It’s June 21st, and you know what that means - in addition to being the longest day of the year, it’s also the first official day of summer. Let’s kick it off with some tunes!
“CONSTRUCTIVE SUMMER” - THE HOLD STEADY
Man, I love this song. I listen to it the first day of summer each year, as I’ve been doing for - [takes pause, does math] gosh, this song is 10 years old. I can’t believe it’s been that long!
Although, when you think about it, 10 years isn’t that long, I mean, this song came out after Texas and LSU won their most recent national championships.
[extremely Casey Kasem voice]
Let’s take a look back at more of the Songs of the Summer from years past!
“SUMMER GIRLS” - LFO (1999)
LFO - a band name that is short for “Lite Funky Ones”, a thing you could still get away with in 1999, had a massive hit that summer with this feel-good song, which featured such lyrics as this:
New Kids On The Block / Had a bunch of hits / Chinese food makes me sick / And I think it’s fly / When girls stop by / For the summer / For the summer / I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch / I’d take her if I had one wish / But she’s been gone / Since that summer/ Since that summer
This song came out the summer after the University of Tennessee Volunteers won their most recent national title.
“COME WITH ME” - PUFF DADDY FEATURING JIMMY PAGE (1998)
In the summer of 1998, Sean Combs, then known as Puff Daddy, heavily sampled Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” to make this song, which was the lead single from the soundtrack to Godzilla, a summer blockbuster starring Matthew Broderick. If you’re younger than 25, I swear I didn’t make any of that up.
Anyways, despite this song’s prominence in the extremely heavy marketing for this terrible movie, it’s mostly forgotten this days.
Much like the 1997 national championship, a share of which was earned by the Nebraska Cornhuskers, something that they have not achieved since!
“ALL STAR” - SMASH MOUTH (1998)
Godzilla, Matthew Broderick, and Jimmy Page didn’t have sole claim to the spotlight in the summer of ‘98, though - they shared it with this massive hit from Smash Mouth.
This song peaked roughly six months after the University of Michigan Wolverines peaked, as they similarly shared a spotlight, sharing (to date) their last national title with the Cornhuskers.
“DON’T TURN AROUND” - ACE OF BASE (1994)
Bringing a smooth, polished sound and as-yet-undiscovered Nazi sympathies, Ace of Base dominated the radio waves in the summer of 1994 with this smash hit.
You know who else won’t turn around?
The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who haven’t won a national title since 1993, the year before this song came out!
“LA BAMBA” - LOS LOBOS (1987)
In the summer of 1987, it was hard to escape Los Lobos’ joyous cover of Richie Valens’ hit song “La Bamba”, from the biopic film of the same name.
You know who else can’t get over a dead guy?
Penn State fans, who celebrated their last national title the previous winter!
“CRUEL SUMMER” - BANANARAMA (1983)
If this song were a person, it would be eligible to run for President.
This song featured prominently in the soundtrack to The Karate Kid, a movie that was remade eight years ago.
This song - wait, let’s not do it yet. There’s more.
“EYE OF THE TIGER” - SURVIVOR (1982)
This song was the most memorable part of the third Rocky film. The eighth one comes out this fall.
This song topped the charts the day I was born, and I make a sound when I get out of a chair.
This song was knocked off the charts by Eddie Money.
We’re not done yet.
“ALL THOSE YEARS AGO” - GEORGE HARRISON (1981)
Now, this isn’t really a feel-good song in the vein of the other “songs of the summer”, but it did top the charts in the summer of 1981, so I’m including it here.
George Harrison recorded this song (with fellow former Beatles Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney) as a tribute to John Lennon, who had been murdered that previous winter.
[slips back into Casey Kasem voice]
You know what else happened all those years ago?
The last national title won by the University of Georgia Bulldogs, which happened before every single song listed here!
Enjoy your summer. Fall is coming.