Third Annual “Songs of Summer”

We will not be talking about drought in this post. (That word will not appear again.)

Enough of aridity and deprivation for the moment, yes? Plenty of time—it’s not even July yet!—to wring our hands and plan the choreography of our rain dances for the fall. Instead, we’re going to be all about the best of summer. And the best of summer, and every other season, actually, has to involve music.

So let’s move right into this Third Annual Songs of Summer offering, shall we? Though before you scan the trio of songs below and ask, “Whoa, how could you leave out thus & such???…” I invite you to revisit the first two volumes of this annual series here and here. And if you still don’t see a fave song or a better rendition of one already mentioned, drop it into the Comments section below and I may just get to it next year, the gods willing and the planet still spinning.

That’s what happened with our first selection below, noted with all appropriate indignation for its absence on last year’s list by reader and friend Kevin. This KA-LASS-ic 1969 version by Sly & the Family Stone is notable for its supreme groove, its immediate and ever-so-natural segue to “I Wanna Take You Higher,” and also for the outrageous clothing of the Stone(r) family, which surely represented the very foundation of the $2 word, “funkadelic.”

Funk on, Sly, and may you be grooving still wherever you have landed in your troubled latter years.



Seals & Crofts is a little ways across the music and cultural spectrum from Sly Stone & Co., but vive le difference, as those other noted culture devotees, the French, would say. The duo’s “Summer Breeze” isn’t nearly as breezy in tone as Frank Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” (an honoree on last year’s list), but manages to convey other tones that will be familiar to anyone who has used the summer months to exult in romance and its many associated pleasures.



Finally, you can’t get to the lake or into the surf every weekend of summer, but it’s a fine consolation indeed when you’ve got Martha & the Vandellas hanging around, urging you to  shamble out from your stoop and get dancin’ in the streets. There’s something profoundly liberating about shaking it up under God’s blue skies in the warm season. The advice from here is not to let it slip by without indulging.



On Facebook? Check out this blog’s public page there for almost daily snippets of wisdom and other musings from the world’s great thinkers and artists, accompanied most always by lovely photography:

Twitter: @AndrewHidas


Deep appreciation to photographer Elizabeth Haslam, whose photos grace the rotating banner at the top of this page. Some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at:

Shovel & sand castle photo on Coney Island Beach, Brooklyn, NY by drpavloff, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at:

5 comments to Third Annual “Songs of Summer”

  • Mary Graves  says:

    Great reminder Andrew! Saturday night my daughter Brooke had her wedding at Vine Hill House in Sebastopol. They had all the music we love from 60’s and 70’s and introduced us to today’s music as well. The bridesmaids and the groomsmen planned a surprise flash dance to Updown Funk You up and then we all followed suit and danced the rest of the night away in the summer breeze. Everyone danced. The hours of a full outdoor dance floor dancing to this old and new type music in the warm moonlight was so fun that several people came to me in heavy tears saying they realize they let too much time go by not having fun! They were teary at remembering how good it felt to fully enjoy a summer night! Your blog was right on track with Hooray for summer.

  • Eugenie Barker  says:

    Thanks, Andrew. You’ve given me a wild start to my summer day. Genie

  • Andrew Hidas  says:

    Genie, I’m so glad to be of service in that cause! Don’t know if you grabbed the hubby and took a few spins around the kitchen, but if it’s true confession time, I will hereby divulge that I have been known to dance solo on more than one occasion across my tile floors, summer, winter, spring & fall, and I look very good to myself, I must say! :-)

    Oh gosh, Mary, your reflections here bring back a flood of memories from weddings and other celebrations past, including my own, also in Sebastopol, under blue skies that finally turned to dusk by the time the music faded and the last dancers were ringing out their shirts and gowns from all the good honest sweat they had earned. There is something so elemental and necessary about moving to music, about being outdoors, about gathering with others in celebration, fellowship and the Great Kingdom of Good Vibedom. As your guests said, It feels great and we gotta do it more often. Cheers to that!

  • Gerry  says:

    One month later, on September 25, 2011, the New York Post reported that Sly Stone was now homeless and living out of a white camper-van in Los Angeles: “The van is parked on a residential street in Crenshaw, the rough Los Angeles neighborhood where ‘Boyz n the Hood’ was set. A retired couple makes sure he eats once a day, and Stone showers at their house.”

    My brother-in-law tours with the “new” Family Stone, still in demand all over the US and Europe.

    • Andrew Hidas  says:

      Gerry, I read somewhere that people had offered him housing but he preferred life in his van. His sad downward spiral stands as a commentary, as if we needed another one, on the devastating toll substance abuse took not only on that generation of musicians, but on artists throughout history and, indeed, on ’60s culture at large. Perhaps it is even more amazing that as many have survived as they did, Sly included.

Leave a Reply