10 Timeless Tunes for Summer

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Image by Unsplash, a free photosharing site

By Lauren Nagy, Literary Editor

Here are ten of my favorite summer songs, spanning a wide range of times, places, and people. I encourage you to give them a listen – you might just find a gem or two.

 

Originally written and curated June 3, 2022.

 

1) Summertime Blues – Eddie Cochran

A simple yet iconic riff keeps this one rocking. It’s been covered countless times – but personally, the original is the best. The lyrics perfectly express the classic teenage rebel – though the prospect of a summer job is perhaps less resented nowadays.

 

2) Julia Belle Swain – John Hartford

I love the imagery in this one. A real story about the real Peoria, Illinois, told in one take with just a banjo and a mic. Within minutes you’re transported to the Tom Sawyer-esque steamboat and adventures onboard. Like a hazy lazy dream…

 

3) Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd

In my opinion and experience, this is the perfect song to be half-asleep to. The slow, droning rhythm reminds me of the humid air outside on a sunny summer morning. There is no pain, you are receding

 

4) Rain – The Beatles

A lesser-known Beatles tune, but nevertheless a great one for the season of storms. The inventive drumming and use of backward vocals add up to make this one – for lack of a better word – cool. It’s just a state of mind…

 

5) Fun Fun Fun – The Beach Boys

While not absolutely timeless (there is a T-bird and a burger shack mentioned), the energy of this one continues to delight me every time I hear it. The Beach Boys, in general, are arguably the most iconic sound of summer.

 

6) Carrie Anne – The Hollies

A Hollies hit, the combination of doo-wop backing vocals, childish lyrics, and calypso steel drums take you right back to the euphoria of “the last day of school”.

 

7) #9 Dream – John Lennon

Another of the best half-asleep songs. The melody is hypnotic, the echoey strings otherwordly. It’s a song about dreaming, and the lyrical ambiguity gives it an eternal quality. Seemed so real to me…

 

8) Lookin’ Out My Back Door – Creedence Clearwater Revival

This one’s fun. It’s a little less “heavy” on the spectrum of Creedence songs, which makes it a great tune to dance to. The lyrics always bring to mind scenes from Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

 

9) Summer in the City – The Lovin’ Spoonful

The chorus of this one does it for me. I fell for it the minute I heard it. If you’ve ever strolled around New York in the summer, you know how uncomfortable the weather can get during the day – but the shift from the verse to the chorus beautifully mirrors the transition from day to night, with everything lit up and people in the street. But at night it’s a different world…

 

10) Girls in their Summer Clothes – Bruce Springsteen

On the newer side of Springsteen tunes. I’m so grateful that a rock song this good came out after I was born (that sounds pathetic). The whole thing is a poem, full of vivid imagery that always brings me right to my favorite beachside downtown.