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Best Vacation Songs

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Nothing beats a vacation … except maybe a summer vacation. Why waste time away from work/school/life in cold, nasty weather when you could be chilling someplace soaking up the hot rays and downing cold brews. Our list of the Best Vacation Songs includes plenty of sun-kissed tracks, but you’ll find some grit in there too, kicking up like sand in your Corona.

Van Halen II

‘Beautiful Girls’



David Lee Roth, who always seems to be on summer vacation, sets the mood: “She had her drink in her hand, she had her toes in the sand.” And with Eddie Van Halen‘s guitar playfully following in his sand-filled footsteps, this track from Van Halen’s second album pretty much serves as an anthem for guys who don’t have much more going on during the summer months than heading down to the beach and watching the parade of girls walk by.


Lindsey Buckingham Holiday Road

‘Holiday Road’



In between his first and second solo albums, the Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter recorded this song for the ‘Vacation’ soundtrack, which was also reused for two of the National Lampoon movie’s sequels. That right there qualifies ‘Holiday Road’ for a spot on our list of Best Vacation Songs. But the song bounces along to such a bubbly ’50s-style rhythm, it’s practically made for summer cruising.


Aerosmith Permanent Vacation

‘Permanent Vacation’



Like many rock stars, the members of Aerosmith live their lives like one long vacation … at least they did before they sobered up. Their 1987 album marked their comeback after almost a decade of dismal records, and the title track addresses their cleaned-up status: “My nose is clean and don’t need no sedation,” Steven Tyler sings. But that doesn’t mean he won’t join a friend for a little rest and relaxation in Saint-Tropez to get a “tan where the sun … never shines.”


Alice Cooper School's Out

‘School’s Out’



It’s been years since we were forced to add a bunch of numbers together in the name of “education,” but summer vacation still means one thing to us. Nope, not the beach, sun and doing absolutely nothing all day. It means no school for three whole months! Alice Cooper’s timeless anthem will stand as long as there are kids, teachers and useless information to be passed between them. And we still get a youthful kick out of the immortal line “We got no class, and we got no principals … we can’t even think of a word that rhymes.”


Big Brother and the Holding Company Cheap Thrills


Big Brother & the Holding Company



The opening line of this standard (which was written in 1935 by George and Ira Gershwin for the opera ‘Porgy and Bess’) says it all: “Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” While the song has its roots in black spirituals and folk music, its countless interpretations over the years have transformed it into a sort of statement of purpose for warm-weather months. Janis Joplin‘s vocal on Big Brother & the Holding Company’s 1968 album is all lazy southern heat rising from the will to do nothing but soak in the summer rays. You couldn’t ask for a more relaxing vacation.


Next: The Best Summer Songs in Country Music

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