10 Songs for Summer — Your Classic Warm Weather Playlist

When you’re stuck in rush hour traffic or sweating through lawn chores, there’s nothing like using music to escape, even for a little while, into fond memories. Here are 10 classic songs to take you back to carefree days when drive time wasn’t about getting to work, but about enjoying the summer sun with the car windows down and the radio turned up.

“Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams was only 10 in 1969, but his imagery of summer nights at the drive-in and days spent playing in a makeshift band with his buddies makes us remember how “summer seemed to last forever.”
Watch the music video

“Surfin’ USA” – The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys created their own genre of music that glorified every aspect of summer, from surfing to dancing to having fun “’til her daddy takes the T-bird away!
Watch a 1963 TV performance

“The Boys of Summer” – Don Henley
Talk about mental imagery. Don Henley painted it in sharp detail with lyrics about “brown skin shinin’ in the sun” and “that top pulled down and that radio on.” There’s even an electronically created seagull calling.
Listen to the album track

“Summertime Blues” – The Who
Eddie Cochran was the first to record it, in 1958. Since then, dozens of artists in practically every genre covered it. For a long time, The Who regularly had fun with it during their live performances.
Watch a live performance

“Summer in the City” – The Lovin’ Spoonful
You could feel it when The Lovin’ Spoonful sang of “the back of my neck feelin’ dirty and gritty” and when they suggested dancing the night away, you understood why it was “a shame that the days couldn’t be like the nights in the summer, in the city.”
Watch a 1966 TV performance

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“Summertime” – Billy Stewart
The song was written in 1935 as part of George Gershwin’s opera, “Porgy and Bess.” Since then, it has been recorded literally thousands of times in every imaginable musical style. One of the most memorable was the soulful R&B; interpretation by Billy Stewart.
Watch a 1966 TV performance

“Hot Fun in the Summertime” – Sly and the Family Stone
A “county fair in the country sun” was the setting for the Sly and the Family Stone opus to summer. It was released in the summer of 1969, right after the group had spent a hot summer weekend at Woodstock.
Watch a TV performance

“School’s Out” – Alice Cooper
“School’s out for summer” wailed Alice Cooper, creating an anthem for the millions of youngsters who waited impatiently throughout the school year for the day when those words came true.
Watch a live performance

“Summer Breeze” – Seals and Crofts
At the opposite end of the musical spectrum from Alice Cooper, Seals and Crofts delivered a song that lived up to the promise of its title as they sang of “sweet says of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom, July is dressed up and playing her tune.
Watch a live TV performance

“Summer Rain” – Johnny Rivers
Johnny Rivers also employed a meteorological theme to convey the softer side of summer, as he sang, “summer rain taps at my window, west wind soft as a sweet dream” and his love, who was “warm as the sunshine.
Listen to the album track

Enjoy your summer as you let the music take you away!