Top 10 Summer Songs of All Time

May 21, 2013

Top 10 Summer Songs Of All Time


Picture it, you’re on the Big Sur Highway, the sun is high, the breeze is fine, the sky is blue. The mountains rise up majestically to your right, the ocean glistens like an endless pool of diamonds to your left You’re cruising at a cool 60 mph in your red 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster. The radio hums to the sound of the DJ’s smooth tones and then… he plays it, that perfect summer song. Life is good, you are unstoppable!


In reality, you’re stuck in a traffic jam on the M25 somewhere near the Dartford Crossing and it’s too hot because your car doesn’t even have a serviceable sunroof let alone an open-top (just me?). But no matter, because these Top 10 Summer Songs Of All Time will take you to the Big Sur in a Mercedes my friends, I guarantee it.




10) Summer Breeze – The Isley Brothers

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom”

Released in 1974, Summer Breeze reached number 50 on the Pop Singles Chart for The Isley Brothers. Originally written and recorded by Seals and Crofts, the track was covered by The Isley Brothers O’Kelly, Rudolph and Ronald (as vocalists) accompanied by younger brother Ernie (who gives us the wonderful guitar solo).


9) Surfin U.S.A – The Beach Boys

“If everybody had an ocean, across the U.S.A”

Released on March 4th 1963, Brian Wilson’s classic surfing song is set to the music of Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen” and is everything you imagine about sitting on a beach in California. Peaking at number 3 on the Billboard pop chart in 1964 the song became a regular concert favourite for fans.


8) Cruel Summer – Bananarama

“It’s too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go”

Released in April 1983, Cruel Summer was written and performed by Bananarama and was a top ten hit in Britain in 1983. Singer Sara Dallin said the song “played on the darker side of summer songs: it looked at the oppressive heat, the misery of wanting to be with someone as the summer ticked by. We’ve all been there!”. Although not initially a big hit internationally, the song’s popularity skyrocketed after appearing the the 1984 feature film The Karate Kid.


7) Summer In The City – The Lovin’ Spoonful

come on, come on and dance all night, despite the heat it’ll be alright”

Written by John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian and Steve Boone, Summer In The City reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966 and stayed there for 3 weeks. The song features a Volkswagen Beetle car horn and a jackhammer sound during it’s bridge to give the impression of summer city sounds.


6) Summer Of 69 – Bryan Adams

“Those were the best days of my life”

Recorded by Canadian artist Bryan Adams, Summer Of 69 was released in 1985 where it peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Written by Adams and Jim Vallance, the track made a strong impression internationally. Adams later appeared on The Early Show in 2008 and was asked about it’s lyrical meaning to which the wise-cracking artist replied: “69” is a reference to the sexual position, 69″ but in later years revealed that the song was built on the theme of nostalgia citing the beginning of the break up of The Beatles, his discovery of music and The Moon Landing in that year.


5) The Boys Of Summer – Don Henley

“But I can see you – your brown skin shining in the sun”

Released in 1984 by the former Eagles vocalist Don Henley, The Boys of Summer reached the top 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and in a 1987 interview with Rolling Stone, Henley explained that the song is more about aging and questioning the past. In an interview with NME in 1985, Henley explained the ‘Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac’ lyrics as an example of his generation selling out: “I was driving down the San Diego freeway and got passed by a $21,000 Cadillac Seville, the status symbol of the Right-wing upper-middle-class American bourgeoisie – all the guys with the blue blazers with the crests and the grey pants – and there was this Grateful Dead ‘Deadhead’ bumper sticker on it!”


4) Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks

“Save me, save me, save me, from this squeeze”

Written by Ray Davies and released on 3rd June 1966 Sunny Afternoon went to number 1 on the UK Singles Charts and remained there for 3 weeks and references the high levels of tax taken by the Harold Wilson’s British Labour government of the time. Ironically, the song’s video featured the band performing in a cold, snowy environment.


3) Get Low – Lil Jon and The East Side Boyz

“Let me see you get loooow”

Released in 2003 Get Low is a rap song by Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz featuring Ying Yang Twins (who later used their lines from the song later in their song Hanh! from the album Me & My Brother, and in the remix of Pitbull’s song Bojangles) and reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. A heavily edited version of the track featured on the Need For Speed Soundtrack and due to the profanity content, 3 radio versions were made for radio release (two of which were clean).


2) Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles

“and I say, it’s alright”

Released 25th September 1969, Here Comes The Sun was one of Harrison’s best-known Beatles contributions in a year which proved difficult for George (he had quit the band temporarily, was arrested for marijuana possession, and he had his tonsils removed). Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr recorded the rhythm track in 13 takes on 7 July 1969. John Lennon did not contribute to the song as he was recovering from a car crash

The song was never released as a single and therefore never entered the charts at the time although was later released on UK iTunes in 2007 through The Beatles back catalogue where it peaked at number 58.


1) Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince

“Riding around in your Jeep or your Benzos”

Released on June 20th 1992, Summertime was produced by Chicago-based producers Hula & K and reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is heavily influenced by Kool and The Gang’s Summer Madness (a popular hit from 1974). It remains DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s most popular song to date and is played pretty much on a loop on radio around the world during the summer (especially in the UK!).




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