45 Summer Songs You Better Have…Or Else

Posted May 28, 2012 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

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“Hey, Soul Sister”
#3 pop, August 2009 (Columbia)

Except for Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” Train’s colossal best-selling single “Hey, Soul Sister” is the most recent sunshine pop anthem to hit the airwaves. The sunny vibes of Train’s ukulele opening atop Pat Monahan’s “hey-hey” evokes the vibes of paradise.


“Summer of ‘69″
Bryan Adams
#5 pop, July 1985 (A&M)

Bryan Adams’ nostalgic trip to the Summer of 1969 is painted with sweet reminders of playing “my first real six-string,” movie drive-ins and having fun. Adams calls it the “best days of my life.” “Summer of ’69,” despite all of the upheaval that took place in ‘69, became one of the’80’s best rock ‘n pop feel-good summer anthems.


“Love Shack”
The B-52’s
#3 pop, September 1989 (Reprise)

The excitement heard on the B-52’s impromptu road trip about cruising down the Atlanta highway and “lookin’ for the love getaway” found in South Alabama carries the same kind of jovial weight as Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration.” Although the single peaked on the charts in September, the album, Cosmic Thing – which carried the single – was released in late June 1989. The million-copy selling hit proved to be the perfect picker upper for the group after recovering from the loss of their longtime guitarist Ricky Wilson to HIV/AIDS in 1985.


“Cruel Summer”
# 9 pop, August 1984 (London)

Not everyone likes the blistering heat and the water droughts. Bananarama put their pen to work on a dance anthem chronicling the pains of summer, particularly being single in the midst of all the dogs being in heat. When the song broke in the UK in 1983, the song had no impact in the US but after the song appeared in the 1984 summer blockbuster film The Karate Kid, the song took off and so did Bananarama’s career.


“Low Rider”
#7 pop, October 1975 (United Artists)

Before the song became associated with Cheech & Chong’s hazy roadtrip in the 1978 theatrical film Up In Smoke, Chicanos had exclusive ownership of the song with its observance of custom hot rod worship. And of course, “hot rod” comes with the obvious innuendo. There’s nothing like showing off a car’s hydraulic while waiting at the traffic lights in the summer heat.
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About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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