Depending on where you are on the planet, summer can be the best season of the year.
Yes, it’s time to enjoy holidays, and vacations, go to the beach, soak in some sun, and, why not, fall in love.
All those topics flood these timeless hits praising the sunny season and the effect it produces on us all.
Yes, from songs about the skin warming up and enjoying the water to sweet love songs, this list of summer songs has got it all.
Most importantly, all these hits will take you to the sunny season in a heartbeat.
1. All Summer Long – The Beach Boys
“All Summer Long” was released in 1964 as part of the homonymous album by the Beach Boys, All Summer Long.
- The tune speaks about a summer romance and the feeling of the season coming to an end. The narrator wishes to maximize time spent together knowing that once summer is over, romance might end too.
- There’s a bittersweet emotion involved in the song’s narrative. On one hand, the happiness and joy associated with summer and love, and on the other hand, the certainty that good times always come to an end. It was used (and fitted perfectly) in George Lucas’ American Graffiti (1973), a movie that presents a group of teenagers spending their last summer together after graduating from high school.
- The marimba is the secret to this song’s punchy, powerful hook. Other than that, it’s built like a classic boogie-woogie on the piano.
2. Under the Boardwalk – The Drifters
“Under the Boardwalk” was written by Arthur Resnick and Kenny Young in 1964. It was recorded by The Drifters the same year.
- The lyrics for this song describe the meeting of a man and his lover in a seaside town. The couple meets discretely, out of everybody’s sight “out of the sun” under a boardwalk.
- This song was to be recorded by The Drifters on May 20th, 1964. Sadly, Rudy Lewis, the band’s singer was found dead the same morning. The recording session was rescheduled for the next day with Johnny Moore replacing Lewis on vocals.
- This popular song has been covered many times including versions by bands the size of The Rolling Stones and The Jackson 5, and solo artists like John Mellencamp, and Bruce Willis.
3. Summer Wind – Frank Sinatra
“Summer Wind” was released as the second single of Sinatra’s 1966 album Strangers in the Night,
- The summer wind came and blew strong enough to take Sinatra’s summer love away as fast as it came. The title of the song refers to the sirocco, a hot wind blowing from North Africa across the Mediterranean to southern Europe. The song’s character remembers the girl lost to the summer wind as the chill of autumn and winter make their appearance.
- Although it is widely known as one of Sinatra’s signature songs, there’s a German version recorded by Heinz Meier and Hans Bradtke a year earlier, in 1965. The name of the song’s German version is “Der Sommerwind”.
- The Boss, Bruce Springsteen made an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in 2021 and when he was asked about a song he could listen to for the rest of his life Bruce chose Sinatra’s version of “Summer Wind”.
4. Indian Summer – The Doors
“Indian Song” was part of Morrison Hotel, The Doors’ fifth studio album released in 1970.
- The band referred to “Indian Summer” as an “extended warm spell in autumn”.
- Although released in 1970 in Morrison Hotel, “Indian Summer” was The Doors’ very first song written in 1965. The song spent five years in a demo version before reaching the fans. The reason the band took extra five years to record and release it was that they believed the recording quality was up to The Doors’ standard.
- The hypnotic character of the tune was inspired by a car accident that four-year-old Jim Morrison had in the desert with his family when they were on their way to New Mexico.
5. In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry
“In the Summertime” was released 1970 as the debut single of Mungo Jerry.
- Ray Dorset, Mungo Jerry’s lead singer and guitar player wrote this song in 1968 while he was working for Timex, a clock brand in the UK.
- The song doesn’t follow the usual formula for pop or rock hits. Instead of going from verse to chorus, it works around a repeating melody and lyrics that work as a “celebration of life” according to Ray Dorset.
- The only percussive element recorded in this tune is Dorset’s foot stomping on the floor to keep the tempo. This was influenced by master bluesman John Lee Hooker who would play using his foot as the only percussive element.
6. Summer in the City – Lovin’ Spoonful
“Summer in the City” was released by Lovin’ Spoonful as a single in July 1966. It was part of the band’s album Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful released later in the same year.
- The main motif of this song is the contrast between living in the city in the summertime during daylight hours and the night.
- The song’s lyrics talk about the hardships of hot summer days in a crowded city but also about the plethora of opportunities that arise to chase women during summer nights.
- The song features all kinds of traffic-related sounds. Although it was recorded at a studio that featured traffic sound effects, the band didn’t like those and found an old-school radio engineer who created specific noises for the recording.
7. Summer Breeze – Seals & Crofts
“Summer Breeze” was released in 1972 as an original composition by the soft rock duo Seals and Crofts.
- Jasmines are among the best-smelling flowers of summer as well as a common women’s name. The line “blowing through the jasmine in my mind” refers to the flower rather than to a person.
- As devoted followers of the Baha’i faith, the duo believed that, by writing about nothing but life itself, the listener would make meanings emerge.
- With a much more prominent electric guitar approach, the Isley Brothers recorded this song in 1974.
8. Lush Life – Zara Larsson
“Lush Life” was the lead single from Swedish singer Zara Larsson’s international debut album, So Good, released in 2015.
- For Zara Larsson, the “lush life” is what happens outside the cuffs of being in a relationship. She wrote this song after breaking up with her former boyfriend and because of the enjoyment of being single.
- The song is the outcome of the combined effort made by six Swedish songwriters and producers who worked together at a writing camp in Stockholm, Sweden.
- The song was used in pop, dance, country, and acoustic versions to promote the four makeup lines by the cosmetics company Clinique.
9. Solar Power – Lorde
10. Hot Fun in the Summertime – Sly and the Family Stone
11. Let’s Go Surfing – The Drums
12. Feels Like Summer – Childish Gambino
13. Cool for the Summer – Demi Lovato
14. Cake By The Ocean – DNCE
15. Walking On Sunshine – Katrina and The Waves
16. Down by the Seaside – Led Zeppelin
17. Summer Wine – Nancy Sinatra
18. Summertime – Janis Joplin
19. Rockaway Beach – The Ramones
20. Summer of 69 – Bryan Addams
21. California Gurls – Katie Perry
22. School’s Out – Alice Cooper
23. Summertime Blues – Eddie Cochran
24. Summer Nights – Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta
25. Cruel Summer – Bananarama
26. Suddenly Last Summer – The Motels
27. Constructive Summer – The Hold Steady
28. Summer Babe – Pavement
29. All Summer Long – Kid Rock
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.