It seems that summertime has inspired a lot more songs than any other season. Whether it’s about love, heartache or fun in the summertime, this season has never failed in inspiring a lot of songwriters in composing tunes that have turned into pop classics that have endured generations after generations. Must really be the warm summer breeze that tapped these songwriters’ creative minds! Here are the classic pop songs that remind you of summer (in no particular order):
1. “Summertime Blues” (Eddie Cochran)
Rockablly legend Eddie Cochran fleshed out this ode of the usual teenage issues during summertime that very much ring true today — summertime jobs, no time for dating, and staying at home while the other kids are having fun. The younger generation who haven’t heard the song before can definitely relate to it especially when they’re in the same situation during summertime.
The song’s unforgettable riff and Cochran’s vocals led it to become a Billboard Top 10 pop chart hit during the late 1950s and became an enduring rock and roll/rockabilly classic.
2. “Summertime” (DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince)
Not only was he “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (based on his character on the hit sitcom of the same name) at the time, Will Smith was a rapper too and here, he collaborated with DJ Jazzy Jeff on this number where they also sampled Kool & the Gang’s “Summer Madness.” It became a Billboard Top 10 hip-hop and pop hit in 1991 and went on to win a Grammy trophy.
Barbecue grill? Check. Shooting hoops? Check. Jumping ropes? Check. Reminiscing your first kiss? Check. Family reunions? Check too! This may be your ultimate theme song for the season! “This is the Fresh Prince’s new definition of summer madness,” as Will Smith aka The Fresh Prince rapped through this bouncy ode to summer.
3. “Summer in the City” (The Lovin’ Spoonful)
The sweltering, sooty days on the city streets and the cool, vibrant nightlifes are perfect contrasts portrayed in “Summer in the City,” performed by the 60s rock-pop group The Lovin’ Spoonful. The memorable Vox organ part, the gritty singing by lead vocalist John Sebastian, the sounds of car horns and a jackhammer makes it a perfect soundtrack about the life in the urban jungle, no matter what the season.
4. The Boys of Summer (Don Henley)
Written and performed by the Eagles’ drummer/singer-songwriter Don Henley as his solo effort, it was releaed in late 1984 (which was clearly not the summer season, ironically), and went to become a #5 Billboard pop hit in early 1985. The song is more than “what-went-wrong-between-us” and “I’m-gonna-get-you-back” love story, it is also a thinly-veiled lament about his own generation selling out.
The song went on to win a Grammy award, and its accompanying music video won the MTV awards trophy.
5. “Summer Breeze” (Seals and Crofts)
This soft rock classic became both a pop and adult contemporary Billboard hit projects mellow and easy-going vibes. The song really does make you want to let the wind blow through your hair whenever you hear it.
6. “California Girls” (The Beach Boys)
A lot of people say that “California Girls” is truly a representative of the 60s surf rock, and it’s a little wonder why. Interestingly, this sunshiny paean to the virtues of the California gals was inspired by Brian Wilson’s first psychedelic trip.
7. “Summer of 69” (Bryan Adams)
Bryan Adams’ nostalgic ode to the carefree days of out-of-school summer months shot all the way to #5 on the Billboard pop chart in 1985.
8. “In the Summertime” (Mungo Jerry)
This bouncy, happy anthem that marches to the tropical beat became the only American hit for the British group Mungo Jerry. In 1970, it shot to #3 on the Billboard pop chart in 1970, and topped the UK singles chart.
9. “Saturday in the Park” (Chicago)
“Satuday in the Park” remains one of Chicago’s signature songs. It takes you to the scenes at the park such as a man playing guitar, another guy selling ice cream and people celebrating on a hot fourth of July. Released in 1972, it peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #8 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart.
10. “Summertime” (Billy Stewart)
George Gershwin’s aria for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess has spawned more than a thousand covers, but the most commercially successful version is Billy Stewart’s 1966 version, which peaked at #10 on the Billboard pop chart and #7 on the R&B chart.