Here are 11 summer songs that are actually about summer, made it big upon release and continue to be all-time favorites through the years.
SURFIN’ USA (Beach Boys)
The song is heralded Y! Music’s best summer anthem of all time. “Surfin’ U.S.A.” epitomizes the excitement of catching a wave and the exhilaration of escaping mundane conformity and diving into a party of everlasting youth (music.yahoo.com). The Beach Boys’ version was featured in the soundtracks of “Teen Wolf” (1985), “My Blue Heaven” (1990) and “Rush Hour” (1998).
SUMMER BREEZE (Seals and Crofts)
The original version, written and sang by the Texas duo reached #6 in the US pop singles and #4 US Billboard charts in 1972. It is “one of those relentlessly appealing 1970’s harmony-rock anthems and appropriately ubiquitous on the radio and in the memory” (Bruce Eder).
UNDER THE BOARDWALK (The Drifters)
It is a hit pop song written by Kenny Young and Arthur Resnick and recorded by The Drifters in 1964. “An oldie but goodie that feels summery and reminds everyone of summers at the beach, this song is loosely about a couple meeting up under the boardwalk for some shade and alone time” (thedailybeast.com).
MARGARITAVILLE (Jimmy Buffett)
Released in 1977, “Margaritaville” reached #8 on Billboard Hot 100 chart, and went to #1 on Easy Listening chart, also peaking at #13 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Named for the cocktail margarita, with lyrics reflecting a laid-back lifestyle in a tropical climate, “Margaritaville” defined Buffett’s music career and remains his highest charting solo single.
SUMMER NIGHTS (Grease OST)
“Summer Nights” became a massive hit in both the United States and United Kingdom during the summer of 1978. Its best known version was recorded by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John for the big-screen adaptation of the musical Grease.
VACATION (The Go-Go’s)
The song was released by the all-female rock band The Go-Go’s in 1982. It proved to be one of their highest charting singles, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
MAGIC (The Cars)
THE HEAT IS ON (Glenn Frey)
Recorded by Glenn Frey in 1984 from the album Beverly Hills Cop Soundtrack. It was a major hit single in its own right, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March 1985
SUMMERTIME (DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince)
This song was released in 1991 and won the Grammy’s for best rap single. It also became the duo’s first single to enter the UK Singles Chart, peaking at #8. The song’s music is a replay of “Summer Madness”, a popular hit released by Kool & the Gang in 1974.
IN THE SUMMER TIME (Shaggy feat. Ravon)
The original song was recorded by Mungo Jerry in 1970. The version by Shaggy featuring Ravon incorporated a rap in it. The song has been featured in a number of commercials, television shows, and movies, including Wedding Crashers, The Simpsons, Veronica Mars, The Crying Game, and Despicable Me 2.
CRUEL SUMMER (Ace of Base)
A pop song written and performed by Bananarama in 1983. “For me, our hit ‘Cruel Summer’ 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!” (Sara Dallin). It was also recorded by Ace of Base in 1998 and released in the US and Japan.