"An empty man is full of himself." -- Edward Abbey

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Best Songs of Summer

     According to the astronomical calendar, summer started on June 21. But according to the cultural calendar, it began on Memorial Day, and runs through Labor Day -- 14 weeks of picnics, barbecues, beach parties, gardening and outdoor sports, all accompanied by a blaring radio, or stereo ... or iPod.

     That puts us, right now, in the middle of July, smack dab in the middle of summer. And so I went in search of the very best summer songs ... Baby Boomer style, of course. For those of you with some time on your hands, here are the links; plus, my two favorites down at the bottom. Did I miss one?

# 14.  "In the Summertime" by Jerry Mungo -- a funky beat from a British singer, circa 1970.

# 13.  "Summertime Blues" by Eddie Cochran -- a top hit from way back in 1958.

# 12.  "Summer Nights" with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta -- from the 1978 movie Grease.

# 11.  "Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful -- I had a friend in high school who loved this song, played it all the time. Annoyed the hell out of me. But it's still a classic.

#10.   "Surf City" by Jan and Dean -- co-written by Jan Berry and Brian Wilson, topped the charts in 1963.

# 9.   "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer" from Nat King Cole -- how can you not sing along with this goofy song from 1963.

# 8.   "Summer Wind" from Frank Sinatra -- with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, it became a classic for the Chairman of the Board.

# 7.  "Under the Boardwalk" from The Drifters -- in 1964, "on a blanket with my baby's where I'll be..."

# 6.   "Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplane, a touchstone for the 1967 Summer of Love.

# 5.   "California Girls" by the Beach Boys -- top hit from their 1965 album Summer Days.

# 4.   "Summer of '69" by Bryan Adams -- a hit from 1985, but an ode of summers of yore.

# 3.   "School's Out" by Alice Cooper -- the 1972 rant captures the sheer thrill of getting out of school for the summer, a feeling none of us will ever forget, no matter how old we are. This song also energized the popular 1998 Cameron Diaz comedy There's Something About Mary.

# 2.   "Stand By Me," from Ben E. King -- the Number 1 song of 1961, and theme song of the 1986 movie about four young friends searching for a dead body in the summer of 1959, starring Will Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell and Kiefer Sutherland as the "bad boy" older kid.

# 1.   "Summertime" from George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess -- It's been recorded by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and other greats, but my favorite version was rasped out by Janis Joplin, circa 1969.


June said...

Time is telescoping on me....
the movie came out in 1986????

Bob Lowry said...

On several charts the #1 song of the 1960s was not by the Beatles or Beach Boys or Rolling Stones. It was "Theme from a Summer Place" by Percy Faith.

Summer time song? Maybe in title only, but a monster hit.

schmidleysscribblins.wordpress.com said...

A song from the 1950s...."It's Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-sumertime. No more studying history, no more bi-ol-ogy, because its sum-sumertime." Don't know who recorded it, but it may have been the Everly Brothers. And, as Bob Lowry said, the theme from 'Summer Place' with Sandra Dee, Richard Egan, Dorothy Parker (?) and that blond kid. A real shocker that was.

Sally Wessely said...

Great post!

Nance said...

My fave is Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer In The City." I hear it in my head every mid-summer. Best lyrics, uniquely spun! This was good, free fun. Thanks very much!

Kay Dennison said...

I span the generations -- my favs are Gershwin, Nat King Cole and Alice Cooper!!!! Does the last cancel out my status as an old fuddy-duddy? LOL

Tom said...

Sure enough, the movie "Stand By Me" based on the Stephen King short story came out in 1986. Amazin' isn't it?

And thanks for reminding me of "Theme from a Summer Place." I completely forgot about it. A make-out song, if there ever was one. (So we know what you guys were doin'!) And the Jamies 1958 single (I had to do a little research to find that out) "Summertime, Summertime."

Oh, Kay, we know you're not really a fuddy duddy, but we'll make you an honorary fuddy duddy. How's that?!?

Anonymous said...

A Summer Place, 1959 with Dorothy McGuire, Troy Donahue (the Blond Kid), Sandra Dee, Richard Egan (the adult hunk), Arthur Kennedy (the pitiful husband) and a theme that makes the hair on my neck stand on end. Thanks for the memories. LJ