Top 10 Summer Songs
Summer is officially upon us, which means it's time to roll out the best songs for the hottest months of the year. Whether you're looking for some rockin' tunes for a day at the beach, a backyard barbeque or a hot steamy night, here's Ultimate Classic Rock's list of the Top 10 Summer Songs:
What better way to kick off the summer than with the man who lives for the season, Sammy Hagar, and the rest of the Van Halen crew? This rocker off 1986's 5150, the band's first disc without David Lee Roth, features Hagar singing about what he knows best: having fun in the summertime. Throw in some nifty guitar licks by Eddie Van Halen and you've got a party starter.
This Grammy-winner for Best Rock Song appears on Bruce Springsteen's 2007 album, Magic. In this tune, the Boss paints a picture of a small town on a typical summer day: "A kid's rubber ball smacks / Off the gutter 'neath the lamp light / Big bank clock chimes / Off go the sleepy front porch lights." It's a breezy tune that let's you kick back and chillax on a summer night.
For those trippy summer nights where the "heat" starts to play tricks with your mind, pop in Jane's Addiction's "Summertime Rolls." This ethereal tune off Nothing's Shocking takes listeners on a psychedelic journey featuring a "yellow buttercup" and an "orange buttercat." Perry Farrell's dream-like vocals and Eric Avery's groovy bass line only enhance the mood.
Jimi Hendrix cuts through the humidity of a sweltering evening with "Long Hot Summer Night" off Electric Ladyland. The bluesy track boasts a piano contribution from veteran musician Al Kooper, and features Hendrix on all of the vocal tracks. In the tune, the guitar god rejoices that "my baby's comin' to rescue me" after a "hot, cold summer night."
Billy Idol croons about New York in "Hot in the City," but this summer song works for a muggy night in any metropolis. The track off the punk rocker's self-titled debut album is a scorcher for the streets and the bedroom, with lyrics like "Don't be no fun / Don't forget you're young / On a hot summer night." Idol also sang about the season in "All Summer Single" off Whiplash Smile.
The Who took Eddie Cochran's 1958 hit 'Summertime Blues' and turned it into a hard-rockin' number at their live shows. The song appears on the band's classic 1970 concert album, Live at Leeds, and features Roger Daltrey belting out the bluesy number over Pete Townshend's heavy guitar riff. A studio version recorded in 1967 surfaced in 1998 on a reissue of Odds & Sods.
Don Henley's solo smash "The Boys of Summer" is about getting older and looking back on the past, but it has since become a popular tune at baseball games. The Eagles singer co-wrote the music for the tune with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, who plays the track's memorable riff. The song earned Henley a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney were certainly the most prolific songwriters in the Beatles, but George Harrison penned a few of the Fab Four's best tunes. The guitarist's "Here Comes the Sun" is a perfect pop song, and serves as a beautiful introduction to the first days of summer. Harrison wrote the tune using Eric Clapton's acoustic guitar while visiting "Slowhand" at his house.
The chart-topping "Summer in the City" from the Lovin' Spoonful has everything you want in a summer song: It rocks hard, you can dance to it and it captures the vibe of the streets during the year's hottest months. The tune, which originally was written as a poem by frontman John Sebastian's brother Mark, hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the summer of 1966.
Sure, Bryan Adams went soft after the '80s, but not before putting out some rocking hits like the coming-of-age classic "Summer of '69" off 1984's Reckless. This tune brings back memories for anyone who tried to form a band as a teenager, or someone who had an unforgettable summer romance. When it comes to summer songs that rock, this track is as hot as it gets.