Songs that came blowing in, Rich Paschall
The old clock on the wall and the calendar on my desk inform me that it is time for another of my personal top ten lists. Last year at this time we brought you the top Songs of Summer as given by the musical genius, Brian Wilson. Those may have been songs that evoked thoughts of summer for Brian, but some were a real stretch of the imagination to me. I promise you songs that are actually about summer.
Summertime by George Gershwin is one of the most covered songs of all time. Versions from Billie Holiday to Janis Joplin are certainly well-remembered and regarded. It was written by Gershwin for the 1935 “modern-day” opera, Porgy and Bess. Rock stars and opera stars alike have recorded the song. You have certainly heard it and there is likely to be a version you remember fondly.
When The Beach Boys put out a new album for their 50th anniversary, they served up a perfect piece of nostalgia with “Summer’s Gone.” The song was written by Brian Wilson and he took the lead on the record and in performance. Unfortunately, they did not do it throughout the anniversary tour and there is only one fan video from the last stop that I can find. Therefore, this tribute through old and new pictures will have to do:
This leads us to the countdown:
10. Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer, Nat King Cole, 1963. If I heard it once, I heard it a million times (as the saying goes) as I grew up. I guess we must have really liked this one. Cole was still alive then and would turn up on variety shows and perform this. Unfortunately, variety shows have gone away.
9. A Summer Song, Chad and Jeremy, 1964
8. Summer Nights, from the play and movie, Grease. It was the word for John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. If you can look past all the people who killed this song in karaoke, it may still be a favorite.
7. In the Summertime, Mungo Jerry, 1970 The song filled with odd sounds and rhythms was a mega-hit for the British group.
6. Hot Fun In The Summertime, Sly and the Family Stone This one was at the top of the Brian Wilson list.
5. Surfer Girl, The Beach Boys The early Beach Boys hit remained a fan favorite over the years. Almost 50 years after recording it, they could still perform the harmonies with ease. If not with ease, then with a lot of coaching by Brian:
4. Summer Rain, Johnny Rivers, 1968 It didn’t make it to the top of the charts, but it is one of those songs that keeps getting played. Now in his 70s, Rivers is still performing his many hits.
3. Summer Wind, Frank Sinatra, 1966 Wayne Newton first recorded the song in 1965, but it is Sinatra who had a hit the following year.
2. Summer Breeze, Seals & Crofts, 1972 Written and performed by Jim Seals and Dash Crofts.
1. Summer in the City, The Lovin’ Spoonful, 1966 Released in July 1966, by August it was number 1. The overplayed summer anthem included a car horn and jack hammer sounds to let you know you were in the city.
What are your summer favorites?