Lovin’ Spoonful, ‘Summer in the City’ vs. the Kinks, ‘Sunny Afternoon': Greatest Summer Song Battle
Two sun-kissed songs square off against each other in the first round of Ultimate Classic Rock's quest to find the Greatest Summer Song. You can vote for either the Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City" or the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" below.
We’ve selected 32 of classic rock’s best summertime songs, and paired them off in 16 first-round duels. Over the next five weeks the field will be repeatedly cut in half by your votes, until we arrive at the greatest summer song ever made.
"Summer in the City," the Lovin' Spoonful's only No. 1 song, came a year after their debut single "Do You Believe in Magic," and unlike their breakthrough hit, there's not a whole lot of open space here. "Summer in the City" is hot, sweaty and claustrophobic, filled with honking car horns and a pounding jackhammer, as frontman John Sebastian sings about "people looking half dead, walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head." Yep, sounds like summer to us.
The Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" is totally the opposite, a leisurely stroll through pastoral landscapes ... at least musically. Lyrically, the song, written by Ray Davies, goes a bit darker, as his protagonist laments his new relaxed lifestyle, spurred by the tax man (who's taken all his money) and his ex (who's taken the dude's car and gone back to live with her mom and dad). Still, the 1966 track marked a turning point for the band, which moved into more sophisticated directions after its riff-driven early classics.
So which one will earn a trip to the second round? Listen to both below and make your call. You can vote once per hour in each of the 16 first-round Greatest Summer Song battles until voting closes on July 27 at 11:59PM ET. Your choice for the Greatest Summer Song of all time will be revealed on Aug. 25, 2015.
Listen to the Lovin' Spoonful Perform 'Summer in the City'
Listen to the Kinks Perform 'Sunny Afternoon'
See the Kinks and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Albums of the '60s