Is This the Ultimate “Summer” Playlist?

29 May

The cassette tape may have gone the way of the dodo, and the iPod may have replaced the CD-R, but the mix lives on.

Of course, now, instead of calling it a mix, we call it a “playlist.” But no matter.

Making playlists is one of my favorite activities, whether I’m compiling single-artist playlists, playlists for a purpose (e.g., working out, relaxing, or driving), playlists for holidays (Christmas, yes, but also Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day), or time-capsule/state of the iPod/things I’m listening to right now playlists.

But those don’t hold a candle to the thematic playlists I create.

For example, I have a patriotic playlist called “American Tunes” that’s mostly a collection of songs where “America,” “USA,” or some related word figures prominently (“Surfin’ USA,” “Pink Houses,” and “America, Fuck Yeah,” to name just three).

I’ve made a similar mix for rainy days, where some form of the word “rain” figures prominently in each tune, and for when I’ve traveled to various cities, like Las Vegas.

It’s a hobby reminiscent of those days when I went to summer camp and we did “Sing Downs,” where a counselor would throw out a word and we’d have to think of as many songs as we could that referenced the word. The team that thought of the most songs won.

The idea’s not so stupid: The recent “Big” issue of Rolling Stone included a “Big Playlist,” with every song on it featuring the word “big” in the title or in the artist who sings it — or both (e.g., Bob Dylan’s “You’re a Big Girl Now,” and “Big Time” by Big & Rich).

Anyway, I realized this weekend that I’d never created a “Summer” mix, so I finally made one.

The rules were simple: Similar to the other playlists, some variation of the word “summer” had to figure prominently in the title and song, or just in the song itself (which ruled out Billy Joel’s “Summer, Highland Falls,” for example).

Just having the word summer in your name wasn’t enough (that’s why there are no Donna Summer tunes), and the songs had to be ones I could play with the windows down without being embarrassed. (That’s why “Summer Nights,” from Grease, was left off.)

And also, I didn’t want multiple artists singing the same song.

As I write this blog post, I’ve got 22 tracks on the playlist. In no particular order, they are:

1. “American Life in the Summertime” – Francis Nunnery

2. “Farewell My Summer Love” – Michael Jackson

3. “Summertime” – New Kids on the Block

4. “Cruel Summer” (BLESTeNATION Remix) – Bananarama

5. “Summer Love” – Justin Timberlake

6. “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” – Bruce Springsteen

7. “Summer Rain” – Matthew Morrison

8. “Feels Like Summer Again” – The Wallflowers

9. “All Summer Long” – Kid Rock

10. “Summertime” – Robbie Williams

11. “Satin Summer Nights” – Marc Anthony/Paul Simon

12. “In the Summertime” – Mungo Jerry

13. “Summer Day” – Sheryl Crow

14. “Summer in the City” – The Lovin’ Spoonful

15. “Boys of Summer” – Don Henley

16. “Summertime” – D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

17. “Summer Wind” – Frank Sinatra

18. “Summer Girls” – LFO

19. “Summer Girls” – Aerosmith

20. “Summertime” – Sam Cooke

21. “A Summer Song” – Chad & Jeremy

22. “Summertime” – The Sundays

An impressive effort, I’d say. But I know I’m missing some songs. After all, from start to finish, this playlist only lasts an hour and a half — barely enough for a pool party.

[Update: Since this blog post went up, I’ve added four more songs:
• “Hot Fun in the Summertime” – Sly & the Family Stone
• “Summertime Blues” – Eddy Cochran
• “Suddenly Last Summer” – The Motels
• “Summer Breeze” – Seals & Crofts]

So what would you add? Leave your suggestions in the comments field below.

5 Responses to “Is This the Ultimate “Summer” Playlist?”

  1. Rebecca Smith May 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Hot Fun In the Summertime – Sly & The Family Stone (great blog BTW).

    • Martin Lieberman May 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

      Oh, that’s a great one. Not sure how I forgot it. Thanks!!


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