If you visited this space last Sunday, you saw 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 promised you songs that are really about summer.

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Summertime by George Gershwin is arguably the most beloved summertime song ever. Great singers from Billie Holiday through Janis Joplin recorded magical versions of the song. Originally written by Gershwin for the 1935 modern opera, Porgy and Bess, rock and opera stars alike have recorded it. I’m sure you’ve heard it and probably have a favorite version.

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, written by Brian Wilson. He took lead on the record and in performance.  Unfortunately, they did not do it throughout the anniversary tour and there’s only one fan video from the last stop I can find.  Therefore, this tribute through old and new pictures will have to serve:

Now, 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) while growing up.  I guess we must really have liked it. Cole was alive then and would turn up on variety shows to perform this.  Unfortunately, variety shows have disappeared.
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 might 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  This early Beach Boys hit remained a fan favorite through the years.  Almost 50 years after first recording it, they could still perform the harmonies with ease.  Well, if not with ease, then at least 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?

9 thoughts on “THE SUMMER WIND

  1. Marilyn Armstrong July 24, 2016 / 12:13 am

    My best ever version of Summertime was at a party on Martha’s Vineyard where Bill Clinton (then President Clinton) played the sax while Carly Simon sang the song. No recordings of the event that I know of, but it is a memory I will always treasure. It doesn’t get better than that.

    Liked by 4 people

      • Marilyn Armstrong July 24, 2016 / 12:25 am

        One of the perks of Garry covering the Clinton Vineyard vacations. I got to go to both “press only” parties, but they were allowed to bring their families and close friends. Those were two really GREAT parties.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Garry Armstrong July 30, 2017 / 12:18 pm

      That MV summer evening was magical. It’s etched in my sense memory. Just to have been part of it as guests. The stuff of dreams…..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Garry Armstrong July 30, 2017 / 12:30 pm

        Rich, your list is RICH with wonderful songs. Hard to rate. All are so good. Marilyn’s recollection of our Martha’s Vineyard “concert” with Blues Brutha Bubba Clinton and Carly Simon performing “Summertime” was exquisite in so many ways. It felt like we were in the middle of a Scott Fitzgerald midsummer garden party. People were sipping drinks, swaying with the music and blissfully enjoying an unexpected magical night. We even had fireflies flirting about the scene.

        Liked by 1 person

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