After months of being inside our houses in sweaters and jackets due to the harsh cold, summer brings glee to most faces! As a time to shed all your layers of clothes and run wildly into the open, the beginning of summertime brings out the child in most of us!
As a time to get into the water, summertime also brings people onto the beaches and pools. Cool drinks, punches, mocktails, and swimsuits follow us into the summer water as good times seem to last forever!
To accompany these beautiful times, we’ve specially prepared a playlist of summer tunes to get you into the mood no matter where on earth you are!
- 1. Boys Of Summer – Don Henley (1984)
- 2. Surfer Girl – The Beach Boys (1963)
- 3. Summer In The City – The Lovin’ Spoonful (1966)
- 4. Hot Fun in The Summertime – Sly And The Family Stone (1969)
- 5. All Summer Long – Kid Rock (2007)
- 6. School’s Out – Alice Cooper (1972)
- 7. Summer Nights – John Travolta & Olivia Newton (1978)
- 8. Hot Stuff – Donna Summer (1979)
- 9. Summer Night City – ABBA (1979)
- 10. Summer Of ’69 – Bryan Adams (1984)
- 11. Vacation – Go-Go’s (1982)
- 12. We’re Gonna Save The Summer – The Pearlfishers (1999)
- 13. Beach House – The Chainsmokers (2018)
- 14. Kokomo – The Beach Boys (1988)
- 15. California Girls – The Beach Boys (1965)
- 16. Summer Girl – HAIM (2020)
- 17. California Girls – David Lee Roth (1986)
- 18. Summer Wind – Frank Sinatra (1966)
- 19. Martha & The Vandellas – Heatwave (1963)
- 20. Summertime – Miles Davis (1959)
1. Boys Of Summer – Don Henley (1984)
This evergreen summer classic by Don Henley represents everything summer- sun, surfing, and driving on the highway! Mike Campbell, who generally writes for Tom Petty, was instrumental in the unforgettable summer vibes on this track.
The rocker sings about clinging on to a lover who has left him for her new crush this season. Don, who is closer to his autumn years here, holds tightly to the memories of their loving past as he knows she is probably never going to come back.
2. Surfer Girl – The Beach Boys (1963)
The original boys of summer, The Beach Boys, often call this 1963 single their first original composition.
Brian Wilson, who was only 19 at the time, wrote this track in his car on the way to a hot dog stand.
He created the melody in his head without trying it on the piano. Once he reached home, he put the harmonies together and called it ‘Surfer Girl.
3. Summer In The City – The Lovin’ Spoonful (1966)
John Sebastian’s brother, Mark, wrote these lyrics when he was 15. The song was based on his lyrics.
Based on New York’s contrasting day and nightlife, the song describes what it’s like to be in a crowded city during the day. The song uses car horns and city traffic noises to describe the day.
“Cool cat looking for a kitty” is when John sings about the excitement of chasing girls at nighttime when the city completely transforms itself! If you’re looking for an exciting summer tune, look no further!
4. Hot Fun in The Summertime – Sly And The Family Stone (1969)
Having his lover come back to him at the end of the spring, Sly Stone writes a ballad about the fun times that summer represents. Written just before their famous appearance at Woodstock in 1969, the song describes the feeling of being on cloud nine.
Peaking at No.2 on the U.S Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart, this summer classic is dedicated to the fun and games to be had during summer.
5. All Summer Long – Kid Rock (2007)
This summer’s anthem, “Singing Sweet Home Alabama all summer long!” is a chorus you may find hard to forget! With dancing girls and teenagers having an excellent time on the water, this summer rock classic represents all things summer, fun, and gay.
Kid Rock sings, “She was 17 and was far from in between.” He imagines the perfect girl in his head and the perfect kind of friends he likes to hang out with.
6. School’s Out – Alice Cooper (1972)
A summer vacation singalong for angry kids who have had enough of school, Alice Cooper speaks to the rebels in us! The 70’s rocker sings, “No more pencils, no more books.
No more teachers, dirty looks. Out for summer, out ’til fall. We might not come back at all.”
Live concerts are seen with teenagers enjoying these rebellious lyrics. This is the highlight of this anthem meant for the freedom experienced in the first days of summer vacations.
7. Summer Nights – John Travolta & Olivia Newton (1978)
This song appears in the musical Grease in 1978, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton. A song about new summer love, this romance takes on two completely different perspectives on what happened.
The boy boasts amongst his friends about how sexual the relationship is. The girl sings to her friends about how innocent their love is and how they hold hands and drink lemonade. But as the summer turns cold, their romance takes on a new color.
8. Hot Stuff – Donna Summer (1979)
For the first time in the 1980s, the Grammy’s included the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance category. and it wasn’t a surprise to see Donna Summer winning for “Hot Stuff.”
This ’70s mega-hit has Donna going around town in the night looking for guys to have a fling with. She sings about how she’s already dialed a thousand men. Waiting for a wild man to call her back, Donna feels her urges hitting the roof!
Although not known to be an extrovert in real life, Donna becomes the female predator in this dance number.
9. Summer Night City – ABBA (1979)
This summer dance floor hit was written as a tribute by ABBA to their hometown of Stockholm. The accompanying video shows the four members of the ABBA club-hopping through the nightclubs of Stockholm.
Walking in the moonlight and making love in the parks, the young musicians stay up all night. They are seen walking back home in the morning, after a night of fun, not remembering last night!
10. Summer Of ’69 – Bryan Adams (1984)
This 80’s summer classic is a staple on most people’s playlist of feel-good songs.
“It’s a straightforward song about looking back on the summertime and making love,” Bryan Adams said. “For me, the ’69 was a metaphor for making love, not about the year.”
It wasn’t an easy road while making this hit as the singer-songwriter had to follow his gut on the direction of this song.
He said, “I wanted to capture special energy on the track—and nearly lost my team doing it. I fought with everyone until it became the way it is today. It wasn’t easy getting it there.”
11. Vacation – Go-Go’s (1982)
This 80’s Punk Jam from the all-girls band is an outcry about how difficult it is to get over someone you truly love. Punk legend Belinda Carlisle sings this heartbreak song at the end of a summer romance.
With distorted guitar chords and an overall happy vibe, it’s challenging to realize this song is about lost love.
This punk classic which reached No.8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982, features in the documentary ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.’
12. We’re Gonna Save The Summer – The Pearlfishers (1999)
How far will you go to save your summer romance? The Pearlfishers, known as ‘One of Scotland’s best-kept musical secrets,’ spill out a deep track that questions our love’s integrity.
David Scott asks us whether we’ll walk the paths of loneliness to keep our love alive. He ends the song by promising us that our love will wait for us if we want it bad enough.
13. Beach House – The Chainsmokers (2018)
This is a beach house song about a boy meeting a girl who ticks all the boxes on his checklist. She’s got dark hair, and she is the girl next door.
The boy, singer Andrew Taggart, imagines all the beautiful things they could do together and build a life around that. The legendary Baltimore-based pop-duo ‘Beach House’ inspired this summer romance track.
14. Kokomo – The Beach Boys (1988)
Featured in the 1988 film ‘Cocktail,’ this is the song for you if you’re thinking of islands with beaches in the summer! The Beach Boys dish out a memorable tune that sings about a fictional island called ‘Kokomo.’
Starting by mentioning Jamaica, Bermuda, and the Bahamas, the Beach Boys take us to Kokomo, where we can spend magical times with our beloved and perfect our chemistry.
They state that everybody knows a magical place like Kokomo inside their heads, making this song more personal to the listener.
15. California Girls – The Beach Boys (1965)
This summertime classic has The Beach Boys singing about all the beautiful women they’ve met during their travels.
The east coast girls are hip, and the southern girls talk you into falling in love with them. The midwest farmers’ daughters make you feel just fine, while the northern girls know how to keep their boyfriends warm at night.
This Californian band has been worldwide, but can’t wait to get back home to some of the cutest girls in the world.
The king of good times, The Beach Boys, finish this song by wishing that all these amazing girls could be ‘California Girls’!
16. Summer Girl – HAIM (2020)
This three-sister trio band wrote this song as a tribute to the initial producer, Ariel Rechtshaid. A compassionate song sung by Danielle Haim presents herself as Ariel’s ‘Summer Girl.’
Danielle says, “I wanted to be this light that shined on him(Ariel) when he was feeling very dark. I wanted to be his hope when he was feeling hopeless.”
The accompanying music video signifies cleansing and becoming light as the three sisters keep on removing layers of sweaters as they smilingly walk down the street of L.A.
17. California Girls – David Lee Roth (1986)
The legendary singer from Van Halen, David Lee Roth, covered the Beach Boys’ summer beach classic in the 80s. This famous summer cover took him into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time as a solo artist.
In the funny music video that accompanies this song, we see tourists worldwide visiting California for the first time. Roth is their tour guide who calls himself “Diamond Dave.”
18. Summer Wind – Frank Sinatra (1966)
The title refers to the sirocco breeze that sweeps into Southern Europe from the Sahara desert at the end of summer. Frank Sinatra sings about a beautiful summer romance he enjoyed with this lover.
As the autumn and winter winds have come and gone, Sinatra still lives in the summer romance memory. He ends by saying that the summer winds haven’t let him down as they keep coming back to him in the form of lullabies.
When Bruce Springsteen appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in 2021, he chose Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” as the one song he could listen to for the rest of his life!
19. Martha & The Vandellas – Heatwave (1963)
Martha Reeves got her first Top 10 hit with Martha & The Vandellas in this Motown song. Martha sings about a guy who has been sending heat waves through her body every time he calls her name in his low, soft, plain but sweet voice.
Martha gets filled with desire when the man calls while suspecting that it’s the work of the Devil. The chorus has her singing, “Burning, burning, burning!” as she asks us, “Is this the way love is supposed to be?”
20. Summertime – Miles Davis (1959)
Our choice for today’s closing song is Porgy and Bess’s opening aria, ‘Summertime,’ which is the most covered song globally with at least 25,000 versions!
This classic has been covered in every genre, from reggae to jazz to disco.
Since the melody is from the Pentatonic scale, it’s highly versatile for different musicians to improvise over it.
Unfortunately, George Gershwin, the composer of this iconic song, never lived to see how famous it would eventually become.
“Summertime” starts with Miles riffing on the original melody of the opera version, although he eventually ditches that melody entirely and goes on improvising by himself.