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.


  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.


  2. cherguevara

    It has to be this one, right?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. BigSteve

    Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer:


    Bonus points for rhyming weenies with bikinis.

  6. 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.


  7. “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.

  8. That may be in the lead, objectively speaking. It’s even better than Mungo Jerry’s early leader. We need to hear more details on the man, funoka.

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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:


    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.


  13. As an alternative to the Troggs Summertime, how about Billy Stewart’s Summertime?


    And if it’s not, once & for all, the best song about summer, it has to be, once & for all, the best song with a vocal trill.

  14. 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


  15. H. Munster

    Once you’ve heard this one, you’ll realize it’s the only one that really fits the bill.

  16. mockcarr

    Why does the song have to be about fun? I mean, sometimes it rains. Wistfulness by the Zombies – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PGHhtqQAx4

  17. I believe U.S.-only rights for three year non-exclusive use was $50,000 per year — this was in the early 2000s, so I am sure the price has gone up.

    Our agency tried to play hardball, but no dice. The agency guy told us that this song is basically a family business, with a couple of his relatives (sons?) involved in selling the rights again and again.

    And I really don’t know what to say about this other song Ray wrote which was a #1 UK hit, evidently.


  18. I love this song — it doesn’t fit the title criteria maybe, but was on the Summer Days (And Summer Nights!) album. There is a lot going on in this song — one Brian’s best in my book.

  19. Wow — so that’s where Bruce started out. I don’t know what I think about Bruce, because he is firmly in the Mike Love camp, but I have a soft spot for his sappy Disney Girls (1957) on Surf’s Up.

  20. GREAT suggestion, and perhaps it’s worth considering, even though boardwalks are far from universal.

  21. Holy shit, Mungo Jerry wrote that song too? I think that song was a big in the cheesy US dance clubs in the 80’s.

  22. 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

  23. Oh, man, I am chagrined at overlooking that one! Thanks for the (warranted) slap in the face cdm.

  24. You’re onto something, geo! This isn’t about personal taste, but what’s objectively the best song about summer. I’ve got one that I don’t think has been mentioned yet. Read on…

  25. 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?

  26. 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.

  27. 2000 Man

    Holy crap! I could NOT stop watching that video. I don’t know much about dancing, but her backup dancers…well, I just don’t know what to say! I guess professional choreographers do a lot more than I ever thought.

  28. I could see an entire album structured around artists covering this song in their own special way.

  29. BigSteve

    I love that Johnny Rivers song, but it only starts in the summer. By the end of the song it’s snowing.

  30. ladymisskirroyale

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


    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.

  31. Right on, and Will’s Speed Racer shirt! The Philadelphia setting suggests supreme Philly summer humidity. Strong contender for the crown.

  32. That’s a good pairing of summery songs, although they may be a little too English for true summer vibrations:)

  33. ladymisskirroyale

    I know, the Speed Racer t-shirt did it for me, too.

  34. ladymisskirroyale

    And double cred: Mr. Royale let me know that The Prince/Jazzy Jeff sampled this other summer song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SFt7JHwJeg

  35. misterioso

    I was too late to this summer party. That would have been my choice. God, I love that song.

  36. 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.


  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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).

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

  41. That’s an excellent choice. Not my top pick but certainly up there. It may however be my top choice for “Song that is Uncoverable” because any cover of it that I’ve heard blows.

  42. You must have missed this version!https://youtu.be/9G4jnaznUoQ

  43. You SOB….

  44. Just noticed that at about 1:28, Mick gets bored listening to David sing his two lines, and feels compelled to pick up a can of something and take a swig! Has this ever gotten the full RTH detailed analysis? It is certainly worthy.

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