One of the benefits of persisting with a blog for more than a year is you get to start riffing on “Second Annual” versions of this or that post. And being as how we have arrived at the summer solstice once again (when we need remind ourselves to rejoice in the light rather than lamenting, “Oh dear, now the days start to get shorter!”), I’ll keep the verbiage brief here and offer up another round of songs reflecting this most languid of seasons.
Poet Mary Oliver’s conclusion to her classic The Summer Day is put forth year-round as a stock-taking question, meant to challenge the passions that are perhaps dormant inside us: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?”
Worth pondering, but one part of the answer is easy, because this summer day and every day should include, if we know what is good and healthy and spiritually uplifting for us, an emphatic, “Definitely listen to some music!”
Yep, it was 48 years ago when this classic tore through summer radio and seemed to play about every 10 minutes on every radio station in the land. Maybe it had something to do with how tight the song and this group, The Lovin’ Spoonful, were. They give a nice straight-ahead accounting of themselves in this live rendition.
Lest anyone think we bask in pure ’60s nostalgia here, let’s tune into a contemporary master who has internalized ’60s soul and a whole lot else in this fun and frolicsome homage to lazy days…
And to close, the always inventive, endlessly interpretive Dianne Reeves, live in New Orleans, doing her predecessors Nina, Ella and Sarah proud with this jazzy-funky-meditative rendition of the George Gershwin classic from Porgy & Bess.
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I knew you would go to ‘Summer in the City”, as would I. There we are, just getting out of Junior High, and having the best AM radio in the world playing in Los Angeles…how lucky we were. But I also agree with the Bruno Mars pick…even I (as a certified geezer) appreciate his talent and creativity. There is one summertime song from the 80’s that always strikes a chord (pardon the pun)…it is “Summer” by the Cars. The power chords, pop lyrics, and great riffs really announce the coming of the best season of the four (and you know it is the best!)
I need to edit my reply…the Cars song is actually titled ” Magic.”
For what it’s worth, this card-carrying Geezer resonates with the Carol King tune, “Will you love me tomorrow” and all the Johnny Mathis liquid honey poured down during those slow slow dances. Those were the daze….
At first I thought you wrote: “the most liquid of seasons….” and actually, that works pretty well also. Cheers.
I went online thinking I could surely find a summer song I preferred to “Summer in the City” (even though I bought the album for that song a few years ago), but the only song I could find that came close was this: Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZZD8ckwLJA – though I suspect that’s showing my age.
forgot about the odd intro to Summer in the City! And loved Bruno Mars at the super bowl – glad to see him represented here. Happy Summer everyone!
Fun – but how could one leave out Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot fun in the summertime”?? Was glad to see Eddie Cochran’s classic Summertime Blues got a shout out – saw him perform this live (I was 11) went my older cousins to see this Alan Freed touring rock show in Seattle (about 1959) – each artist sang 1-3 tunes w/a band in the pit – but Buddy Holly did his w/the Crickets them brought out Eddie C and he tore up Summertime Blues…
For another fun list see: http://www.timeout.com/newyork/music/the-50-best-summer-songs-hit-the-beach-with-these-summertime-tunes?pageNumber=5
Thanks Drew – loved seeing Diana Reeves – she is too much (loved her & band in the film Good Night and Good Luck) … Man the Spoonful look young – Yikes!
Moon, I think I completely missed ’80s rock ‘n roll, with my head buried in jazz & classical (not that those are bad things, by a long shot). So never heard that Cars tune and glad to pick it up now.
Joan, I always love misreads like that, and rue that I haven’t collected them over the years. They’d make an amusing book!
Walt, oh yes, to both of those…
Loren, yes, I was saving that classic for next year’s (Third Annual!) list, and truly, ain’t it just like the blues to find blues even in the summertime?
Don, I was none too happy initially to be riding with my teen daughter & hear her merrily singing along to Bruno’s, “…We’ll have some really good sex,” but once she convinced me “It’s only a SONG, Dad!”, I became free to enjoy his singular blend of old & new, pop, funk, soul & all the rest. A refreshing talent!
Kevin, see my note to Loren above regarding “Hot Fun…”
Thanks for all these, folks, and should I even consider a fall list starting with Nat King Cole’s “Autumn Leaves?”