Summer songs? Why not? There’s a great deal of them and I tried to select the ones you might NOT know and will possibly enjoy. There are three songs called "Summertime" — two versions of the Gershwin standard and one from the '60s UK with the same title. What’s your fave? Leave a comment! Hope this is a good soundtrack for your coming week.
Below is a jukebox containing all the songs I picked this week. After you read about them below, go back and listen to whatever you like by just clicking on that title in the jukebox, or stream the whole playlist by clicking on the "play" icon at the top. It's free and it's the entire song. We're not selling anything. We're just in the business of hopefully making your days better by listening to great music.
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1. "It Must Be Summer" — Fountains of Wayne (2:34)
These New Jersey denizens tell it like they see it and rock HARD and LOUD. You can almost see the fountains in Wayne, New Jersey — ergo, a great opener.
2. "Summertime" — Booker T & The MG’s (3:19)
And right down down to the bottom in tempo and volume for this early track from the famed sessioneers. Moody and powerful and a good study of basic rendering.
3. "Hot Summer Nights" — Walter Egan (3:06)
A GREAT pop record from the early '70s. Walter is best known for the “Magnet and Steel” single that top-tenned around the world, but I prefer this one. A finely crafted side with great sound and production. I met Walter in Gnashville at the turn of the century, and told him all of the above.
4. "Summer Summer" — Andy Pratt (3:12)
From his acclaimed Columbia album that also housed “Avenging Annie.” A falsetto sound that lasts forever and was as uninhibited as can be. Great composition and production. I believe Andy plays piano and bass on this and probably sings all the background vocals as well. For me, this stands the test of time and comes from the early '70s as well.
5. "Summer Breeze" — The Isley Brothers (3:55)
I think this actually eclipsed the Seals & Crofts original in soul and sales eventually. From their groundbreaking 3+3 album featuring Ernie Isley displaying the licks Hendrix taught him when Jimi backed the Brothers for a year or so. Ernie gets almost as good a sound as Jimi for his efforts.
6. "Summer Day" — Sheryl Crow (3:54)
I must confess I never heard this before and it came up in my SUMMER crossfile. I thought it fit this column perfectly and sounds comparatively recent. Sort of surprised she couldn't find a skirt for that outfit below...
7. "Summer in Monterey" — Van Dyke Parks feat. Brian Wilson (2:50)
From Van Dyke’s Orange Crate Art album, I thought this was a standout track. Brian sings lead and all the background vocals and Van Dyke is ... Van Dyke.
8. "Summertime" — The Pretty Things (2:49)
They never really ascended in the USA they way they did in Britain, but I was always a fan. I think they have a great catalog and were amazingly versatile. This one is unabashedly American sounding, however, except for the lyric about hay on the field in the off season that sailed straight over me head. What’s THAT all about, anyway?
9. "One Summer Dream" — Electric Light Orchestra (3:46)
Jeff Lynne launches one of his neo-classical '70s struts in fine fashion as he attempted to keep the Beatle sound going on and on. Later a Traveling Wilbury, he attempted to keep the Beatle sound going on and on and onner. Often thought to look alike, side by side vintage shots show just how ludicrous those claims actually are... I'm a GIANT Jeff fan, but we've never met. Maybe our parents did, if ya know wot I mean. Jeff (leff), Al (not)
10. "Summertime" — Billy Stewart (2:55)
I would have to say this is my favorite version of this Gershwin evergreen; it seethes with originality and Billy always left you with that thought on his other various hit singles. A great way to leave with cascading summer thoughts. Check out Billy’s Greatest Hits if you like this ("I DO Love You," "Sitting in the Park," etc.).