Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summer Songs

The mercury is in the 90s, everyone is wearing shorts, and gelato sales are booming. It's summer in Kansas City. Today's the official start of the season.

The other night, we had a discussion of what makes a summer song. For me, it's a feel thing - it should beg to be cranked loud on a car stereo, it should have an infectious chorus, and it should be happy. It probably ought to be about a short-lived romance. If you can work in some steel drums, you're nearing perfection.

For Robin, ever the literalist, it needs a summer reference. "Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful, for instance.

A third approach is to focus on the songs that bring you back to summer. For me, that would probably be the summers I was in my early teens, walking to the YMCA on Bermuda Road and hanging out all day at the pool with Brad Notch, Karen Politowski, Barb Hezel and listening to the pop music over the speaker system. Songs like Crocodile Rock, The Night Chicago Died, and Takin' Care of Business conjure the smell of Coppertone and chlorine.

What makes a great summer song for you?

14 Comments:

Blogger AM said...

It has to be fabulously catchy, of course and I need to be able to CRANK IT in the car with the windows down. Summer references are nice, but not essential.

The Beach Boys are the ultimate summer music, as far as I'm concerned. Oh and Springsteen's "Born in the USA" is a great summer album.

6/21/2006 8:31 AM  
Blogger emawkc said...

Dan,
I've mentioned podsafe (independent) music on your blog before. One of the hottest is Brother Love. He's got a great summer song called (ironically) Summertime. It's got a great old-school riff, but the production is thoroughly modern. You can listen for free on the link.

(I know this sounds really spammy, but I have no financial affiliation with the artist. I just like seeing the independents get some play)

6/21/2006 8:57 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

Definitely something to crank with the windows down. For me a summer song also requires some reference to driving. More than hanging out, I've always associated the season summer with driving. Whether we were headed to summer camp or to visit my cousins in western South Dakota or just plain driving. Tom Petty's "Running Down a Dream" or Fastball's "The Way" are a just two examples.

emaw: Sweet tune.

6/21/2006 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Brooksider said...

mmmm, there are so many different moods of summer and music. Dusk as the heat lets go and fireflies float on the breeze – lilting southern jazz to decompress the day. Midday and hyper active heat at the beach or the pool – rock and world beat. Cool mornings to open up the house and read the paper – classical.

And driving, the greatest summertime pastime; the family vacations with sing-a-longs; friends rocking with the windows down and no particular place to go; alone, but not for long, music to grow the anticipation.

The all time best driving song: Tom Cochran “Life is a Highway”
Life's like a road that your travelin’ on
When there's one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend and sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your head to the wind
There's a world outside ev'ry darkened door
Where blues won't haunt you anymore
Where the brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore

We won't hesitate
Break down the garden's gate
There's not much time left today

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you're going my way
I wanna drive it all night long
etc

6/21/2006 11:33 AM  
Blogger Happy In Bag said...

For me, a summer song has to have universal appeal. It's the song you hear blasting out of everyone's car in July. So for 2006, it'll probably be Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." The new Outkast single is weak, and so is the new Beyonce/Jay-Z collabo. I can't see Chamillionaire's song about criminal behavior, "Ridin'," being embraced by one and all, although that's my pick.

6/21/2006 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Artist: The Young Rascals Lyrics
Song: Groovin' Lyrics

Groovin' . . . on a Sunday afternoon
Really couldn't get away too soon
I can't imagine anything that's better
The world is ours whenever we're together
There ain't a place I'd like to be instead of . . .
Groovin' . . . down a crowded avenue
Doin' anything we like to do
There's always lots of things that we can see
We can be anyone we want to be
And all those happy people we could meet just . . .
Groovin' . . . on a Sunday afternoon
Really couldn't get away too soon
Ah-ha-ha [3 times]
We'll keep on spending sunny days this way
We're gonna talk and laugh our time away
I feel it comin' closer day by day
Life would be ecstasy, you and me endlessly . . .
Groovin' . . . on a Sunday afternoon
Really couldn't get away too soon
Ah-ha-ha [3 times]


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
All

6/21/2006 12:39 PM  
Anonymous panos said...

Summa, summa, sum-ma time...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMvLwKli6bU

6/21/2006 3:51 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

Lee speaks - "Fastball's "The Way"

Check out the 75th Street Brew Jam's version of that song. They do it better than Fastball, IMHO.

As for other summer songs, almost anything by Springstein, Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffett, The Eagles.

Songs with Cadillacs in them are always good summer songs.

6/21/2006 6:50 PM  
Blogger pomegranate said...

Oh my god! Barb Hezel was such a hoot back then!

6/21/2006 10:07 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Pom- You're mocking me! Oh, well, I guess I deserve that after my suggestion of dance lessons for your father's day gift!

6/21/2006 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of my summer favorites: The Who - Summertime Blues (great summer reference - loud and nasty); Alice Cooper - School's Out (loved to hear that song on the last day of school growing up - may be less popular in the post-Columbine era); Don Henley - Boys of Summer (nice juxtaposition of summer images and a sense of lost youth - I love the line about the "Dead Head sticker on a Cadillac").

RM

6/21/2006 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg, i so totally love the fact that you had 11, count them 11 comments about summer songs here!! what does that say about us all??? i can't get the smile off my face! i'm so with brooksider who quoted Tom Cochran's "Life is a Highway". The first time I heard that song, I was literally on vacation with my ex-husband and my three sons, who were all young at the time; we were stopped at some gas station/ convenience store somewhere in mid-Missouri in probably mid-July (from the recollection of the sweltering heat outside the car), the three kids fighting in the backseat of our huge BFC station wagon with the pop-up camper hooked-up on the back (BFC stood for big family car...although the "f" in BFC stood for something else in the adult world of discussion), with the radio on while my husband was pumping gas--and this great song comes on and it's Tom Cochran singing "Life is a Highway". I fell in love with that song right then, bought the CD and have loved it ever since! Damn, ain't summertime great!!

6/23/2006 6:51 PM  
Blogger daffodil said...

omg, i so totally love the fact that you had 11, count them 11 comments about summer songs here!! what does that say about us all??? i can't get the smile off my face! i'm so with brooksider who quoted Tom Cochran's "Life is a Highway". The first time I heard that song, I was literally on vacation with my ex-husband and my three sons, who were all young at the time; we were stopped at some gas station/ convenience store somewhere in mid-Missouri in probably mid-July (from the recollection of the sweltering heat outside the car), the three kids fighting in the backseat of our huge BFC station wagon with the pop-up camper hooked-up on the back (BFC stood for big family car...although the "f" in BFC stood for something else in the adult world of discussion), with the radio on while my husband was pumping gas--and this great song comes on and it's Tom Cochran singing "Life is a Highway". I fell in love with that song right then, bought the CD and have loved it ever since! Damn, ain't summertime great!!

6/23/2006 6:52 PM  
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