Summer songs, for me, fall into two categories: songs about summer and songs that I associate with summer. This latter group includes songs that may have received a lot of airplay during a particular summer, or songs that take me back to a specific place and time. For instance, when I hear Lorelai by Styx and Lady by Supertramp, I am reminded of the summer of 1978 and the cottage I rented north of Bracebridge, Ontario. Similarly, 1979, by the Smashing Pumpkins reminds me of camping in Algonquin Park. Other songs that fall into this category include The Boys are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy, My Ding-a-Ling by Chuck Berry and Tumblin Down by Ziggy Marley.
There are other songs that I associate with summer because of their lyrical content or feel. Sweet Hitchhiker by CCR, Sweet City Woman by the Stampeders, Good Day by Lighthouse, Paradise by the Dashboard Light by Meatloaf and Hotel California, by the Eagles (warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air) come to mind.
As for songs that are about summer, there are many awesome ones, including Summer by War, Hot Fun In The Summertime by Sly & the Family Stone, Summer in the City by The Lovin’ Spoonful, In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry, Sunny Days by Lighthouse, Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters and Theme From A Summer Place by Percy Faith.
Then there are The Beach Boys whose entire catalogue could be considered a summer songfest. California Girls, Surfin USA, Fun Fun Fun and Little Surfer Girl are just a few of their songs that evoke vivid memories of summer fun. Of course, seeing The Beach Boys two summers in a row at the CNE grandstand in Toronto back in the early 70s certainly helps cement their summer image.
Jan & Dean (Surf City, Dead Man’s Curve) also wrote several popular summer songs.
For me, the best summer song comes out of that group of songs which I associate with summer because of their lyrical content and feel. Beginning with its very first line, Groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon, Groovin, by The Young Rascals takes me immediately to a summer place … a bright, steamy, hot afternoon walk along a crowded street … any time of the year! I love this song! Written as a love song, nothing captures the feeling of summer quite like Groovin!
What is your favourite summer song?
Have an awesomely steamy-hot day!