Songs that make your summer sing

Summer makes me want to sing.

Not just any songs, mind you, but summer songs — the ones that make you put a pretend microphone to your mouth and shout-sing along with iTunes. The ones that get the whole table singing in harmony when it plays in the background in a public place. The ones that you never get tired of hearing, not because they are about summer, but because they make any kind of day feel like summer.

Every summer has its “official” anthem. Rihanna‘s “Where Have You Been” seems to be getting the most Summer of 2012 airplay so far, although I’m hoping Gossip‘s single “Perfect World” will take over soon. (I know resident music columnist Mia Jones panned Joyful Noise, but I think the album works as summer by-the-pool fare. No feeling of feelings required.)

But my summer mix veers backward in time to classic rock. So classic that I wasn’t even born when many of the songs were hits. Somewhere along the way, though, my parents gave me a little portable record player with a fat spindle and a stack of 45s that came from who knows where. Most were from the Sixties, and a lot were about summer. I listened to other music with my friends, but would go home and listen to the dreamy bands (that look strangely lesbian in retrospect) and imagine what summer love must be like.

Here are six titles from my slightly embarrassing summer mix.

A Summer Song,” Chad & Jeremy

I can’t help it; sad, acoustic folk rock gets me all misty. I probably couldn’t recognize another Chad & Jeremy song to save my life, but this one is prime shower material.

California Girls,” The Beach Boys

I know that Katy Perry‘s song with practically the same name was huge. But please. This is the tune that made me love the girls — and gurls — of the West Coast. (This video from The Jack Benny Show is absolutely amazing.) In a proper mix, California Girls, Surfin’ U.S.A., and Surfer Girl play without a break.

“Under The Boardwalk,” The Drifters


Lots of people have covered this song, which is so classic that one of SNL‘s best sketches ever is based on its harmonies. Unfortunately, the sketch doesn’t seem to be online — at least not legally.

“Cruel Summer,” Bananarama

Bananarama – Cruel Summer by hushhush112

OK, I can’t blame loving this Bananarama song on anyone but myself. And honestly, the lyrics are kind of depressing. But it makes me want to dance anyway. I’m perverse that way.

“Kids in America,” The Muffs

Maybe I love it because it’s from Clueless. Maybe I just wanted to see “The Muffs” on my iPod. But I could listen to it over and over.

“Rollin’ in the Deep,” Adele



Nothing embarrassing about this one. I know it’s not exactly a summer song — the album was released in the dead of winter — but I dare you not to sing along.

Your turn. What’s on your summer mix? Any predictions for summer anthem of 2012?

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