the love, but to the love itself.  As the title infers, it’s a “Cool Love”.  What can be better than that?

 “Waiting For A Girl Like You” by Foreigner

Again, the title is a dead giveaway.  “Waiting For A Girl Like You” was the second single release from the album Foreigner 4, and reached #2 on the 1981 Billboard Top 40.  This epic love song was yet another that was played again and again at Proms and school dances throughout the 1980s, and almost as recognizable today as when it was released.


Each song on this list has been vetted for proper nouns (girls/guys names), or any hint of bad love like breakups, infidelity and/or done-me-wrong themes, or and sort of unrequited love (like when the person doesn’t love you back). They’re safe for a wedding first dance, or just to dedicate to someone you love without your girlfriend saying something like, “But ‘Superfreak’ is a girl you won’t take home to mother”.

Love the love…


Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.

Cutting Edge @ September 2, 2015

Katie’s Bat Mitzvah Soirée

Bar/Bat Mitzvahs Comments (0)

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This has been a big year for repeat Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah families.  On one hand, this is really great because it means that clients who already used me as their MC/DJ for a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah are coming back to use me again… a great honor in itself to know that I’ve done such a good job that they are choosing to use me again.  On the other hand, it’s like I’m getting to work on a whole new project with old friends and create an entirely new party, unique to that individual mitzvah child.  I’ve been doing this since the early 1990s and although to some this may seem challenging, to me it’s just lots of fun.

In this instance, I was to be the DJ for Katie’s Bat Mitzvah. I’d acted as MC/DJ for her brother’s Bar Mitzvah a few years before, so I already knew the family and we already had a great rapport, so from the moment that they came in for our wrap up meeting, I knew this party was going to be amazing.  Katie’s Dad was almost unstoppable, wanting to pull out all the bells and whistles.  The whole family had lots of great ideas, and working with them to achieve their vision was truly a party in itself.  Everyone laughed and had fun as we put it all together, so much so that before it was over we’d pulled in everyone else working in the office that night – including the owner of the company – for a big crazy think tank.

These folks had to be one of (if not the most) laid-back families I have ever worked with in all my years as a Mitzvah DJ. They all just wanted the same thing… good music and lots of fun and dancing. Katie and Dad knew exactly the music choices that they wanted to hear each and came in with their own respective lists ready to go. Dad even went so far as to bring the music with him on his smart phone to make sure I could hear what he wanted. We sat for close to two hours just talking about the night of the party… It was awesome!

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Finally, it was the night of the party. There is nothing that makes me happier than when a client walks into the room for the first time for that “sneak peek” to see what it all looks like. During the cocktail hour, I grabbed Katie and her family and brought them into the room. Between the lights and the décor from Event Creations, and the DJ setup we built, you could see from the look on their faces that it was exactly what they had envisioned.

It was Katie’s “Paris” theme.

Once Cocktail hour concluded, we brought all of the guests and family into the main dining room and from that moment on it was one grand soirée. It seemed that no matter what music I was playing – from Dad’s list or Katie’s – that everyone was there to dance and party. We even had some of the kids hop on the drums and play along with our percussionist. Everyone jammed out from start to finish. After dessert, Dad grabbed the mic and rocked the house rapping to Sugar Hill Gangs’s “Rappers Delight” while family and friends cheered him on… Truly amazing, and a memory I’m sure none in attendance will soon forget.

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This party would not have been such a success without all of the event professionals that took part in putting this party together. As always, it was a pleasure working with the staff at the Hilton City Line, and the folks who put together the awesome thematic décor from Event Creations. Thank you to Ann Marie Casey (the photographer) for the great images, some of which she was willing to share here.  And last but not least, kudos to my staff – dancers, lighting crew, DJ and video team for helping to make this such a special night for Katie’s friends and family.

Of course a super-big a big thank you (and Mazel Tov) to Katie and her entire family for letting me be apart of your amazing evening. I know that my dancers and I had a great time with your friends and family. When you and your guests are out on to the dance floor for the entire night, it makes our jobs that much easier. I wish you the best in everything and look forward to seeing you guys again soon.


Images courtesy of Ann Marie Casey Photography

Décor by Event Creations

Hilton City Line

Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah
MC, DJ and Dancers

Cutting Edge @ August 31, 2015