- Posted by Spinner
The summer of 2000 belonged to 'Thong Song' and 'Who Let the Dogs Out.' The dog days of 1997 would have been unrecognizable without 'MMMBop.' But the truly timeless songs of summer are the ones written about the season itself. These all-time summer hits are hotter than black vinyl car seats in Arizona and more fun than running through the sprinkler.
10. 'In the Summertime,' Mungo Jerry
Sun-soaked lyric: "When the weather's fine, you got women, you got women on your mind"
Not a lone bloke named Jerry but a British jug band named after a T.S. Eliot poem. This warm-weather classic is dated by its no-no suggestion of road beers ("Have a drink, have a drive"). But it was also ahead of its time: Check the pre-hip-hop beatboxing.
9. 'Summertime Blues,' Eddie Cochran
Sun-soaked lyric: "I'm a-gonna raise a fuss, I'm a-gonna raise a holler/About a-workin' all summer just a-tryin' to earn a dollar"
Timeless rock 'n' roll complaint about punching the clock when you'd rather be cruising aimlessly. For anyone who's ever scooped ice cream, cleaned pools or bused tables at a seafood shack.
Sun-soaked lyric: "Up on the roof, out on the street/Down in the playground, the hot concrete"
With their pasty complexions and their heavy leather jackets, the Ramones were not exactly poster children for fun in the sun. Yet they loved the sound of summer, covering 'California Sun' and 'Surfin' Bird.' For them, the beach meant transistor radios.
Sun-soaked lyric: "The West Coast has the sunshine/And the girls all get so tan"
The group whose songs about an endless summer made the season a year-round state of mind. The song that made California the destination of the American dream.
6. 'Summer,' War
Sun-soaked lyric: "Ridin' 'round town with all the windows down/Eight-track playing all your favorite sounds"
So relaxed, it's like trying not to break a sweat in 100 percent humidity. On top of the eight-track reference, there's a line about CB radios that roots this soul stroll, the band's last of seven Top 10 hits, squarely in the mid-1970s.
Sun-soaked lyric: "I need to laugh, and when the sun is out/I've got something I can laugh about"
Paul McCartney was inspired by the Lovin' Spoonful, a group with several summery songs of its own, to write this jaunty, barrelhouse-piano-driven ditty from the 'Revolver' album. Though John Lennon's only contribution was a vocal track, the song was written by McCartney in Lennon's sunny suburban home.
4. 'Under the Boardwalk,' the Drifters
Sun-soaked lyric: "Under the boardwalk, down by the sea, yeah/On a blanket with my baby is where I'll be"
In one version recorded by the Drifters, the singer and his girl will be "falling in love" under the boardwalk at Coney Island. In another, they'll be "making love." Regardless, we're pretty sure they weren't just making google eyes at each other down there.
3.'Hot Fun in the Summertime,' Sly and the Family Stone
Sun-soaked lyric: "End of the spring and here she comes back/Hi, hi, hi, hi there"
The strange career of Sly & the Family Stone was almost literally like day and night. 'Hot Fun,' released as a single after the band's breakout performance at Woodstock, epitomized its early hits, all of them sunny: 'Dance to the Music,' 'Everyday People.' Later, Sly became a vampire.
2. 'Summer in the City,' the Lovin' Spoonful
Sun-soaked lyric: "Hot town, summer in the city/Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty"
A year before the Summer of Love, the Greenwich Village jug band that inspired the Grateful Dead to go electric recognized summer heat waves as an obvious source for irritability. Still, all you had to do was wait for nightfall: "Come on, come on and dance all night/Despite the heat it'll be all right."
1. 'Dancing in the Street,' Martha and the Vandellas
Sun-soaked lyric: "Summer's here and the time is right/For dancing in the street"
This song by one of Motown's earliest hit acts, inspired by the inner-city tradition of opening fire hydrants on hot days, is a call for everybody everywhere to celebrate summer as one worldwide block party. It's a lot more sun-affirming than the group's previous summer smash, '(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave.'