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June 11, 2012 / John Sieger

The Songs Of Summer

Oh the joys of summer songs! The more I think about it, the more I want to start a list. These are some of my favorites and a line or two about them.

In no particular order:

 

Hot Fun In The Summertime, Sly And The Family Stone: There are times I am convinced Sly Stone came from a different planet. I find most of his music other-worldly in it’s brilliance and execution. This one has more hooks than velcro, but the main one for me is the rhythm. It’s 4/4 with a heavy triplet feel but I could just as easily say it’s a fast 6/8. It makes me think about time in many different ways.

 

In The Summertime, Roger Miller: There was no end to Roger Miller’s inventiveness and this song is a testament to it. A brilliant funny man at the height of his power, he managed to make a broken heart sound like the more fun than a day at the beach.

 

Summertime, The Gershwins: This song is so good, I would be hard pressed to find a bad version. I suppose that award would go to any revival of the original opera. I don’t like that style of singing, but I love opera singers because they have so much dang confidence!

 

Almost any song by the Beach Boys: They own summer in a way no other group has or ever will. Can

you think of one Beach Boys song that reminds you of winter?

 

Summer In The City, The Lovin’ Spoonful: Rock’s answer to Roger Miller, John Sebastian probably could match him song for catchy song. This is the first “summer” song I learned and it conjures up a lot of fun with it’s day versus night structure.

 

Rain On The Roof, The Lovin’ Spoonful: Hitting the list twice because the Spoonful are a close second in the race for summer dominance. This song, if you haven’t heard it, is google worthy. The joy you will experience is worth the short 20 second search on the internet. I’m guessing it it inspired the next song.

 

When It Rains At The Drive In, NRBQ: An exquisite pop melody that conjures steamy windows and a B movie nobody will be able to recall the next day. Again, Google/Youtube awaits to take you to an enchanting musical place… and the most underrated band in American history.

 

Blackbird, The Beatles: This is the ultimate campfire song of the modern era. For a lot of critics, that is a knock —  but the last thing I would want to do in the summer is sit around and read a book of rock criticism. Having taught this to countless students, it’s still mystifying in the way all great songs are: Where on earth does something like this come from?

 

Summertime Blues, Eddie Cochran: There is no way to leave this off a list like this, it’s probably number one for a lot of people.

 

Summer Song, Louis Armstrong & Dave Brubeck: A masterpiece of hip melancholy with two of America’s greatest. A little harder to find (try iTunes) but so worth the trouble. NOTE: This performance will flatten any unsuspecting soul, so exercise caution!

 

©2012 John Sieger

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