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Ten Classic Summer Songs

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Richard is a freelance writer and blogger who enjoys all forms of entertainment, including movies, music, and television.

Summer Sounds

Summer Sounds

A Celebration of Summer in Song

It's never easy compiling a Top 10 list, like this songs for Summer one. When it comes to musical preferences, listing favourites can be a tough task when there are so many good songs from which to choose. Many tracks evoke memories from times past, and for me, these ten summer songs revive the lazy, hazy days of bygone summers.

Of course, everyone has their own favourite styles of music, but I grew up listening to the rock and pop hits of the day on a familiar transistor radio and using one of those old cassette tape recorders. Each Sunday evening meant listening to that week's music chart rundown while noting down which hits were worth spending my hard earned pocket money on.

Some of these made it into my record collection, while others were surreptitiously recorded onto tape. They all come from my musical golden era: the 1960s through to the 1980s. I hope you remember and enjoy some of the music I have picked as my favourite summer songs.


1. Summer in the City: Lovin' Spoonful

I was too young to remember The Lovin' Spoonful's Summer in the City when it was first popular in 1966, but I soon caught up.

The whole feel of this song conjures up what I imagined to be the humid, sweaty streets of suburbia. Lying in the quiet of a back garden in the UK, soaking up the sun, transported me to the streets of New York.

2. Summer Breeze: The Isley Brothers

Although Summer Breeze was originally a US hit for Seals and Crofts in 1972, that version never set the music charts on fire in the UK. Two years later, however, a cover version by The Isley Brothers became very popular and breezed its way into my psyche.

Reminders of youthful warm summer evenings listening to this soulful version, including Ernie Isley's masterful guitar solo, are what memories are made of.

3. In the Summertime: Mungo Jerry

Mungo Jerry were one of my favourite groups from the early 1970s. Probably because they didn't seem to fit in with a particular genre. Just good time music to have fun to.

In the Summertime ruled the music charts in both the UK and the US in the summer of 1970, and any party that was worth its salt had it playing. While some of the lyrics are ill advised by today's standards, back then listeners cared, but enjoyed the song for its summer party atmosphere.

4. Groovin': The Young Rascals

Groovin' by The Young Rascals was another song I was a little too young to remember when it was first popular in 1967.

But it's another one of those tracks that I heard regularly during the summer months, and takes me back to those long summer breaks from school. Its languid tempo and lazy Sunday afternoon feel was an ideal accompaniment to relaxing in the sun.

5. Cruel Summer: Bananarama

Although Bananarama were one of the most successful girl groups of the 1980s, they were never one of my particular favourites. However, Cruel Summer was all over the radio in 1983, and by this time I was working and relishing those precious two week breaks in the sun. This song just clicked with those feelings of the time.

As Sara Dallin of Bananarama told The Guardian newspaper (July 22, 2009): "The best summer songs remind you of your youth: what you did in your holidays, how it felt when you first kissed a boy (or girl), going away without your parents." She added that this song, "played on the darker side: it looked at the oppressive heat, the misery of wanting to be with someone as the summer ticked by. We've all been there!"

6. Sunny Afternoon: The Kinks

The Kinks were, and still are, one of my favourite groups and this 1966 UK Number One has always screamed decadence and laziness. A perfect combination for enjoying the long, hot days of summer! Ironically, the band decided to record the promotional film for the song in the cold and snow.

7. Summertime: Janis Joplin

There are so many different recordings of this classic George Gershwin show tune that it's difficult to pick just one. But in deference to my wife, whose favourite rock vocalist is Janis Joplin, here is Joplin's version of Summertime.

This song simply paints a masterpiece of the images and recollections of the summer season.

8. School's Out: Alice Cooper

Few warm-weather hits capture the exuberant feel of this last day of school anthem. Released and a Number One UK hit in the summer of 1972, for many kids this became the signature tune of the long, summer break that year.

After all, rock and roll was created as a form of rebellion and the lyrics to this classic reverberated with every school kid in the land. And it was a great summer tune, too!

9. Boys of Summer: Don Henley

Quite simply a great song. Interpretations of the lyrics have varied over the years, from the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers to the reminiscences of past relationships.

Don Henley is quoted as saying that the track is a nostalgic look at the past, questioning one's good intentions in youth, but aging into what we rebelled against to begin with. Like many of the best summer songs, it evokes an atmosphere of the past, whether those memories are good or bad.

10. Bryan Adams: The Summer of '69

Once again, nostalgia is the theme to this great rocker from Bryan Adams. I was more familiar with some of his other songs, but after I picked up a copy of his Greatest Hits, this track got a lot of play over the summer months.

In an interview, Bryan Adams talks of the influences on Summer of '69, stating that "it's a very simple song about looking back on the summertime and making love. For me, the '69 was a metaphor for making love, not about the year. I had someone in Spain ask me once why I wrote the first line I had my first real sex dream... I had to laugh."

Did I Say Ten Songs? - Here's Five More...

Here's five more summer tunes that didn't make my Top 10, but are worth including here!

  • 1. Summer (The First Time) - Bobby Goldsboro.
  • 2. Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran.
  • 3. Hot Fun in the Summertime - Sly and the Family Stone.
  • 4. It Might As Well Rain Until September - Carole King.
  • 5. Summer - War.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Richard

Are You A Fan of the Songs of Summer?

topclimb lm on June 26, 2014:

Great lens! Thanks for taking the time to create it...

Donna Cook on June 06, 2014:

Terrific lens! You certainly picked the best of the best. Being a Yank, I would also add anything by Jan and Dean ("Dead Man's Curve" and "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena"). Thank you for not listing Blue Cheer for "Summertime Blues"-they destroyed it.

CherylsArt on June 05, 2014:

You've got some cool songs here. I remember checking out the charts to see which songs I wanted to record on my cassettes, too. : )

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on June 05, 2014:

More memories! I loved so many of those songs when they came out. I'd forgotten about Bobby Goldsboro. Thanks for putting this together. Enjoyed it very much.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on June 05, 2014:

What a fun list! Clearly I'm older than you since I remember many of these on the first go-round that you learned to love later on, while some of the newer (guess "old" and "new" are all relative) ones I don't know well at all. In any case, I still love listening to summer music on our awesome oldies station.

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on May 24, 2014:

Honestly, I prefer the "Summer Breeze" version of Seals & Crofts.

Namsak on August 23, 2013:

Summer (the first time) by Bobby Goldsboro is my all-time favourite song for reasons I shall leave to your imagination :):):)

SamiPearl on August 22, 2013:

I agree you need some Jimmy Buffet as well as some newer stuff. "Boys of Summer" is my all-time favorite, though.

WriterJanis2 on August 15, 2013:

School's Out is my favorite on the list. I love that song!

anonymous on June 28, 2013:

I like the list, but no Jimmy Buffet? :)

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on June 13, 2013:

What can I say except "Yahoo it is summer and I love it!" The sun is shining and birds are singing outside my window. Love it love it love it.

CuriousBoy on May 17, 2013:

Those where the days...

Missmerfaery444 on April 02, 2013:

Echoing the comments below, well deserving of a purple star! Love all these summer songs but Boys of Summer is definitely the iconic one for me. Also love Summer of 69 but then that's because I'm a Bryan Adams fan!

Carol Fisher from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on April 02, 2013:

Congratulation on your Purple Star. Oh my - what memories many of these songs bring back.

Richard (author) from Surrey, United Kingdom on April 02, 2013:

@pkmcruk: Thank you , Paul!

pkmcr from Cheshire UK on April 01, 2013:

Congratulations on a well deserved Purple Star :-)

Eric Mayo on March 15, 2013:

Brian Hyland - Sealed with a Kiss

The Happenings - See you in September

War - Summer

Great lens! thanx.

Nathalie Roy from France (Canadian expat) on January 10, 2013:

My favorite would be Katrina & The Waves - Walking On Sunshine and summer of 69 by Brian Adams

Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on January 09, 2013:

This is so much fun! I love summer and I love summer songs :) Blessed for making me smile tonight :)

poutine on July 22, 2012:

My fave here: Summer of 69'

writerkath on July 01, 2012:

Outstanding list! Great charity to support as well. :)

anonymous on June 27, 2012:

Nice list, many fun songs!

Sharyn Read from ... either in the kitchen or at my laptop... on June 22, 2012:

That would have been a hard list to make! Fun lens!

TL Stahling from US on June 03, 2012:

I loved that you included Janis Joplin's Summertime. I have a great summer memory of a bunch of friends hanging and swimming around a pool singing that song all together.

JebbieBlue on September 28, 2011:

The Isley Brother's, "Summer Breeze" is one of my favorites too. Thanks for sharing your list of summer favorites.

RazzbarryBreeze on September 12, 2011:

Great Lens.. Great choice of songs..

fashionistadiva on August 24, 2011:

Wonderful lens!!

KenSomerville on August 23, 2011:

I think that I got a sun burn.Loved it. thanks ken

mgs249 on August 15, 2011:

I love summer! Even tho' it's hot in Houston, TX, I still prefer summer. The songs of summer are great. Thanks for mentioning Bobbie Goldsboro. I have one of his record albums and still play it. Yes, I have a turntable!! Thanks again for this lens. Mary

ScottHolt on August 14, 2011:

CLASSIC songs!

DuaneJ on August 08, 2011:

Well done! I enjoyed the selection of songs...Summer of '69 is my favorite :-)

Pete Schultz on August 05, 2011:

Great choices, and I notice someone added the Drifters "Under the boardwalk" but they also had a great summer song with "Up on the Roof"

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on August 05, 2011:

Having Bryan Adams and The Beach Boys on one lens just makes it so groovy! Such different takes on music! Love them both, and the Kinks, and the Little Rascals, and....oh well I love music in general. Great job!

Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on August 04, 2011:

I love so many of these songs of summer and before I even opened your lens I was thinking "Summer Breeze," but I liked the original one. Thanks for sharing because all of these songs brought lots of good memories back to me.

Pat from Midwest, USA on August 04, 2011:

I love this lens!

burntchestnut on August 04, 2011:

I knew about three fourths of these songs. Great memories!

Jennifer Alison Emmer from San Jose, California on August 04, 2011:

I have to agree with your choice. These tunes are a must have on any summer cruising expedition. ~Jennifer

Fatima Stevens from Gravesend on August 04, 2011:

Great lens!

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on August 04, 2011:

Nice selection of SUMMER songs! Love Seals and Crofts' Summer Breeze.

puzzlerpaige on July 17, 2011:

Had to play Summer of 69 and go back in time a little. You are a music whiz.

'Vikk Simmons from Houston on June 29, 2011:

Great job. I actually knew some of these.

pancreatitishelp on June 28, 2011:

i love summer of 69. Thanks heaps for sharing

lynnrdavis on June 20, 2011:

Great lens! More summer songs to add to my list of favorites

celeBritys4africA on June 10, 2011:

I like Bryan Adams so much. One of my favorites.

DuaneJ on June 07, 2011:

nice selection!

Marelisa on May 25, 2011:

You're so right: regardless of the weather, these songs make you think of summer. I've featured this on my "Celebrate Summer" lens. :-)

LondonWanderer on April 17, 2011:

Really enjoyed that lens - thank you

LondonWanderer on April 17, 2011:

Really enjoyed that lens - thank you

lilymom24 on April 05, 2011:

When I saw the title, I knew that Summer of Sixty-Nine had to be on the list. Its one of my favorite summer songs. Nice lens and nice song choices.

Kiwisoutback from Massachusetts on April 01, 2011:

School's Out is my favorite from the list. I remember singing it as we ran out of school on the last day of the year. Good times! Squid Angel blessed.

HorseAndPony LM on March 19, 2011:

Great list of summer songs. It's Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts for me. I love Don Henley's Boys of Summer.

justholidays on March 19, 2011:

Wow! In the Summertime by Mongo Jerry always reminds me of my father. I don't know why, as I don't remember he would look like the singer neither would ever have listened to those songs, lol. This happens often, some songs remind me from people I never met, things I've never known... A good lens to include in my Summer Fun angeling neighbourhood!

Did I hear blessings? Hm...

Yep, this lens just got blessed by a passing Angel on Squidoo.

awakeningwellness on August 29, 2010:

A lot of great fun songs, Summer in the City is probably my favorite one too!

writerkath on July 27, 2010:

I love summertime songs, and your lovely lens brought back lots of memories! To this day, when I hear "Summer in the City," I am transported back to the Jersey Shore (ah... that's the "NEW Jersey shore in the US!") where I spent vacations as a child.

I also love Katrina and the Wave's upbeat "Walking on Sunshine" which brings back summers of the 70's... And Mungo Jerry! Haven't thought about that one in ages!

Congratulations on your Sunshine Award!

Cheers!

Kath :)

anonymous on July 27, 2010:

P.S. I nominated your lens for a Summer Sunshine Award!

anonymous on July 27, 2010:

Wonderful lens and so beautifully presented. Made me want lemonade -- and I don't even LIKE lemonade. :D I wanted to add Up On the Roof by the Drifters. It doesn't exactly fit summer, but I always appreciate the magic of the "escape" they find on the roof. It reminds me of an every-single-day vacation.

the777group lm on July 17, 2010:

In one of those mis-heard lyrics moments,. I always thought "The Boys Of Summer" was "The Poisoned Summer". I still prefer my version!

Patricia on July 16, 2010:

Great lens! Love Summer Breeze! Blessed it!

Sue Dixon from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK on July 14, 2010:

Love this list! I think I'd have to have an early Beach Boys song in my list- maybe Fun, fun fun, but love all your choices

Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on July 14, 2010:

What an interesting collection of summer songs from Isley Brothers to Alice Cooper. Love it!

anonymous on July 10, 2010:

I love them all and can't pick a favorite. The list is too good.

JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on July 09, 2010:

How did you narrow it down to only ten? I could listen to songs 24/7 and not be tired of enjoying great songs!

triathlontraini1 on July 08, 2010:

Beautiful use of summer colors! And yes, these are great summer songs!

GrowWear on July 04, 2010:

Love your choices. Gonna have to say that Groovin' hits the spot today as my number one summer song. :)

anonymous on June 26, 2010:

It's funny how music can take you back to an old place in your life. Music sure has changed but these songs are classic and timeless. Great lens !

anonymous on June 22, 2010:

I'm so glad your lens won a Sunshine Award. I love all the songs you selected. Took me back to high school.

anonymous on June 22, 2010:

I'm so glad your lens won a Sunshine Award. I love all the songs you selected. Took me back to high school.

sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on June 21, 2010:

interesting summer lens. congratulations on your award. best wishes

squid-janices7 on June 18, 2010:

Congrats on winning the Sunshine Award!

tssfacts on June 17, 2010:

Congratulations on your Summer Sunshine Award! I remember most of these song and some I had forgotten. Great lens and congrats again.

Joan4 on June 17, 2010:

Congratulations on your Summer Sunshine Award! Wonderful for you and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

Spook LM on June 17, 2010:

I'm actually suitably impressed with this lens. The only one I remember is the Mungo Jerry one and truthfully I wasn't that impressed with it but it's still a nice song. As you said tastes are so different. Before I forget loved Janis Joplin but don't remember the song. Congratulations on your award and to a worthy cause.

burgessvillian on June 17, 2010:

I know theses songs and like them as well. Great summer lens. Congrats on winning the sunshine award.

anonymous on June 16, 2010:

What a fun trip down a nostalgic summer lane filled with music! Love your choices! A hearty congratulations to you and your charity for the Sunshine Award. Well deserved!

Dianne Loomos on June 16, 2010:

I love your choices here! Congrats to you and your chosen charity!

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on June 16, 2010:

Love this very sunny lens! I, unlike you, am old enough to remember some of these older songs when they came out. Great choices! Congratulations to you and your charity!

LadyFlashman from United Kingdom on June 16, 2010:

Completely and whole-heartedly agree that each and every one of these songs is a classic! Brilliant lens and congratulations for winning the Sunshine Award!

Jennifer Sullivan from Chicago, IL on June 16, 2010:

Great "mix tape"! Blessed by a squidangel

modz on June 16, 2010:

Congrats for Winning 99$ !!! :) I love summer :)

clouda9 lm on June 16, 2010:

Congrats to you and your charity Rich...this is a power packed music lens! Oh and it's toe-tappin' fun too ;)

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on June 16, 2010:

Congratulations to you and your charity, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

anonymous on June 16, 2010:

Congrats on your Sunshine Award! http://blogs.squidoo.com/squidblog/2010/06/16/suns... Thanks to you, you and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society have $99 for your cause.

Trina Sonenberg from Nucla, Colorado on June 16, 2010:

We share the same taste in music. Well done! I love these tunes.

justholidays on June 15, 2010:

Oh, lovely, she said. Honestly, I loved all those songs you listed here! Once again, I can't do anything but praise your tastes as you always find the best songs to feature. You brought the Sun to my day, Richard as the real one is desperately missing. Thanks for this!

Joan4 on June 15, 2010:

Fun! Some brought back memories, some were new to me! Great selection of summer songs!

Nan from London, UK on June 15, 2010:

This instantly brought to mind listening to sings on the radio and trying to record them by holding a cassette tape recorder up to the speaker.

Love all your song choices.

WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on June 15, 2010:

Cool Summer Songs. I started high school back in '69. Who could forget Bryan Adams. Thanks for the memories! PS. I have a lens on Katrina & the Waves and she sang "Walking on Sunshine". I've added it to the plexo. Have a great summer! :)

Treasures By Brenda from Canada on June 15, 2010:

Great lens, Richard! I love summer songs!!!

KarenTBTEN on June 14, 2010:

I like Summer Breeze and The Summer of 69. Nicely done lens!

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on June 14, 2010:

Oh wow, I did have a few flashbacks to the 60's and it sure was fun. This lens is now featured on Squidoo's Summer Sunshine Award Nominees and nominated.

kimmanleyort on June 14, 2010:

A great list, Rich. I would have to say Groovin' best sums up summer for me. Nominated!

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on June 14, 2010:

Summer Breeze is one of my all time favorite songs! Great compilation of songs. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on June 14, 2010:

Summer Breeze is one of my all time favorite songs! Great compilation of songs. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

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