Summer is here, so we’re breaking out our all-time top songs of summer. More accurately, here’s a subjective list of songs that came out in summer, are about summer, or simply sound like a warm beach. At the end, I add three personal selections straight from my iPod.
The Black Eyed Peas featuring David Guetta – “I Gotta Feeling”
Released: May 21, 2009
Weeks as Billboard’s #1 song: 14
7x Platinum (3rd best-selling digital single of all time)
Reasoning: The night-starter, a true summer anthem that took over Billboard’s top spot for three months in 2009. That’s half a decade ago. Consider that for a second.
Santana featuring Rob Thomas – “Smooth”
Released: June 29, 1999
Weeks as Billboard’s #1 song: 12
Grammy Song of the Year
Reasoning: There isn’t a better sound-to-season match on this list than Santana’s guitar and the depths of summer. An essential add to any block party playlist.
The Surfaris – “Wipe Out”
Weeks as Billboard’s #1: 0 (peaked at #2)
Reasoning: Surfer dudes unite! “Wipe Out” is the ultimate beach jam, and with the top-speed drum solo, it’s plenty quirky, too.
Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell – “Blurred Lines”
Released: March 26, 2013
Weeks as Billboard’s #1 song: 12
4th best-selling digital single of all time
Reasoning: Although my favorite song of summer 2013 was Daft Punk and Pharrell’s “Get Lucky,” Thicke’s silky smooth tune dominated the charts for the whole summer.
Elvis Presley – “Don’t Be Cruel”
Released: July 13, 1956
Weeks as Billboard’s #1 song: 11
Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002
Reasoning: This list wouldn’t be honest if it left out the King. Between “Don’t Be Cruel” and Presley’s rendition of “Hound Dog,” Elvis took over the summer of 1956.
Boyz II Men – “I’ll Make Love to You”
Released: July 26, 1994
Weeks as Billboard’s Hot 100 #1 song: 14
Reasoning: Summer loving ‘90s style. Along with being one of the most distinguished and highest grossing songs of the decade, Boyz II Men’s ballad stormed onto the airwaves in the back end of summer 1994. Undoubtedly, the song helped spark more than a few summer flares.
The Beach Boys – “Surfin’ U.S.A.”
Released: March 4, 1963
Weeks as Billboard’s #1 song: 0 (peaked at #3)
Reasoning: The ‘Boys name 16 beaches in this enduring summer tune. The only one not in America? Narrabeen Beach, in Sydney, Australia.
Atmosphere – “Sunshine”
Released: August 27, 2007
Reasoning: This is my nominee for “Best Summer Morning Song” of all time. But listeners beware: this song can relax one to the point of apathy, causing you to lay out poolside instead of work on that important project you’ve been meaning to start.
Rupert Holmes – “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”
Released: September 21, 1979
Reasoning: This song embodies all the good parts of summer—piña coladas, risky business, dunes, even rain if you’re from Florida. Holmes’ story captures the sweet spot between blissful freedom and enduring love.
Zedd featuring Foxes – “Clarity”
Released: February 1, 2013
Reasoning: Because I like to dance. Because of that feeling I get after hearing this song blare out of 50-foot-tall speakers nearly a year ago. Because EDC 2014 starts in two weeks.
While this list is nowhere near comprehensive or scientific, it provides some good vibes while you get your tan on.
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