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The Vinyl Countdown: Classic Rock Summertime

Updated on March 4, 2015

20. Jan and Dean - Surf City

Released in 1963, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys helped write this song. It was their only #1 hit.

19. The Beatles - Back in the USSR

Paul McCartney wrote this song in India, with help from Mike Love of the Beach Boys. It takes the classic Beach Boys style and uses it in terms of a Russian spy.

18. Chubby Checker - Let's Twist Again

Initially, Checker released a song called "The Twist" - he capitalized on its' success by then releasing "Let's Twist Again" in 1961 and "Slow Twisting" in '62.

17. The Ramones - Rockaway Beach

Dee Dee Ramone wrote this song since he was the only reach beach goer. It was written in the style of The Beach Boys.

16. Gene Chandler - Duke of Earl

This was first recorded by The Dukays for Nat Records in 1960. Vee Jay Records bought it and had one of their members, Eugene Dixon, change his name to Gene Chandler and take credit for it.


15. Lovin' Spoonful - Summer in the City

This song, hot with tension, describes what it's like to be in the crowded city during the heat of summer. It was released in '66 and hit number 1 on the Billboard charts.

14. The Drifters - Under the Boardwalk

This song was scheduled to record on May 20, 1964 - but the Drifters' lead singer was found dead that morning. Once recorded with a new leader, the song charted at #4.


13. Gary Lewis and the Playboys - Green Grass

This is the last hit this band released before Gary Lewis was drafted into the Army.

12. The Go-Go's - Vacation

This song is the 1982 highest-charting single from the all-female rock band, The Go-Go's.


11. Wipeout - Surfaris

This popular 1963 song is a popular instrumental track with the occasional “Wipe Out!”


10. Bryan Hyland - Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

This song was released in 1960. Paul Vance wrote this song while watching his 2 year old daughter at the beach in her new bikini.

9. Seals & Croft - Summer Breeze

This is supposed to be a simple song about a man coming home from working and hearing the sounds around him.


8. Mungo Jerry - In the Summertime

Ray Dorset, who wrote this song, says, "It's got no chorus; all it's got is a melody that goes over and over again with a set of lyrics that conjure up a celebration of life," he said. "Especially if you're a young person: it's a great day, you've managed to get a car - preferably with the top off - you're cruising around, and if you're a guy you're picking up girls."

7. Don Henley - Boys of Summer

The opening lyrics ("Nobody on the roads, nobody on the beach") refer to the California coast as summer turns into fall. It becomes a much quieter place when the weather gets cold.

6. Blondie - In the Sun

This song comes from the eponymous debut album Blondie, released in 1976.

5. The Beach Boys - California Girls

Released in 1965, they wrote this song to celebrate the women of California. Mike Love came up with the music while Brian Wilson came up with the lyrics to the song.


4. The Beatles - I'll Follow the Sun

This song was released in 1964 but Paul had written this song before he joined the Beatles. The band hesitated on releasing it because it didn’t fit their rock image.


3. The 5th Dimension - Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In

This song was the biggest hit for the group, staying at #1 for six weeks. The Age of Aquarius is when the sun is in the constellation Aquarius during the springtime. The next time this will happen is 2448.

2. Beach Boys - Surfin' USA

This song was released in 1963 and they wrote it about good surf locations. It was based on Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” but he was in jail for serving time transporting minors across state lines.

1. The Beatles - Here Comes the Sun

George Harrison wrote this song in Eric Clapton's garden, using one of his acoustic guitars. It's one of the great Harrison contributions to Abbey Road. He wrote the song after attending a round of business meetings, which he hated.



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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Vinyl is appropriate for most of the songs I remember, 15, 14, Vacation - a great song, Boys of Summer - I could never tell if he sings about baseball or summer flings from California girls (which is also a great song) - I just recently downloaded, from amazon, Aquarius...great job here...cheers

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I remember Summer in the City. I had just moved to the city when that song was popular and it played constantly as I settled in to my new apartment. It was summer and I was in New York City. ! Thanks for the memories. Voted up++


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