Fifth Annual Songs of Summer

When I decided to celebrate the summer solstice of 2013 with a salute to “Songs of Summer,” I had a warm, portentous feeling—“Hey, I could do this again next year and maybe even annually!”—and a tiny concern: “Might I run out of summer songs someday?”

The warm feeling has come to pass with three subsequent editions of this Rite of Summer, the whole previous lot available for viewing and listening here, while the concern has proven to be slightly ridiculous, given how many songs—of  the pop-rock genres  in particular—incorporate summer themes. Seems the warmer days get us out more, and the longer nights keep us out there doing the things people do in the sweet, sweet summertime. Here’s to yours!

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Leave it to The Kinks to record this iconic song on a frozen and snowy winter day. I always liked their slightly jaundiced though humorous take on the conventions of rock & roll celebrity and of life itself. Funny guys…

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Songwriter Cole Porter’s singular genius finds suitable expression here with Ella Fitzgerald in probably the only song in recorded history that references “The Kinsey Report.” One always profits from a tour through Porter’s wildly inventive artistic brain, so hit the “See more” button below the screen on this clip to read the lyrics in full.

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Renowned groups ranging from the Beach Boys to the Rolling Stones, from The Who to Stray Cats, have taken well-wrought turns at this early rock era classic from Eddie Cochran, he of the young-manly good looks and fabulous pompadour. Cochran was busy building a reputation for high voltage rock & roll when the British taxi he was riding in after a concert performance in Bristol in April 1960 blew a tire and hit a lamppost. He reportedly threw himself over his fiancee, the songwriter Sharon Seeley, to protect her at impact, then his body flew out the door and hit the pavement. He was 21 years old when he was pronounced dead the next day at a hospital in Bath, the bulk of his music destined to be released posthumously over subsequent years before his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

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Twitter: @AndrewHidas

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Deep appreciation to the photographers!

Elizabeth Haslam’s photos (except for the books) grace the rotating banner at the top of this page. Some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizhaslam/

Library books photo by Larry Rose, all rights reserved, contact: larry@rosefoto.com   

Photo of feet along beach wall from stock agency, photographer unknown

9 comments to Fifth Annual Songs of Summer

  • Angela  says:

    This is the best one yet!
    Thank you, Andrew!

  • Tamara Stanley  says:

    Thank you Andrew!!! I was just singing … TOO DARNED HOT in my office yesterday.

  • Andrew Hidas  says:

    Very glad you enjoyed, Angela! Was a big bunch of fun putting it together.

    Tamara, I can’t imagine why that song came up for you yesterday—it was only in the mid-90s! I’m sure you did Ella & Cole proud, though…

  • James Malin  says:

    There was that knock off group (a Beach Boys cover band) called the Sunrays who had a one-hit wonder called “Sun, Sun, Sun, Sun”…Catchy

  • wmckeown  says:

    We’ve gotta get you a guitar, Andrew! You could be the next Pete Seeger!
    Waldo

  • Andrew Hidas  says:

    James, couldn’t find that title by the Sunrays, but did catch “I Live for the Sun.” Is that what you meant? And one other question: were any of those boys shaving yet?

    Walt, I got a guitar once, many years ago. Not a cheap one, either. Theory being: if I got it and spent decently for it, I’d want to play it. Still have it, somewhere or other in the garage, not having checked on it for quite a few years now…

  • Marianne  says:

    So glad to have been raised on Rock & Roll. My entries, from the bubble gum genre, Itsy, Bitsy, Teenie Weenie Polkadot Bikini by Brian Hyland…I know…disgusting. However Katy Perry’s California Gurls is a more current summer song, also, kinda bubble-gummy.

  • Marianne  says:

    Ooops, yellow polkadot bikini

    • Andrew Hidas  says:

      That song almost made it this year, Marianne! A bride in waiting, as it were…

      Stay tuned!

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