Summer and Music. Music and Summer. Anyway you look at it, it’s a perfect match.
Summertime offers a lighter feeling of less structure – almost a vibe that life is simpler. Albeit, as an adult with a full time job, summer isn’t the “break” that it used to be, but there’s still that sense of freedom, joy, love and happiness. Summer even romanticizes life. It’s the time of year that most of us long for – vacations, celebrations and more. And music? Music just makes you feel great! It’s scientifically proven that music stimulates the brain to release dopamine, which is a “feel-good” neurochemical. Couple them together – and BOOM. Almost like magic, it’s quite reminiscent of those amazing times with friends and awesome moments from the past. Summer themed songs bring out those smiles, laughs and even some bittersweet tears. So, sing and dance along with me:
Summertime: DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Summer, summer, summertime…time to sit back and unwind… Exactly! This song is simply about the all day fun to be had in the summer, which is something I remember so well from my teenage years. My friends and I would head to the beach club all day, and head home as late as possible. Then grab a quick dinner with the family and head outside to hang with the same crew we’d just spent all day with. And sitting with your friends to reminisce about the first person you kiss. Raise your hand if your first kiss was during the summer….(raises hand).
Boys of Summer: Don Henley
You know when you hear a song for the very first time and you feel “it”? This is one of my most favorites ever. I can tell you my love for you will still be strong / after the boys of summer have gone. I read that Don Henley wrote this as a representation of waiting for his former love’s summer flings to head out of town so he can regain her affection. It’s almost like “what happens in the summer, stays in the summer.” Not quite reality, but the fantasy of it is a little yummy. Maybe it’s the lack of clothing?
Cruel Summer: Bananarama
It’s a cruel, cruel summer…leaving me here on my own. I always assumed the song was about the cruelty of summer ending and needing to head back to school and reality. Turns out it’s about the wanting to be with someone as the summer ticked by and the misery of the romance never happening. Yep. Been there.
Summertime, Summertime: Nocera
Not as mainstream as the others mentioned, but such a fun one. Take me to the water, summertime, summertime, maybe, we can fall in love. Just add water and have a blast!
Endless Summer Nights: Richard Marx
Suddenly Last Summer: The Motels
It happened one summer/It happened one time/It happened forever….I read that Martha Davis wrote this song about how you know summer is ending when you hear the ice cream truck go by for the last time and you know he won’t be back for a while! So true!
Summer Nights: John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
Fine, fine – I’ll get out of the 1980s for a moment, but in return I’m going to give you a cliché. Summer heat boy and girl meet but oh oh the summer nights. In this song from Grease, Danny and Sandy are separately sharing scoop with their friends about their summer romance. Each has their own perspective on what exactly happened… Sandy’s recollection is sweet. Danny’s? Not as much. Because girls and boys, of course.
All Summer Long: Kid Rock
It was 1989, my thoughts were short my hair was long/Caught somewhere between a boy and man/She was seventeen and she was far from in-between……Talking by the campfire/It’s the simple things in life, like when and where/We didn’t have no internet. So true Mr. Rock (or can I call you Kid?). Summers back in the day seemed easy, effortless and uncomplicated. How can we not long for those type of days? Peace, love and rock-n-roll.
Under the Boardwalk: The Drifters
Not only is this song summer themed, but it reminds me of being in the car with my dad driving, while listening to his 50s/60s songs in the car on the way to our summer outings. Head to the beach, watch the waves, fresh air, nature, and the occasional running to some shade…the best! (Under the boardwalk) out of the sun / (Under the boardwalk) we’ll be havin’ some fun…
Summer in the City: Lovin’ Spoonful and/or Joe Cocker
Hot town, summer in the city/Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty… The song talks about walking on a hot sidewalk and what a nightmare it is to walk around a sweaty and crowded New York City. Ugh, so much yes… I’m a city girl and have all the love in the world for it, but New York City smells and feels like a hot mess in the summer. Years ago when I was pregnant and working in the city, I always thought of this song as I was walking from the subway to my office. Pregnancy, summer heat and the smells along 15th Street did not mesh. The song also references the differences between summer days and summer nights in NYC. Cool town, evening in the city/Dressing so fine and looking so pretty.
Summer: Calvin Harris
I had to work a little harder to think of a more recent song! This one is pretty entertaining though. And we could be together baby, as long as skies are blue. I think that means “forever,” so I’ll buy it!
Summer of 69: Bryan Adams
No list about summer songs would be complete without Summer of 69. I can envision this song blaring from those subtle boomboxes that many of us dragged around! While there are different schools of thought on the meaning of this song – wink, wink – this one screams of nostalgia. I could honestly rename this one the “Summer of 86,” as that was the last summer that my childhood beach club was open. While I and some others already had part-time jobs as teenagers, we still ran to that beach club as much as we could. We spent our days swimming, playing sports, and hanging out. When it closed down, in some ways, it marked the end of our “free” summers…We were growing up. Friends were off to college and real life was set to begin. hose were the best days of my life. Certainly.
What do you think ladies? Did I do the summer tunes justice? Those hazy, hot and humid days and carefree and relaxing nights. Two months of love, friends, family, and fun. The excitement and expectations of July, like there’s all the time in the world…..and the little bit of mourning as the end of August nears….and everything in between.
As DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince confirm “there’s an air of love and of happiness” during the summer. And in my mind, nothing brings out those feelings more than music.