Summer songs

‘In the Summertime’ by Mungo Jerry. Number One in the UK on this day in 1970…

A Top 10 hit internationally, ‘In the Summertime’ was Britain’s biggest-selling single of 1970, topped the singles charts for seven weeks, and is believed to be one of the highest-selling – and most-played – songs of all-time. Singer/songwriter, Ray Dorset, of course, was also once the proud owner of the most impressive sideburns-and-‘fro combo ever, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The UK’s subsequent chart-topping singles were as follows:

– Elvis Presley, ‘The Wonder of You’
– Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, ‘Tears of a Clown’
– Freda Payne, ‘Band of Gold’
– Matthews’ Southern Comfort, ‘Woodstock’
– Jimi Hendrix Experience, ‘Voodoo Chile’
– Dave Edmunds, ‘I Hear You Knockin”

How good were the charts back then?!

But that’s not what I wanted to blog about today. Today is for all those summer anthems that take you right back to happier times and possibly warmer climes; of time off school, holiday romances, being chased by flying ants (only in your mind) and chasing ice cream vans. There are songs which, with only a few bars of music, can transport you back to summers long-gone in an instant. It’s magical.

I’m not going to try to better Entertainment Weekly’s near-perfect list of 100 (near-perfect because it doesn’t include Don Henley’s ‘The Boys of Summer’, which is inexplicable), but I would like to know which of these tunes holds a special resonance with you.

If you’d rather save it for the chatroom, it will be open tomorrow from 2pm (UK).

Please excuse me if it’s not presently summertime where you are. May these songs warm you if you are in need of warming, momentarily release you if you need to escape from whatever monotony is grinding you down.

Finally, Bob Dylan fans, do you like Mungo Jerry’s reggae version of ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’? You know I need to know.


  1. Ben

    Love this song!

    I also like the reggae version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” a lot.

    My favourite summer song of them all is “Summer In the City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful.

  2. Gabrielle, Washington State

    My summer songs would be:

    Dancin’ In The Street, Martha and the Vandellas
    Under The Boardwalk, The Drifters
    Groovin’, The Rascals
    Green Onions, Booker T & the M.G.s
    Grazing In The Grass, Hugh Masakela
    Summertime Blues, Eddie Cochrane
    Maggie May, Rod Stewart

    I have a snapshot, multi-sensory, positive response to all of the above. 😀

    I like Mungo Jerry’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, but must say I prefer Eric Clapton’s reggae version. 8)


  3. Taki

    … “there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues”!

    Eddie Cochrane’s song is my all time favorite since with each summer I get my blues (for various reasons, but mostly because I don’t like the heat).

    Best regards

    (who is recovering from a root end surgery 😀 )

    • FEd

      I hope you feel better soon, Taki.

      What a glorious song that is. I never cared much for The Who’s version, though.

    • Taki

      I had a bad Tuesday, but now it’s all fine, thanks!

      I agree with you regarding The Who. Their version wasn’t aS blues as it ought to be.


  4. Hoss

    Night Moves by Bob Seger really brings back some great summer memories.

    One Of These Nights by the Eagles is another song that brings back some fond summer memories.

    Hope everyone is having a good week,

  5. Pete - Coventry

    Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs – Seaside Shuffle

    It’s a warm day
    the sun is shining
    Someone says “Let’s go to Brighton”

  6. Michèle

    Maybe I’ll shock you, but, yes, I like this reggae version of ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’. I’ve heard many covers of this song and love them all, even Avril Lavigne’s. I think that Roger Waters covered it too, but I never heard his version.

    My top Summer songs?

    – ‘Sunny Afternoon’, The Kinks
    – ‘Sunshine Superman’, Donovan
    – ‘Summer 68’, Pink Floyd (Probably my favourite)
    – ‘School’s Out’, Alice Cooper
    – ‘Black Hole Sun’, Soundgarden
    – ‘Smooth’, Rob Thomas and Santana
    – ‘Island In The Sun’, Weezer
    ‘Sea, Sex and Sun’, Serge Gainsbourg 😉

    ‘L’école est finie’, Sheila. It’s a very old one (1963) but I like it, very entertaining and innocent. Life seemed simple, so much easier and happier than now. I think I would have liked to be a teen in the 60s, just enjoying and celebrating by singing the end of school…

    PS: I forgot one for you: ‘Our Last Summer’, Abba. :))

  7. KenF

    How good were the charts back then?!

    There are songs which, with only a few bars of music, can transport you back to summers long-gone in an instant. It’s magical.

    FEd, you’re right on the money with those statements.

    Black Night and Paranoid were #1 and #2 respectively in July 1970.

    I can recall going on a weekend expedition from school to an Outward Bound Centre in Pateley Bridge. Canoeing, Rock Climbing, Pot-holing and Camping Out under the stars. A group of us lads sneaked off the site and went into the town to sample one of the local hostelries, even though we were only 15.

    I distinctly remember both of those singles repeatedly being played on the jukebox. Oh, Happy “Magical” Days indeed.

    Just a mere 40 years ago… :(

    • FEd

      Just look at the charts now. It’s enough to make you weep.

      The current UK Top 10 (feat. synthesizers):

      01. Katy Perry, ‘California Gurls’ (feat. Snoop Dogg)
      02. K’naan, ‘Wavin’ Flag’
      03. Shout, ‘Shout’ (feat. Dizzee & James Corden)
      04. Example, ‘Kickstarts’
      05. Eminem, ‘Not Afraid’
      06. Kylie Minogue, ‘All the Lovers’
      07. Eminem, ‘Love the Way You Lie’ (feat. Rihanna)
      08. Lady Gaga, ‘Alejandro’
      09. Tinie Tempah, ‘Frisky’ (feat. Labrinth)
      10. David Guetta, ‘Gettin’ Over You’ (feat. Chris Willis)

      I did enjoy Plan B (#26) backstage at Glastonbury, though.

      And I swear, if I hear Fyfe Dangerfield’s Billy Joel cover, ‘She’s Always a Woman’, (#33) one more time…

      Will anyone still be playing any of these songs by next Christmas, do you think, never mind in 40 years?

    • Pete - Coventry

      Pateley Bridge… near Ripon?

      My sister used to live near there.

  8. Dianna

    My favorite summer song is “Grantchester Meadows” from the Ummagumma album. After that is “Mihalis” from David’s first solo album, although it has nothing directly to do with summer; it was the soundtrack of my life the first summer on my own as an adult.

    Thank you David, for enriching my life for all these years.

  9. Brandon

    This is one of my favorite songs. :)

    Another song that I really like is “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams.

  10. Paul Sexton

    I always liked The Isley Brothers, Summer Breeze but a song that takes me back to my youth and hot days of summer is Ram Jam, Black Betty, what a damn funky song that is.

    • Andrew

      Ahhh… Summer Breeze originally done by Seals and Crofts is certainly one of those sugary summer pop songs. But if you want something that will really startle you, check out the version that Type O Negative did of that song. If you ever watched the movie, “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” you heard that version during the opening credits.

      It’s always interesting when a pop song is transformed into a dark and heavy interpretation.



  11. NewYorkDan

    :) I was thinkin’ “Summer in the City” myself, but Ben beat me to it. Such is life.

    “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield brings me back to summer camp as a child in the early 80s. The entire B-52s first album brings me back there as well, especially “Planet Claire” and “Rock Lobster.” This is not summer music, but we used it that way and so I’ll always remember it that way. Someone recently told me that in an interview before his death, John Lennon said that “Rock Lobster” inspired him to make music again.

    R.E.M.’s early albums were all summer releases, and since I discovered them just as their second album “Reckoning” was being released, I spent a lot of summers listening to their new music.

    There’s a Twisted Sister album that I will admit to liking. After getting too old to attend that summer camp, I went to work in the kitchen there. That summer, one of the other guys who worked in the kitchen liked Twisted Sister and would play that album all the time; I got to know it and, yes, I got to like it. It was my first real job (not working for a friend) and this music brings me right back.

    As a teacher I appreciate Alice Cooper “School’s Out for the Summer!” By the time it appears on the radio each year, I’m quite ready to take an extended break. :)

  12. JulieD

    For me it has to be ‘Fat Old Sun’.

    And “lazing on a sunny afternoon, in the summertime” by The Kinks, but that was already mentioned.

  13. Andrew

    Some of the songs that remind me of the summers back in the 1970s would be:

    Hotel California & Life in the Fast Lane – Eagles
    Jungle Love & Jet Airliner – Steve Miller Band
    Do You Feel Like We Do? – Peter Frampton
    I Wanna Be a Lifeguard – Blotto (actually an 80s summer song)

    However there are also some from those summers that make me want to vomit when I hear them today. Such as:

    Seasons in the Sun – Terry Jacks
    Tie a Yellow Ribbon – Tony Orlando & Dawn
    Delta Dawn – Helen Reddy
    Afternoon Delight – Starland Vocal Band



    • Bruce

      You beat me to Afternoon Delight, Andrew. :))

      I’ll have to admit, when it was popular, I listened to it…

      And I was a big Styx fan as well. 8)

      Going to see Styx, Foreigner and Kansas this weekend! I hope I can win some of the tix they’re giving away for the Pat Benatar/REO concert on Thursday. That will be another good one.

  14. Laura Remrots

    😛 I have an almost 13 year old and the only music of her generation I can relate to is Weezer and some Adam Lambert. I think back to the ’80s and think there was a lot of sucky music back then too!!

  15. mikeT

    Hi All.

    First of all, what with the World cup and that. How apt is this, from a true nutter. RIP Frank.

    I don’t know why but I love this song, it always makes me think of summer, haven’t a clue why.

    Good luck to our European neighbours in the World Weep. Enjoy. :)

  16. Rob_P_From_CT

    Good timing on this topic… I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but a few summer songs that bring back memories for me are:

    Summertime Rolls – Jane’s Addiction
    Borderline – Madonna (hey, I was like 14 the summer that came out) 😛
    Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel (I drove my ’74 Karmann Ghia around with a “boom box” blasting that all summer long back in the day)
    All I Wanna Do – Sheryl Crow (I’m not a big fan of hers, but that song always gets me ready for summer)

    I’m sure I’ll remember more as I’m driving home later…

  17. Penny

    How are you doing FEd?

    One of my favourites is “Hot Fun In The Summertime” by Sly and The Family Stone.

    NewYorkDan, I recently went to see the B-52s in concert. They are still putting on a great show.

    How a fabulous week FEd!

    • Sharon Woods

      I remember some fun summer parties in Louisiana where we danced “the Rock Lobster”! It began as something like the dance to “Shout” and ended akin to a bunch of dying cockroaches! :))

    • NewYorkDan

      I remember the Rock Lobster dance! Your description of it is as accurate as it is priceless!

      The B-52s helped me to understand that music doesn’t have to be great, or well-composed, to be good; that sometimes you just wanna have fun, and that non-musicians have the same right to perform music as those with the training and skills to be called “great.”

  18. Alessandra

    Thinking about it, I really don’t know if the songs and albums I’ve always considered as “my summer music”, are actually summer releases. I guess each of my past summer soundtracks is just a mix of what I was listening to at that precise time of the year.


    Pearl Jam – Oceans
    R.E.M. – Losing My Religion
    Patty Smith – Because The Night
    The Police – Message In A Bottle
    Sonic Youth – Bull In The Heather
    Eric Clapton – Alberta (Unplugged)
    Robert Plant – Memory Song
    Metallica – Eye Of The Beholder

    Then, some entire albums:

    Pink Floyd – More
    Dire Straits – On Every Street
    Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik

  19. Sharon Woods

    Grantchester Meadows and Fat Old Sun. I love the bucolic imagery of these two.

    Candy and a Currant Bun: IS there a hotter beach? O My, girl sitting in the sun! 8)

  20. diana

    Hi FEd,

    mmmh a full-memories topic!

    Starting on: I remember I was a baby the summer I heard Surfin’bird, Apache , The House of the Rising Sun and Sunny Afternoon (Kinks) but my lost summers were full of

    Angie – Rolling Stones
    Love to Love You Baby – Donna Summer
    Summertime Blues – The Who
    Lady Marmalade – (I don’t remember…)
    Night Fever – Bee Gees
    Superstition – Stevie Wonder
    Heart of Glass – Blondie
    Brain Damage – Pink Floyd
    Acqua azzurra acqua chiara – Lucio Battisti
    Margherita – Riccardo Cocciante

  21. John nff

    Great list. Also, what is more summerrerry than The Beatles’ s ‘Here Comes The Sun’?

  22. Damian Cunningham

    Hi Fed

    I caught Ray chatting on Loose Women the other week, he looked well, hasn’t changed a bit.

    Kind Regards

  23. Alessandra

    I just listened to the reggae version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and, even though I don’t like that kind of music very much, I found it nice.

    It made me think of another reggae cover I like – here.

    What do you think of it?

  24. j perryer

    Dear David, my boyfriend and I were avid fans. My boyfriend took his life in 1997 sadly. His tombstone bears the words ‘”shine on you crazy diamond”.

    What am I trying to say?! I don’t know. I guess I’m saying how much I still love your music and you. Fred would’ve been proud to know I had contacted you. It would be amazing for me (and Fred) to hear from you. x

    • Sharon Woods

      My husband’s brother took his life in 2002. I feel your loss.

      I’m touched by the nice way you memorialized your boyfriend.

  25. Kevin

    Great topic as usual. How about:

    Midnight At The Oasis – Maria Muldaur

    Any of Santana’s classic work.

    All the best. :)

  26. Liz

    Cymbaline, Fat Old Sun and Green is the Colour – heavy hung the canopy of blue…

  27. Andrew

    Interesting but do you find this to be rubbish?

    Have an awesome weekend.



    • FEd

      I’ve heard so many pundits using “soccer” instead of “football” lately, mainly former players for whom English is a second language (speaking far more eloquently than the usual mob), who then quickly correct themselves as if only “football” will do.

      I’ve past caring, actually. Whatever it’s called, it’s the most beautiful game ever created.

      I hear “soccer” being used often in day-to-day conversation, mostly by the older folk, so I enjoyed the story about its origin. Thanks for that.

      The Sun newspaper is itself a spoof of something. Of what, I’m not sure.

  28. 1 Big Fan

    The greatest and most disappointing band of all time… Pink Floyd. We the fans have made you what you are… and it’s heartbreaking to listen to your music and know I will never again be able to see you play live. At the age you all are at now, when differences are put aside and relationships mean more than nonsense, you continue to feud. One band member passed, and another will die and we young fans will be left to wonder… what would it have been like to see the greatest rock and roll band of all time live?

    Blog all you will David… you were given a gift… what I wouldn’t give to have your talent.

    • FEd

      I almost don’t have the heart to tell you that it’s not David doing the blogging…

    • Bruce

      What? Come back. Speak for yourself, there, bucko. Pink Floyd made themselves and we, the people loved what they did.

      I would suggest you show some class and vintage and not your posterior.

    • NewYorkDan

      If someone is given a gift, are they required to use it in a particular way? I think David IS using his gift, collaborating with other musicians and recording his own music. He is doing what he wants to do at this point in his life. I don’t think that most fans of Floyd expect them to work together when they CLEARLY aren’t comfortable doing so. Do you really think that Roger and David are going to say, “Hmmm, we no longer like to work together, but WE WERE GIVEN A GIFT….”

      David Byrne was once asked when he would reform Talking Heads. He replied that this was like saying, “You’re doing well in your current marriage, but when are you getting back together with your first wife?” Both Davids (Byrne and Gilmour) had great success with their former bands, and now they have moved on to something else. We should be happy for them, and glad that they left us with back catalogues so that we can hear their earlier music for ourselves. That is their gift to us.

      One final thought: Last time Led Zeppelin played together, it sounded terrible because their hearts were not in it anymore. Same with The Who. You can’t go back, and sometimes it is unwise to try.

    • jan

      I’m sorry this post just made me laugh.

      “you give and you give and you give……….”


      (Where does it say all gifts must be endlessly shared with the public?)


    • Barbara P

      I agree with you Julie. The dress and the couple are so lovely in this photograph!

      Barbara P