Some of us are freezing in the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere. For those readers, here are some songs to warm you up with thoughts of sunshine. For those of us partying by the pool in the southern hemisphere, here’s your summer soundtrack.
10. “Kokomo” – The Beach Boys
9. “Sunshine Superman” – Donovan
8. “Summer in the City” – The Lovin’ Spoonful
7. “Wipe Out” – The Surfaris
6. “Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams
5. “Summer Nights” – Van Halen
With David Lee Roth, Van Halen were the ultimate, late-night party band. On their first album with Sammy Hagar, 5150, they were the archetypal purveyors of roof-down, cruisin’ by the beach rock. The lone guitar on the intro to “Summer Nights” is a classic of the “Dude, turn the radio up – I love this song” variety, and the chorus prompts an inescapable sing-along. You can practically smell the hot vinyl from the dashboard and the dizzying aroma of sunscreen and ice cream as the song moves through its myriad key changes and returns to the intro riff for one last big round of choruses.
4. “California Girls” – David Lee Roth
The Beach Boys’ original version of this song is an undisputed classic, and its musical and cultural influence cannot be underestimated or overstated. But David Lee Roth’s 1985 cover had just as much of an impact, albeit in a different way. In his autobiography, Crazy From the Heat, Roth explains that the video’s unique, color-saturated look, for which he won the Cinematographer Award from Kodak, was a direct result of the glacier goggles he refused to take off during editing. “I did not see the video till a month later, when it shows up on MTV, and it looks like somebody nuked the set,” Roth writes. “It looks like Chernobyl meets Chuck Jones. It’s electrifying.” Roth claims the video directly influenced the look of subsequent videos by many other artists.
3. “Summertime Blues” – Eddie Cochran
2. “Here Comes the Sun” – The Beatles
1. “California Dreamin'” – The Mamas & The Papas