The Most Summery Summertime Songs of All Time!

“Wipeout” by the Surfaris

This archetypal summer song is upbeat and foot-tappy. And that insane laugh and awesome drum beat are sufficiently manic to make kids feel like they’re driving their parents nuts, which is one of the goals of every kid during the summer.

“Hot in Herre” by Nelly

I just connect that bassline and guitar to being in a car when it’s blisteringly hot, windows down, just blasting it out at full volume. It’s such an epic feel-good song.

“School’s Out” by Alice Cooper

With heavy eyeliner and a snarling, guitar-driven swagger, Alice Cooper took the sweet, innocent idea of the first day of summer break, and turned it into an emancipation proclamation for ditching class permanently. I recall playing this song on the last day of 7th grade; which is also the last time I saw my favorite teacher Mrs. Mary Kay LeTourneau before she began serving her prison sentence.

“Sun is Shining” by Bob Marley

This reminds me of being 12 years old, walking around the town playground with my girlfriend with a giant boom box on my shoulder. Until I cut my arm on the rusty chains of the dilapidated old town park swing-set and spent the rest of the summer in and out of consciousness, on antibiotics, and wondering whether I was going to have to have my arm amputated.

“Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves

Just try not to bop your body when the brass kicks in at the ten-second mark of this jolt of pure pop joy. This song’s irresistible feel-good energy suggests that summer is a state of mind as well as a season. I will always remember this song playing as I walked in on my dad and his friends doing cocaine in the locker room at the club that one summer I was a caddy.

“Rockaway Beach” by the Ramones

I recall being on the beach in Ocean City, Maryland, drunk as hell, sitting on a lifeguard chair at three o’clock in the morning and singing this song, an amped up and rambunctious channeling of the Beach Boys, at the top of my lungs and feeling like I could conquer the world. Until I fell off the lifeguard chair and had to go to the Emergency Room where they also pumped my stomach.

“Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts

Nothing says summer like some breezy harmony-driven 1970s folk pop. I remember this song playing when my mom forgot me in the grocery store one sunny summer afternoon. I wasn’t actually “in” the grocery store; I was outside riding one of those mechanical horses but the grocery store had speakers outside too. She bumped into her friend Carl while she ran in to buy cigarettes and wine coolers and then drove home with him, inadvertently stranding me at the store! My mom was so silly!

“Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett

This song reminds me of going to Florida with my parents in the 1970s. Those were great times. My parents would leave us at the pool of my grandparents’ development and go drink mai tais. Before they left, my brother and sister and I would always fight about who got to shave my father’s back in the outdoor shower.

“Summer Dress” by Red House Painters

The languorous pace of this beautiful song evokes the image of an ocean sunset. And reminds me of walking around my hometown on a hot day with my teenage crush, feeling like the world was just about to begin. And then feeling the pubic lice (often referred to as crabs) I contracted from my teenage crush, gnaw at the flesh of my nether regions.

“California Girls” by The Beach Boys

In 1965, the west coast poster boys for cool and fun surfer music created this sunny paean to the merits of Cali ladies above all attractive women from anywhere else, and in so doing, created an impossible standard of beauty to which we attribute many of my sister’s eating disorders.

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