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Summer Heat: Ten Songs for the Summertime

Updated on July 16, 2019
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Music is a diverse form of expression that takes in many styles. It's a popular field that can only be briefly sampled in a short article.

A Crowded Beach

Florida has some very popular beaches, as evident by this photo of Miami Beach
Florida has some very popular beaches, as evident by this photo of Miami Beach | Source

Summer Music

For most musicians, summertime is where's it at. Ocean waters warm up and the beaches get crowded, as the masses flock to the seas edge. It's a rock band's paradise, especially when the sun goes down and those crowds start looking for something to do.

Entertaining the summer crowds is one thing, but putting together a good song about the summer time experience is another. This short article focuses on the latter.

Real Hot

Ninety-nine degrees in the shade is definitely hot. Real hot as a matter of fact. Bon Jovi is a highly successful hard rock band from New Jersey, a state, where nobody has to travel very far to reach the beach. This group hails from Sayreville, which has a small outlet to the sea, just a few miles from NYC. That's hot!!

99 in the Shade

Jamaican Heat Wave

This is another hot song, but on a much more somber note, as this reggae number commemorates the life of Paul Bogie, who is currently featured on the island's two-dollar bill. In 1865, Bogie, who at the time was a Baptist preacher. lead a protest, which turned violent, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of protesters. At the time Jamaica was a colony of Great Britain and did not receive its independence till almost a hundred years later.

96 Degrees in the Shade

A Cool Breezy Song by J.J. Cale

Time to cool things off with a breezy song by J.J. Cale.

Call Me The Breeze

Amazing Summer Nights

George Strait and company do a pretty good job with this popular Gulf Coast tune that remarkably translates the visual and mystical beauty of night-time lights shining on the water into music. Stars on the Water was actually written by Rodney Crowell, a Texas native who grew up right near the bayou country of East Texas, in a place called Crosby. No doubt some of those Gulf Coast summer nights wore off on this song.

Stars On the Water by George Strait

Simply Called Summer

War was a popular late sixties-early seventies funk-soul band from LA. Most of their big hits came in the early seventies in the form of single releases. In 1976, War cut this decidedly urban vision of a great summer day, as a single.. Later the tune was included on their greatest hits album, which was also put out in 1976. .

Summer by War

Coney Island NYC

Coney Island is still New York City's summer playground
Coney Island is still New York City's summer playground | Source

Coney Island

Over the years, the Drifters have seen more personnel changes than most any band in America. For example, when Under the Boardwalk was released in 1964, none of the original 1953 members were still associated with the band. And then when the band finally disbanded in the early 70s, only one member (Johnny Moore) of the group that recorded Under the Boardwalk still remained.

Nonetheless, Under the Boardwalk remains an American classic, as members of this New York City based band sing about a place in Brooklyn, called Coney Island.

Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters

Mid Sixties in Urban America

The Lovin Spoonful go all the way back to the mid-sixties, when the British Invasion was going full throttle in America. At the time, they were often promoted as the American band, who could best counter the prodigious output of hit tunes coming from across the Atlantic.

By 1970, the band had broken up, John Sebastian had gone solo and American bands were dominating the airwaves. Whether the Lovin Spoonful actually had anything to do with the breakup of the "invasion" is questionable, but they did record a bunch of big hits with "Summertime in the City" being one of their best known.

Lovin Spoonful Summer in the City

The Original Mungo Jerry

Rumpleteazer (left) and Mungojerrie perform a musical number in a Polish stage version of Cats.
Rumpleteazer (left) and Mungojerrie perform a musical number in a Polish stage version of Cats. | Source

The British Summer

Unless you live in Northern Minnesota,the British summer is not nearly as hot as the American version. Still, that did not stop Mungo Jerry from putting out one of the more popular songs of the season, called In the Summertime. Mungo Jerry is a British band, headed by Ray Dorset. Even though, they haven't had a big hit since the early 70s, the band is still active today.

If you think that the name, Mungo Jerry sounds vaguely familiar, there is actually a feline character from the play, Cats, who is named Mungojerrie. Before the play, there was the T.S. Eliot book, The Old Possum's Book of Cats, which is where you will find the original mention of Mungojerrie.

Summer Time by Mungo Jerry

Summertide in Mexico

A few years back, Zac Brown became a beach bum and a frequent visitor to Tiki bars and "the islands". Fortunately, he put some of his words to rhyme and music, so we all could get a little taste of what was going on in those subtropical places. Here he gets a little help from Jimmy Buffett with a tale about Mexico.

Knee Deep with Zac Brown and Jimmy Buffett

Hurricane Season

No way around it,summer on the Gulf can be a precarious time of year. Not a good time to stray too far from shore in a small boat, and if a storm kicks up, better head for a safe harbor, pronto. Probably, nobody expresses the reality of hurricane season in the Keys better than Jimmy Buffett. He even has a little help here from another Caribbean island addict, Kenny Chesney.

Trying To Reason with Hurricane Season

Bonus Track

Summertime doesn't always mean swimming and a trip to the beach. Here we have the Pirate Sessions, as they sing about fishing and taking in the slowed down pace of summer living in the Florida Keys.

Keys Fish Guide

Here are just a few of the fish you might encounter when fishing or diving in the Florida Keys
Here are just a few of the fish you might encounter when fishing or diving in the Florida Keys

88 in the Shade by the Pirate Sessions

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Harry Nielsen

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