The All-Time Top Ten Summertime Albums

Music is one of the most important things in people's lives, and a lot of the time they don't even realize it. Everyone can associate at least one event in their lives with a particular song. When recollecting the past, you might hear someone say "Remember this song? Oh, I remember lip syncing it in my bedroom with my best friend and we laughed and laughed." Or "This song got me through such a rough patch in my life. Whenever I hear it, it makes me cry."

Summertime is naturally a great time for fun. Music usually ups the fun factor, and makes the activity that much better. That is why I am presenting in no particular order, the all-time top ten albums you need to make your summertime great. The music on these albums will forever be associated in your memory with whatever activities you were doing at that time.

1. "The Very Best of the Beach Boys - Sounds of Summer" by The Beach Boys

You can't go wrong with the Beach Boys during the summer. It says so right in the title of the record. This record contains 30 songs, and almost everyone knows them. The songs contain elements and subjects that are what summer is all about. Surfing, girls, boys, relationships, fast cars, and "Fun,Fun Fun." You can thank me later when you are having a blast driving in your "Little Deuce Coupe," looking for "Barbara Ann," going on a "Surfin' Safari," and begging "Help Me Rhonda" for some "Good Vibrations."

2. "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry

You may take a chance and risk losing your "man card" on this one, but Teenage Dream is an outstanding album. Katy Perry is an outstanding talent, and this record shows that. Her subjects revolve around all the great summertime activities: partying, love, and sex. The songs range from bubblegum fun to heart searching love. In between all that is the sexuality that Perry projects in her public persona. Some of it subtle, and some of it is definitely not-so subtle. The title track's verse that screams "Put your hands on me in my skin tight jeans, be my teenage dream tonight" will definitely put pictures in your mind. "Last Friday Night," "California Gurls," "Peacock," and "Hummingbird Heartbeat" will keep your summer bopping right along.

3. "5150" by Van Halen

This album, the first VH record to be fronted by Sammy Hagar has all the elements needed for summertime fun. This album only has 9 tracks, but none of them are filler material. "Dreams," "Why Can't This Be Love," "Love Walks In," "Best of Both Worlds," and "Summer Nights" are all outstanding. This record could be put on repeat and played all day because it is that listenable. Several songs are backed heavily by a synthesizer sound that makes them Top 40 Chart favorites, but yet they maintain that guitar rock edge that Van Halen is known for. It is a favorite for any time really, but really comes through during your summertime activities.

4. "New Jersey" by Bon Jovi

The boys from Sayreville, New Jersey struck platinum with this bad boy back in 1988, and it still holds up today. This album holds the record for most top-ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, with five songs: "Born to Be My Baby," "Living in Sin," "Lay Your Hands on Me," "I'll Be There For You," and "Bad Medicine" (the latter two songs went to number one on the chart). Additionally, the album itself went to number one for four weeks, and has been certified "platinum" seven times. This album will rock anything you play it at, and will be well received by all. I have always said that no one can resist singing "That's what you get for falling in love" while listening to "Bad Medicine." Prove me wrong. I dare you. The harmonies of Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora are some of the finest in music.

5. Hysteria '" by Def Leppard

This pinnacle in the Def Leppard catalog is a must have. I had this album on vinyl as a kid, and I wore out the entire side one due to repeated plays and attempts to get the needle on the exact tracks. It essentially provided a good portion of their greatest hits as well. "Animal," "Women," "Rocket," "Hysteria," "Armageddon It," "Love Bites," and the over the top "Pour Some Sugar on Me" will provide you great associated memories (if you don't already have some, that is). Joe Elliott's vocals on this record are incredible and powerful. Throw in the late Steve Clark on guitars, Phil Collen on guitars, Rick Savage on bass, and Rick Allen on drums (who lost an arm in an automobile accident prior to recording this record) and you got yourself a powerhouse band. Even though it is often thrown into the "hair-metal" and "glam" categories, the music holds up remarkably well today. It's a definite summertime jam.

6. 1984 '" by Van Halen

David Lee Roth's last VH record was arguably his best. How do I justify this? "Jump," "Panama," "Hot for Teacher," "Drop Dead Legs," "Top Jimmy," and "I'll Wait. I shouldn't have to explain myself any further. This is the summer party album, and Diamond Dave does not disappoint here. Michael Anthony's background harmonies cannot be overlooked on this one. Throw in Eddie's guitar and Al on the drums and that is all that really needs to be said. When most people think "Van Halen," they think of this record.

7. Licensed to Ill '" by The Beastie Boys

Seriously, who didn't love "Fight For Your Right?" Anyone? That was the teenage anthem for many kids, and broke The Beasties onto the music scene and MTV. This record has so many great rhymes and jams, it isn't even funny. Actually, it is funny because if you listen to the words on some of these songs you can't help but laugh at the silliness. Adding a brash combination of rock and rap, The Beastie Boys established themselves as credible "white" rappers, and today are even thought of as "old school" rappers. This album has hits like "Brass Monkey," "Girls," "She's Crafty," and of course "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn." This is a great party song, and a fun one to have at your backyard gatherings.

8. Rattle and Hum '" by U2

Bono. This guy is a freaking genius. All of the U2 records are ingenious in their own way, but this one has more of a summer edge than the others (a close 2nd was "Achtung Baby"). Here's the hits: "Desire," "Angel of Harlem" "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "Pride (In The Name of Love)," and "When Love Comes to Town." Throw in a few covers like "Helter Skelter," and "All Along The Watchtower" and it is classic U2. This one just has a feel-good vibe all the way though. It's a must-have in your music collection.

9. The Sound of Money '" by Eddie Money

I'm going to admit it to you all: I love Eddie Money. This collection of music is just awesome summer fun. "Two Tickets to Paradise," "Baby Hold On," "I Wanna Go Back," "Take Me Home Tonight," and of course "Shakin'." The album contains eight more tracks, and they are all great. I've seen Eddie perform, and while he's getting up there in age, you can tell he loves what he does. It shows in his performance and in his songs. Eddie rocks. I love it.

10. Collective Soul '" by Collective Soul

Collective Soul has a great catalog of music. Their sophomore album contains a multitude of great music, and it is all gold. Most of it was Top 40 hits during the summer of 1995, and still holds up today. "December," "Smashing Young Man," "Where the River Flows," "Simple," "The World I Know," "She Gathers Rain," "When the Water Falls," and "Gel" will have your summertime gathering singing along late into the evening.

Well, there it is. My recommended Top Ten Summertime Albums for your summer listening playlists. Take them to the beach. Take them to the backyard BBQ. Take them to the late night parking lot hangout. It all works. Have fun, and good listening.

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