Jun 222015
 

We’ve spent many summers in the Halls of Rock, yet I don’t believe we’ve ever determined…once and for all…the best song about summer. Not your favorite song about summer, but the best, objectively speaking, according to the following criteria—and probably then some:

  • Groove that most feels like summer (real summer, not that winter-like summer I hear they experience south of the equator)
  • Lyrics that best represent summer experiences and observations
  • Appropriateness for all summer activities, regardless of individual tastes and north-of-the-equator geography
  • Evocative power of the song title
  • Most appropriate complimentary image of performing artist

I look forward to settling this debate…once and for all.

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  46 Responses to “Once and for All…What’s the Best Song About Summer?”

  1. tonyola

    “Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone. By the way, I really dislike that Mungo Jerry song.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NVVe1DkVsQ

    • hrrundivbakshi

      Yeah, “Hot Fun” is the only answer that matters here. “Summer In the City” is pretty good, but it’s all about the sweat, the heat, the dirt, the noise… and the summer is about good stuff, too.

    • I love “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” but am I the only person who feels it starts in late July then runs out of steam and just gets lazy and hazy, like we feel in the dog days of August? I don’t get that rush of “summer time is here” (eg, “Here Comes the Summer”). I don’t get a sense that anyone is getting sick of summer. If summer’s just about about late-July through August, then this song may say it all. Although it pains me to say this, I think Mungo Jerry’s song is more encompassing.

    • You can hate it, but you CANNOT deny it. There is something so right and inevitable about the Mungo Jerry song that I have an uneasy feeling fits right into Mr. Mod’s “objectively speaking” criteria. The first two that came to mind were the Sly and Spoonful selections, but I don’t know if either of them are quite as appropriate as the Mungo Jerry. A couple that I would throw out for consideration are “Groovin'”, by the Rascals and “Daydream” by the Lovin’ Spoonful, although they might be utility players that work just as well for Spring.

  2. cherguevarra

    It has to be this one, right?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHuGG_FsC20

  3. BigSteve

    Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoLogdbVS3U

    Bonus points for rhyming weenies with bikinis.

  4. tonyola

    Perhaps the most annoying summer song ever created: the Jamies with “Summertime, Summertime”. Worse than Mungo Jerry. This was a hit in both 1958 and 1963.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYItTXsOlcw

  5. “All Summer Long” by The Beach Boys . . .

    BTW — you’ll be happy to know that Ray Dorset (Mungo Jerry) is very well compensated by all the companies using his song in commercials every year. I was privy to some contract negotiations with him to use it in a TV spot, and he drives a very hard bargain.

  6. “All Summer Long” is a great choice but since it has been taken, how can you go wrong with “Under the Boardwalk”?

  7. cliff sovinsanity

    I was going to passionately defend “All Summer Long” but since it was previously mentioned I will go with my number two; “Summertime Blues”. Crummy jobs, fighting with your parents, and political alienation. Isn’t that what summer is about??

    If I were to rank my favourite versions, I would put Eddie Cochrane first, then Blue Cheer and then The Who. I remember one miserable summer playing the hell out of The Who version. It must have struck a chord.

  8. 2000 Man

    I thought All Summer Long was about the end of the summer. Besides, it’s the Beach Boys and I just can’t stand those guys. I know that means summer to a lot of people, but so doflip flops and I can’t stand those, either.

    I like this one:

    https://youtu.be/H-l8Cr_EuDk

    It’s a little PG I suppose, but that and Mungo Jerry are two songs that say “Summer!” to me.

    Then this one works for me, too. I’ve got it on a Dirt Bike Annie cd and I don’t see it anywhere on Youtube or anything.

    https://youtu.be/902M67ZtdQE

  9. And another Beach Boys summer song, which I’m not sure fills any of Mr. Mod’s criteria but which is my favorite ever Beach Boys song and therefore I’ll take any chance to shoehorn it in no matter how ill-fitting is Girl Don’t Tell Me

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHuNoiutm3c

  10. H. Munster

    Once you’ve heard this one, you’ll realize it’s the only one that really fits the bill.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAl8hzl8GBI

  11. I think there are two opposing vibes for a summer song.

    One is the wound up party vibe encompassed by songs like Quarter To Three. That is the musical equivalent a Jersey shore bar from back in the day (in a good way).

    The other is a lazy, languid feel. I like geo’s suggestion of Groovin’, but Chuck Prophet’s “Summertime Thing” is my choice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Padijh3ACbM

    The lyrics are spot-on, encompassing every thing from crashing a neighbor’s barbeque to skinny dipping in the river.

    Hot Fun is pretty high up there too.

    I’m glad no one is making a case for that horrible Summer in the City song. That one is even worse than the Mungo Jerry song.

    And why hasn’t Al chimed in with Wildwood Days yet? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN99qXkcnKI

  12. I’ll have to check out the Chuck Prophet number and some other suggestions that don’t ring a bell, but if “Groovin'” is not quite right – maybe a little premature – how about “Summer,” by War? I think that’s like a better version of the Sly Stone song, objectively speaking, for the purposes of determining what we’re determining…once and for all.

    It’s funny how few actual rock ‘n roll songs have been suggested. Do you think this has something to do with rock musicians’ usual adherence to the No Shorts On Stage rule?

  13. trigmogigmo

    You must not overlook “Summer’s Cauldron”.

    OK, it’s not like one of those happy, jaunty, summer tunes, but it sure evokes summer, and it is a great song. Add to that the way it merges into “Grass” which completes the painting. Credit to Todd Rundgren for pulling of an amazing production.

    I’ll relax in the undertow.

  14. ladymisskirroyale

    These are great nominations, but you all have overlooked one classic:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr0tTbTbmVA

    It contains the vital elements of summer: a relaxing vibe, bbq, sitting with friends and reminiscing. Additional mad props for some of you: Philly, basketball, cars, girls.

  15. tonyola

    I’m not a big fan of Seals & Croft, but they did manage a big summery single in 1972: “Summer Breeze” which made it to #6 on the Billboard charts.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsHuV3Aj1os

  16. BigSteve

    I think Hot Fun in the Summertime is the objective winner, but I wanted to put in a word for Alice Cooper’s School’s Out. It doesn’t have any summer activities, but it’s all about that feeling that summer is finally HERE. I’m usually not a big fan of this style, but it does capture a very adolescent but non-specific feeling of freedom.

  17. saturnismine

    Not that it’s the best summer song, but “Summer is Ready” by the Breeder’s aint half bad.

    The distaste of some townspeeps for the Beach Boys aside, they’re almost a ringer in a thread like this since they have so many summer songs to their name.

    I’m partial to Warmth of the Sun, which is a like a warped Girls on the Beach with its unconventional chord changes.

    End of summer songs are nice, too, and yes, All Summer Long is one of them. So is “Summer’s Almost Gone,” by the Doors.

  18. saturnismine

    A couple more things:

    – that Mungo Jerry song…it’s great, but it just doesn’t *sound* like summer. With that music, that song could be about anything. Summer slows us down…the heat comes in waves…I like the suggestion of “Summer’s Cauldron / Grass.” It sounds like summer (and I think it would even without the buzzing fly sound effects).

    – Along these lines so does Janis Joplin’s version of Gershwin and Heyward’s “Summertime.”

    – Also, thus far, we’ve left off a Dead Milkmen classic: Beach Song (unless it’s one of the links above. If so, my mistake).

  19. A non-member visitor has requested that I nominate “Dancin’ in the Streets.” Certainly worthy of consideration.

 
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