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My Top 10 Favourite Summer Songs

Updated on January 18, 2016

A Celebration of Summer in Song

It's never easy compiling a Top 10 list, like this songs for Summer one. When it comes to musical preferences, listing favourites can be a tough task when there are so many good songs from which to choose. Many tracks evoke memories from times past, and for me, these ten summer songs revive the lazy, hazy days of bygone summers.

Of course, everyone has their own favourite styles of music, but I grew up listening to the rock and pop hits of the day on a familiar transistor radio and using one of those old cassette tape recorders. Each Sunday evening meant listening to that week's music chart rundown while noting down which hits were worth spending my hard earned pocket money on.

Some of these made it into my record collection, while others were surreptitiously recorded onto tape. They all come from my musical golden era: the 1960s through to the 1980s. I hope you remember and enjoy some of the music I have picked as my favourite summer songs.

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1. Summer in the City: Lovin' Spoonful

I was too young to remember The Lovin' Spoonful's Summer in the City when it was first popular in 1966, but I soon caught up.

The whole feel of this song conjures up what I imagined to be the humid, sweaty streets of suburbia. Lying in the quiet of a back garden in the UK, soaking up the sun, transported me to the streets of New York.

2. Summer Breeze: The Isley Brothers

Although Summer Breeze was originally a US hit for Seals and Crofts in 1972, that version never set the music charts on fire in the UK. Two years later, however, a cover version by The Isley Brothers became very popular and breezed its way into my psyche.

Reminders of youthful warm summer evenings listening to this soulful version, including Ernie Isley's masterful guitar solo, are what memories are made of.

3. In the Summertime: Mungo Jerry

Mungo Jerry were one of my favourite groups from the early 1970s. Probably because they didn't seem to fit in with a particular genre. Just good time music to have fun to.

In the Summertime ruled the music charts in both the UK and the US in the summer of 1970, and any party that was worth its salt had it playing. While some of the lyrics are ill advised by today's standards, back then listeners cared, but enjoyed the song for its summer party atmosphere.

Hits For Those Hot Days

Biggest Hits of the Summer
Biggest Hits of the Summer

Some of summer's biggest tunes are here to see you through the dog days of the year, including Heatwave, Seasons in the Sun, Beach Baby, California Dreamin' and many more!

 

4. Groovin': The Young Rascals

Groovin' by The Young Rascals was another song I was a little too young to remember when it was first popular in 1967.

But it's another one of those tracks that I heard regularly during the summer months, and takes me back to those long summer breaks from school. Its languid tempo and lazy Sunday afternoon feel was an ideal accompaniment to relaxing in the sun.

5. Cruel Summer: Bananarama

Although Bananarama were one of the most successful girl groups of the 1980s, they were never one of my particular favourites. However, Cruel Summer was all over the radio in 1983, and by this time I was working and relishing those precious two week breaks in the sun. This song just clicked with those feelings of the time.

As Sara Dallin of Bananarama told The Guardian newspaper (July 22, 2009): "The best summer songs remind you of your youth: what you did in your holidays, how it felt when you first kissed a boy (or girl), going away without your parents." She added that this song, "played on the darker side: it looked at the oppressive heat, the misery of wanting to be with someone as the summer ticked by. We've all been there!"

6. Sunny Afternoon: The Kinks

The Kinks were, and still are, one of my favourite groups and this 1966 UK Number One has always screamed decadence and laziness. A perfect combination for enjoying the long, hot days of summer! Ironically, the band decided to record the promotional film for the song in the cold and snow.

The Greatest Songs of the Season - Work Up A Sweat!

25 All-Time Greatest Summer Songs
25 All-Time Greatest Summer Songs

A collection of summer hit songs that might just cause you to turn up the AC to high. Grab a cool drink, slap on some suntan lotion, crank up the CD player and enjoy!

 

7. Summertime: Janis Joplin

There are so many different recordings of this classic George Gershwin show tune that it's difficult to pick just one. But in deference to my wife, whose favourite rock vocalist is Janis Joplin, here is Joplin's version of Summertime.

This song simply paints a masterpiece of the images and recollections of the summer season.

8. School's Out: Alice Cooper

Few warm-weather hits capture the exuberant feel of this last day of school anthem. Released and a Number One UK hit in the summer of 1972, for many kids this became the signature tune of the long, summer break that year.

After all, rock and roll was created as a form of rebellion and the lyrics to this classic reverberated with every school kid in the land. And it was a great summer tune, too!

9. Boys of Summer: Don Henley

Quite simply a great song. Interpretations of the lyrics have varied over the years, from the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers to the reminiscences of past relationships.

Don Henley is quoted as saying that the track is a nostalgic look at the past, questioning one's good intentions in youth, but aging into what we rebelled against to begin with. Like many of the best summer songs, it evokes an atmosphere of the past, whether those memories are good or bad.

Spotlight on The Beach Boys

Sounds of Summer: Very Best of The Beach Boys
Sounds of Summer: Very Best of The Beach Boys

What would a collection of summer songs be without The Beach Boys? Enjoy all of the groups biggest warm weather hits on this great compilation of their best songs.

 

10. Bryan Adams: The Summer of '69

Once again, nostalgia is the theme to this great rocker from Bryan Adams. I was more familiar with some of his other songs, but after I picked up a copy of his Greatest Hits, this track got a lot of play over the summer months.

In an interview, Bryan Adams talks of the influences on Summer of '69, stating that "it's a very simple song about looking back on the summertime and making love. For me, the '69 was a metaphor for making love, not about the year. I had someone in Spain ask me once why I wrote the first line I had my first real sex dream... I had to laugh."

Summer Hits 2014

Summer House, Pool Session 1 (Best of Ibiza Club Tunes)
Summer House, Pool Session 1 (Best of Ibiza Club Tunes)

If you prefer your Summer hits with more of a 2014 club flavor, then this collection of the best from Ibiza is just for you!

 

Did I Say Ten Songs? - Here's Five More...

Here's five more summer tunes that didn't make my Top 10, but are worth including here!

  • 1. Summer (The First Time) - Bobby Goldsboro.
  • 2. Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran.
  • 3. Hot Fun in the Summertime - Sly and the Family Stone.
  • 4. It Might As Well Rain Until September - Carole King.
  • 5. Summer - War.

About Your Author

With each article, Richard invites you to step into his world of music, television and entertainment. He will introduce you to British Glam Rock, share The 20 Scariest Film Scores Ever? and even give you an up close look at some classic actors such as Christopher Lee as Dracula.

For a complete list of Richard's articles, please visit Richard's profile.

Are You A Fan of the Songs of Summer?

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    • topclimb lm profile image

      topclimb lm 3 years ago

      Great lens! Thanks for taking the time to create it...

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 3 years ago

      Terrific lens! You certainly picked the best of the best. Being a Yank, I would also add anything by Jan and Dean ("Dead Man's Curve" and "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena"). Thank you for not listing Blue Cheer for "Summertime Blues"-they destroyed it.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      You've got some cool songs here. I remember checking out the charts to see which songs I wanted to record on my cassettes, too. : )

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      More memories! I loved so many of those songs when they came out. I'd forgotten about Bobby Goldsboro. Thanks for putting this together. Enjoyed it very much.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      What a fun list! Clearly I'm older than you since I remember many of these on the first go-round that you learned to love later on, while some of the newer (guess "old" and "new" are all relative) ones I don't know well at all. In any case, I still love listening to summer music on our awesome oldies station.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Honestly, I prefer the "Summer Breeze" version of Seals & Crofts.

    • profile image

      Namsak 4 years ago

      Summer (the first time) by Bobby Goldsboro is my all-time favourite song for reasons I shall leave to your imagination :):):)

    • SamiPearl profile image

      SamiPearl 4 years ago

      I agree you need some Jimmy Buffet as well as some newer stuff. "Boys of Summer" is my all-time favorite, though.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      School's Out is my favorite on the list. I love that song!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I like the list, but no Jimmy Buffet? :)

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      What can I say except "Yahoo it is summer and I love it!" The sun is shining and birds are singing outside my window. Love it love it love it.

    • profile image

      CuriousBoy 4 years ago

      Those where the days...

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 4 years ago

      Echoing the comments below, well deserving of a purple star! Love all these summer songs but Boys of Summer is definitely the iconic one for me. Also love Summer of 69 but then that's because I'm a Bryan Adams fan!

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 4 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      Congratulation on your Purple Star. Oh my - what memories many of these songs bring back.

    • Richard-H profile image
      Author

      Richard 4 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      @pkmcruk: Thank you , Paul!

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 4 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Congratulations on a well deserved Purple Star :-)

    • Eric Mayo profile image

      Eric Mayo 4 years ago

      Brian Hyland - Sealed with a Kiss

      The Happenings - See you in September

      War - Summer

      Great lens! thanx.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 4 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      My favorite would be Katrina & The Waves - Walking On Sunshine and summer of 69 by Brian Adams

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 4 years ago from New Zealand

      This is so much fun! I love summer and I love summer songs :) Blessed for making me smile tonight :)

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      My fave here: Summer of 69'

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      Outstanding list! Great charity to support as well. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice list, many fun songs!

    • FunMoneyBusiness profile image

      Sharyn Read 5 years ago from ... either in the kitchen or at my laptop...

      That would have been a hard list to make! Fun lens!

    • TLStahling profile image

      TL Stahling 5 years ago from US

      I loved that you included Janis Joplin's Summertime. I have a great summer memory of a bunch of friends hanging and swimming around a pool singing that song all together.

    • profile image

      JebbieBlue 5 years ago

      The Isley Brother's, "Summer Breeze" is one of my favorites too. Thanks for sharing your list of summer favorites.

    • RazzbarryBreeze profile image

      RazzbarryBreeze 6 years ago

      Great Lens.. Great choice of songs..

    • profile image

      fashionistadiva 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens!!

    • profile image

      KenSomerville 6 years ago

      I think that I got a sun burn.Loved it. thanks ken

    • mgs249 profile image

      mgs249 6 years ago

      I love summer! Even tho' it's hot in Houston, TX, I still prefer summer. The songs of summer are great. Thanks for mentioning Bobbie Goldsboro. I have one of his record albums and still play it. Yes, I have a turntable!! Thanks again for this lens. Mary

    • ScottHolt profile image

      ScottHolt 6 years ago

      CLASSIC songs!

    • DuaneJ profile image

      DuaneJ 6 years ago

      Well done! I enjoyed the selection of songs...Summer of '69 is my favorite :-)

    • profile image

      Pete Schultz 6 years ago

      Great choices, and I notice someone added the Drifters "Under the boardwalk" but they also had a great summer song with "Up on the Roof"

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Having Bryan Adams and The Beach Boys on one lens just makes it so groovy! Such different takes on music! Love them both, and the Kinks, and the Little Rascals, and....oh well I love music in general. Great job!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I love so many of these songs of summer and before I even opened your lens I was thinking "Summer Breeze," but I liked the original one. Thanks for sharing because all of these songs brought lots of good memories back to me.

    • tea lady 2 profile image

      Pat 6 years ago from Midwest, USA

      I love this lens!

    • profile image

      burntchestnut 6 years ago

      I knew about three fourths of these songs. Great memories!

    • FengShuiStyle profile image

      Jennifer Alison Emmer 6 years ago from San Jose, California

      I have to agree with your choice. These tunes are a must have on any summer cruising expedition. ~Jennifer

    • ftuley lm profile image

      ftuley lm 6 years ago

      Great lens!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Nice selection of SUMMER songs! Love Seals and Crofts' Summer Breeze.

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 6 years ago

      Had to play Summer of 69 and go back in time a little. You are a music whiz.

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 6 years ago from Houston

      Great job. I actually knew some of these.

    • pancreatitishelp profile image

      pancreatitishelp 6 years ago

      i love summer of 69. Thanks heaps for sharing

    • lynnrdavis profile image

      lynnrdavis 6 years ago

      Great lens! More summer songs to add to my list of favorites

    • profile image

      celeBritys4africA 6 years ago

      I like Bryan Adams so much. One of my favorites.

    • DuaneJ profile image

      DuaneJ 6 years ago

      nice selection!

    • profile image

      Marelisa 6 years ago

      You're so right: regardless of the weather, these songs make you think of summer. I've featured this on my "Celebrate Summer" lens. :-)

    • LondonWanderer profile image

      LondonWanderer 6 years ago

      Really enjoyed that lens - thank you

    • LondonWanderer profile image

      LondonWanderer 6 years ago

      Really enjoyed that lens - thank you

    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 6 years ago

      When I saw the title, I knew that Summer of Sixty-Nine had to be on the list. Its one of my favorite summer songs. Nice lens and nice song choices.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      School's Out is my favorite from the list. I remember singing it as we ran out of school on the last day of the year. Good times! Squid Angel blessed.

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 6 years ago

      Great list of summer songs. It's Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts for me. I love Don Henley's Boys of Summer.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 6 years ago

      Wow! In the Summertime by Mongo Jerry always reminds me of my father. I don't know why, as I don't remember he would look like the singer neither would ever have listened to those songs, lol. This happens often, some songs remind me from people I never met, things I've never known... A good lens to include in my Summer Fun angeling neighbourhood!

      Did I hear blessings? Hm...

      Yep, this lens just got blessed by a passing Angel on Squidoo.

    • awakeningwellness profile image

      awakeningwellness 7 years ago

      A lot of great fun songs, Summer in the City is probably my favorite one too!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 7 years ago

      I love summertime songs, and your lovely lens brought back lots of memories! To this day, when I hear "Summer in the City," I am transported back to the Jersey Shore (ah... that's the "NEW Jersey shore in the US!") where I spent vacations as a child.

      I also love Katrina and the Wave's upbeat "Walking on Sunshine" which brings back summers of the 70's... And Mungo Jerry! Haven't thought about that one in ages!

      Congratulations on your Sunshine Award!

      Cheers!

      Kath :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      P.S. I nominated your lens for a Summer Sunshine Award!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Wonderful lens and so beautifully presented. Made me want lemonade -- and I don't even LIKE lemonade. :D I wanted to add Up On the Roof by the Drifters. It doesn't exactly fit summer, but I always appreciate the magic of the "escape" they find on the roof. It reminds me of an every-single-day vacation.

    • profile image

      the777group lm 7 years ago

      In one of those mis-heard lyrics moments,. I always thought "The Boys Of Summer" was "The Poisoned Summer". I still prefer my version!

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 7 years ago

      Great lens! Love Summer Breeze! Blessed it!

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 7 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      Love this list! I think I'd have to have an early Beach Boys song in my list- maybe Fun, fun fun, but love all your choices

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      What an interesting collection of summer songs from Isley Brothers to Alice Cooper. Love it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I love them all and can't pick a favorite. The list is too good.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      How did you narrow it down to only ten? I could listen to songs 24/7 and not be tired of enjoying great songs!

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 7 years ago

      Beautiful use of summer colors! And yes, these are great summer songs!

    • profile image

      GrowWear 7 years ago

      Love your choices. Gonna have to say that Groovin' hits the spot today as my number one summer song. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      It's funny how music can take you back to an old place in your life. Music sure has changed but these songs are classic and timeless. Great lens !

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I'm so glad your lens won a Sunshine Award. I love all the songs you selected. Took me back to high school.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I'm so glad your lens won a Sunshine Award. I love all the songs you selected. Took me back to high school.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 7 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      interesting summer lens. congratulations on your award. best wishes

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 7 years ago

      Congrats on winning the Sunshine Award!

    • profile image

      tssfacts 7 years ago

      Congratulations on your Summer Sunshine Award! I remember most of these song and some I had forgotten. Great lens and congrats again.

    • profile image

      Joan4 7 years ago

      Congratulations on your Summer Sunshine Award! Wonderful for you and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 7 years ago

      I'm actually suitably impressed with this lens. The only one I remember is the Mungo Jerry one and truthfully I wasn't that impressed with it but it's still a nice song. As you said tastes are so different. Before I forget loved Janis Joplin but don't remember the song. Congratulations on your award and to a worthy cause.

    • burgessvillian profile image

      burgessvillian 7 years ago

      I know theses songs and like them as well. Great summer lens. Congrats on winning the sunshine award.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What a fun trip down a nostalgic summer lane filled with music! Love your choices! A hearty congratulations to you and your charity for the Sunshine Award. Well deserved!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 7 years ago

      I love your choices here! Congrats to you and your chosen charity!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Love this very sunny lens! I, unlike you, am old enough to remember some of these older songs when they came out. Great choices! Congratulations to you and your charity!

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Completely and whole-heartedly agree that each and every one of these songs is a classic! Brilliant lens and congratulations for winning the Sunshine Award!

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 7 years ago

      Great "mix tape"! Blessed by a squidangel

    • modz profile image

      modz 7 years ago

      Congrats for Winning 99$ !!! :) I love summer :)

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 7 years ago

      Congrats to you and your charity Rich...this is a power packed music lens! Oh and it's toe-tappin' fun too ;)

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Congratulations to you and your charity, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Congrats on your Sunshine Award! http://blogs.squidoo.com/squidblog/2010/06/16/suns... Thanks to you, you and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society have $99 for your cause.

    • TrinaSonnenberg profile image

      Trina Sonenberg 7 years ago from Nucla, Colorado

      We share the same taste in music. Well done! I love these tunes.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 7 years ago

      Oh, lovely, she said. Honestly, I loved all those songs you listed here! Once again, I can't do anything but praise your tastes as you always find the best songs to feature. You brought the Sun to my day, Richard as the real one is desperately missing. Thanks for this!

    • profile image

      Joan4 7 years ago

      Fun! Some brought back memories, some were new to me! Great selection of summer songs!

    • NanLT profile image

      Nan 7 years ago from London, UK

      This instantly brought to mind listening to sings on the radio and trying to record them by holding a cassette tape recorder up to the speaker.

      Love all your song choices.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 7 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Cool Summer Songs. I started high school back in '69. Who could forget Bryan Adams. Thanks for the memories! PS. I have a lens on Katrina & the Waves and she sang "Walking on Sunshine". I've added it to the plexo. Have a great summer! :)

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 7 years ago

      What a great lens. Not just great content but great looking. The yellow skinny border is perfect and all the sunshine is so fun. Really enjoyed listening to all the memories. Great choices.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 7 years ago from Canada

      Great lens, Richard! I love summer songs!!!

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 7 years ago

      I like Summer Breeze and The Summer of 69. Nicely done lens!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh wow, I did have a few flashbacks to the 60's and it sure was fun. This lens is now featured on Squidoo's Summer Sunshine Award Nominees and nominated.

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      A great list, Rich. I would have to say Groovin' best sums up summer for me. Nominated!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      Summer Breeze is one of my all time favorite songs! Great compilation of songs. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      Summer Breeze is one of my all time favorite songs! Great compilation of songs. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.