June 21, 2011, - 4:10 pm

Best Songs of Summer: What’s Your Favorite?

By Debbie Schlussel

The first official day of summer.  YAY!  These are my two favorite summers songs. Hard to believe the first one will be 40 years old, next year–but I like the updated, remixed version, which is slightly faster with extra drumbeats.  What are your faves and why? Entertainment Weekly’s “The 100 Greatest Summer Songs of All Time!” should give you some reminders.

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49 Responses

Debbie:

Chicago’s “Saturday, in the Park,” released July of 1972, written in July of 1971.

All time Fave. Played at Wrigley on Saturday games.

Occam's Tool on June 21, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Oh yeah remember that explicitly, It was 1972 me and my girlfriend enjoying the evening together in the dark in the park. No sex but it was great. If I ever see her again I will ask if she remembers

    jake49 on June 21, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I also note that it wasn’t listed by EW. Further, “Rikki don’t lose that number” referred to the wife of a professor of a member of the band at Bard College, not a drug deal or anything of that type, nor a homosexual relationship, contrary to the ludicrous writeup.

I saw maybe a literal handful of songs that were in the league with the Chicago song in the list. Seriously, “The Locomotion” over one of Chicago’s greatest hits?

Occam's Tool on June 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Even funnier is that the data on “Rikki” that I have above came from an interview in EW!

Occam's Tool on June 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm

“Hitchin’ a Ride” by Vanity Fair. Back when AM was king and WFIL-AM 560 in Philly with the Boss Jocks ruled the airwaves!!

Jimmer on June 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm

So many choices, so little time. So here’s a dozen legitimate finalists:

“Vacation” – the Go-Gos
“School’s Out” – Alice Cooper
“All Summer Long” – the Beach Boys
“That Great Love Sound” – the Raveonettes
“Jammin’ – Bob Marley
“Rockaway Beach” – the Ramones
“We Want the Airwaves” – the Ramones
“Kill Surf City” – the Jesus and Mary Chain
“Surf City” – Jan & Dean
“California Girls” – the Beach Boys
“Louie, Louie” – Iggy Pop (the best version out there)
“Crusin’ Music” – the Raspberries

Seek on June 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Being the world’s biggest ABBA fan, so glad to see Waterloo on the top 100. Pop music at its very best.

I always think of summer when I hear “The Warrior” by Scandal. It would be on the radio everyday as I was driving to my job…at a record store (remember those things? Records?)! Warm days, driving on Pacific Coast Highway with the windows down and this song blasting on the radio. I know it’s summer when I hear that song. Long live the 80′s (and ABBA music).

Janne on June 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Gimme Some Loving, Spencer Davis Group

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxA3atHD2QM

I’m remembering Panama Beach, girls, bikinis, beach football, fast boats and sun burn. I’m 18. And the world was beautiful.

Jack on June 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm

“In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry. Or, for some good cheese, “Summertime Girls” by Y&T. They both mean summer to me.

Blayne on June 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Sealed With A Kiss

Krown on June 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm

This is a tough question. Off the top of my head I would say Summer Song by Joe Satriani and Summer Nights by Van Halen. Two perfect, hard rocking songs for the season.

DM: Good choices, esp. the Sat. Love him. Wish I could play guitar like that (or at all). DS

Daniel Middleman on June 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Big Star’s September Gurl from my teen years & more recently Bruce Springsteen’s Girls In Their Summer Clothes.
Girls In Their Summer Clothes reminds me of everything I loved about Phil Spector’s tunes once upon a time.

Gary on June 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Noonday Sun by Deep Forest :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geOfhC5duw4

Here’s Where the Story Ends by the Sundays

Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears

Marigold Sky by Hall and Oates

Just Like Heaven by the Cure

pats on June 21, 2011 at 7:37 pm

“Summertime” by the late, great Billy Stewart. He did a great job on some of those standards.

Little Al on June 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Al, love the song. Thanks.

    It reminds me… I came close to posting “Summertime” by the Sundays on my list (same title, different song).

    pats on June 22, 2011 at 9:43 am

I always liked Baker Street…

Penelope27 on June 21, 2011 at 8:32 pm

And then there’s See You In September.

Little Al on June 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    And then there’s See You In September.

    Little Al on June 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Reply

    Good Choice.

    Miranda Rose Smith on June 22, 2011 at 2:00 am

Summer In The City – Lovin’ Spoonful

Chris on June 21, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I’d like to add the somewhat melancholy ‘Lakeside Park’ by Rush, Otis Redding’s ‘Dock of the Bay’ and Roy Orbison’s Blue Bayou among many others.
Also Van Halen’s ‘Beautifull Girls’ and ‘Dance the Night Away’ definitely sound like summer to me!
And I love (not beach boys) SURF music.

theShadow on June 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Linda Ronstadt also has a good rendition of “Blue Bayou.”

    I like Gershwin’s “Summertime and the Livin’is Easy,” Joan Baez’s “James and the Gang” and “Boardwalk.”

    Miranda Rose Smith on June 22, 2011 at 2:10 am

How about “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band (1976) and “Midnight at the Oasis” by Maria Muldaur.

Jack Meyhoffer on June 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm

What a fun post! Some great pics in there too. I’ll have to think of mine but for some reason I always remember the summer of 89 and Neneh Cherry and “Buffalo Stance”…and the great B-52′s CD “Cosmic Thing”

Love the Seals and Croft’s. 70′s tunes are my favourite.

Love “Hitchin’ a Ride” and Chicago is a great band. “Stronger Everyday” is my favourite Chicago tune. Like “Jammin” by Bob Marley, “Surf City” by Jan & Dean (however, I have NEVER been a “Beach Boys” fan…just never moved me but I like Jan & Dean)…SEEK has good music taste…Alice Cooper, Ramones…Iggy Pop…good stuff. Someone mentioned “Warrior” by Scandal. Boy, I loved Mrs. McEnroe! She is so talented. That was a great tune. Love Abba too.

LOL at Y&T “Summertime Girls”! The video was on non-stop! Loved the Gerry Rafferty reference (“City To City” is AMAZING!)

And I LOVE both “Midnight At The Oasis” and “Afternoon Delight”. LOVE all “Lost 45′s!”

I will have to think of my own…I love Stevie Nicks and as far as albums go, Hole’s “Celebrity Skin” is a masterpiece. That’s a good summer CD.

Skunky on June 21, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Let’s not forget The Beatles and “Good Day, Sunshine”

Peter Z on June 21, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Let’s not forget The Beatles and “Good Day, Sunshine”

    Peter Z on June 21, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Reply

    Another good choice.

    Miranda Rose Smith on June 22, 2011 at 2:17 am

Wow…that list is very good…it gets better as it goes on.

Some of the songs I like but are so overplayed (during my lifetime).

I’m a big fan of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun In The Summertime” and I love “Grazing In The Grass”…but the funky version better than the instrumental.

Too much to list but lately I have been obsessed with the voice of Mickey Thomas. “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” is amazing (Elvin Bishop) and I love Jefferson Starship’s “Jane”. That voice!!! (Oh, but who can stand “We Built This City”? Yuck!)

And the first three “The Cars” albums. AMAZING!

I love Janis Joplin’s “Summertime”. Good music is magical and a gift from the Lord!

Skunky on June 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Wow…that list is very good…it gets better as it goes on.

Some of the songs I like but are so overplayed (during my lifetime).

I’m a big fan of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun In The Summertime” and I love “Grazing In The Grass”…but the funky version better than the instrumental.

Too much to list but lately I have been obsessed with the voice of Mickey Thomas. “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” is amazing (Elvin Bishop) and I love Jefferson Starship’s “Jane”. That voice!!! (Oh, but who can stand “We Built This City”? Yuck!)

And the first three “The Cars” albums. AMAZING!

I love Janis Joplin’s “Summertime”. Good music is magical and a gift from the Lord!

Skunky on June 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I can’t believe no one mentioned Groovin The Rascals!

sgtvinnie16 on June 21, 2011 at 10:53 pm

In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry
The Girl from Ipanema – Astrid Gilberto
Summertime Blues – Eddie Cochran (or Blue Cheer)

ErisGuy on June 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Debbie, this is the 2nd year in a row you’ve done this, and I would like to ask you an admittedly sarcastic but relevant question: By any chance, do you prefer all early 70s mellow adult contemporary music with a lot of (what most people would consider to be) irritating extra electronic crap added to it? In other words, say, James Taylor’s, Gordon Lightfoot’s, or Bread’s greatest hits with all that percussive graffiti sprayed all over them? I’m going to go out on a limb and bet every person who posts here will agree with me on this one…The original unadorned version is a thousand times superior:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsW8rXPcnM0

I seriously doubt that Seals & Crofts approve of their creation being desecrated in this manner. I’ve asked you this before, and I’ll ask it again…Would you also prefer the Mona Lisa with a mustache painted on it?

Music from the period of 1960-1974 is my life’s passion which is why I tend to get emotional about these things.

Irving on June 22, 2011 at 1:04 am

Maggie May
Close to You

several titles on the list I didn’t know. It’ll be fun
to google them and listen.

CornCoLeo on June 22, 2011 at 3:11 am

Entertainment Weekly’s “The 100 Greatest Summer Songs of All Time!” should give you some reminders.

All the “Where’s “Soandso?” comments gave me even more reminders!

Miranda Rose Smith on June 22, 2011 at 3:31 am

Wow, LOTS of great selections and also some I never heard of! I liked “Summer Girls” by LFO mainly because they played it alot when my kids used to go roller skating. For beach music, you HAVE to have “Wipeout” which also works if you have a water park with a wave pool in it. I liked “Baker Street” mainly for the awesome saxophone and guitar riffs.

Sean M. on June 22, 2011 at 8:40 am

“Rock Lobster” by the B-52s and “I Wanna Be a Lifeguard” by Blotto

Der Nister on June 22, 2011 at 9:45 am

Not just any tune is a summer song. It should at least have some reference to the season in the lyrics if not the title…or at the very least, have charted in June, July or August. Here’s a great one from the summer of 1965 that everyone always forgets about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO_LcE9c57Q

Irving on June 22, 2011 at 9:48 am

Janne, you are wrong. I, yes ME!!!!!, am the #1 ABBA fan. Nobody and I mean NOBODY had and still has a bigger crush on Agnetha Falkstog then me. ABBA is the most perfect pop music, ever.

For summer, I always think The Beach Boys. California Girls is probably the most perfect summer song.

Not a song, but when I think of summer, I always think of the movie Grease. I recall seeing that come out in the summer and just feeling so fun and joyful.

Jeff_W on June 22, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Jeff, glad to see another ABBA fan on board. I was listening to them since they started and when it wasn’t cool to be a fan. It’s taken 30 years for everyone to finally catch up. When the symphony orchestra has an ABBA Music Night (that sells out every year, by the way), vindication baby! for all the years I was told my taste in music sucks.

    Thanks for the fun post and the great comments everyone. It has brought back a lot of awesome memories!

    Janne on June 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

Dancing in the Streets, Van Halen
Rock n Roll, Led Zeppelin
Dead or Alive, Van Halen
Pretty much anything with VH starring Eddie and Diamond Dave. Lot’s of partying memories for the history books. Guns and Roses was good for some adrenalin as well. I play but not nearly as well as Eddie or Joe Satrioni.

samurai on June 22, 2011 at 10:24 am

I’ve been partial to the namesake song…”Summertime” by the Jamies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8j9SSB_XNgo

Kent on June 22, 2011 at 11:46 am

“Cuz there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues!”

Rush forever!

Jared on June 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Summertime, the Jamies.

Summer Breeze, Seals and Crofts.

Night Moves, by Bob Seger. I guess any song by Seger reminds me of summer, especially Against the Wind.

Two Tickets to Paradise, Eddy Money.

Time to Move, Bittersweet Alley. I remember driving home from work on warm summer days with the windows down and this song would come on.

The Diver Down LP, Van Halen.

School’s Out, Alice Cooper.

Heat of the Moment, Asia. Listened to this when it came out in my first car and first obnoxious audio system with equalizer, power booster and home-built speaker box.

John on June 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm

“The Rapper” by the Jaggerz, recorded live at Villa’s in downtown Aliquippa, PA. Summertime in a steel mill town, when everybody sat out on their front porches and no one needed to lock their doors.

Dick on June 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Dick, what a great choice! Love that song!

    You guys got really good taste in music.

    Love the Bob Seger mention. “Hollywood Nights” and “Fire Down Below”.
    Good stuff!

    I’ll add another 70′s gem…Neil Young’s song “Lotta Love” sung by Nicollette Larson.

    Skunky on June 22, 2011 at 11:48 pm

In terms of Summer Breeze…both versions I like but you always go with the original.

Though this song was before my time, hearing “Palisades Park”, written by Chuck Barris and done by Lynn, MA native Freddy Boom Boom Cannon, you have a feeling summer might be coming. Hearing NY DJ icon Cousin Brucie on SIRIUS talk about it makes me feel like being there.

Looking at the list, the top 3 are clear and obvious.

Every Breath You Take…the first video I saw on MTV (had cable for the first time in 1983…lost it b/c I flunked in school!!!)

But looking at the list, with some exceptions, you are likely to hear many of these songs on so-called “Classic Hits” or the proper term is Oldies stations like WCBS-FM 101.1 here in NYC.

Bob Porrazzo on June 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm

“summer in the City” one of the best ever.

Naomi R on June 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm

From the summer of 1962, One of Carole King’s best:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UTVidEG6Dw

Irving on June 22, 2011 at 6:37 pm

I should add:

Long Way Home, Supertramp.

Dance the Night Away, Van Halen.

Anticipation, Carly Simon.

Fire and Rain, James Taylor.

The Volcano, Jimmy Buffet.

John on June 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Count me as another ABBA fan! (This now makes two Jeffs who are ABBA fans.) I also agree with some of the other choices, but I’m surprised that no one here has mentioned Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta’s Summer Nights.

JeffE on June 22, 2011 at 11:29 pm

How could I have forgotten Bob Seger’s “Fire Lake”? Isn’t he from Michigan.
What a talent!

“Who wants to brave those bronze beauties/lying in the sun/
with their long, soft hair flowing/flying when they run…”

Skunky on June 23, 2011 at 9:55 am

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