There’s no denying that summer is well and truly here. For most I would expect the next few months hold some form of holiday, roadtrip or weekend break designed to let you kick back and relax. No doubt the speakers will be turned up loud to add a soundtrack to your trip. Even if you don’t venture away from your hometown there’s often a summer anthem that will define a moment in time and those you spent it with.
Today we’re sharing our favourite summer tunes that typify the freedom, happy vibes and adventures that go along with the sunny season.
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For a tune to earn its place its place on my summer playlist it has to firstly undergo the same rigorous rights of passage as a Christmas pop record. I’m looking for nostalgia, childhood memories, the stirrings of warm and cosy times-gone-by. Anything too current isn’t going to cut it… Not yet Mr Daft Punk, give it a few more years for your fabulous ‘Get Lucky’ to be suitably rose-tinted enough to be list-worthy.
I’m starting with ‘Grease’ written by a Bee Gee, sang by Frankie Valli and best known for being played over the opening credits of the film. I love this song and want to play it loud whilst driving around on a summer day with the windows down, despite how frightfully embarrassing it would be if anyone saw me. I’ll follow ‘Grease’ with The Beach Boys ‘Darlin’ not their best known song and a bit of a musical detour for them, but that’s what makes it so good. Ok, next… Brian Adams ‘Summer Of ’69’ hits all the right notes of nostalgia, this surely is the Slade of summer, Brian may as well have screamed “It’s Suuuummmmerrrrrr!!!!” throughout the last chorus in a Noddy Holder style brummie accent. Fourth on my list is ‘Summer In The City’ by The Lovin’ Spoonful. Who? Exactly. No one has heard of them but everybody has heard this song. And then to finish things off I’ll go for something a little more contemporary (but only a little!) DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – ‘Summertime’, obvs.
Summer to me means holidays and so the records that put me in a summer kind of mood are inextricably linked to specific trips, imbuing them with nostalgia, making me happy and sad at the same time. My very first holiday abroad with friends was to Playa de las Americas in Tenerife. I know, classy, right?! One of the nightclubs we went to played Abba ‘Dancing Queen’ every night. It was our song. We were 17. We were having the time of our lives. We were dancing queens. At least we thought we were! Back in the days before iPods I would take a bunch of CDs on holiday with me and there would usually be at least one Café Del Mar compilation in the mix. Bush ‘Letting the Cables Sleep’ (Nightmares On Wax remix) from Volume Seven puts me in mind of lazy sundrenched days on holiday in Crete. All it takes is a couple of seconds of Empire Of The Sun ‘We Are The People’ and I’m back in Australia, a fly/drive trip that took in Noosa, Fraser Island, Byron Bay, Sydney and Melbourne (it was only a two week holiday, we packed a lot in!). Even though I heard it all last summer, Daft Punk ‘Get Lucky’ (sorry I have to disagree with you Adam!) reminds me of being in Venice Beach, drinking chilled white wine or working my way through a skateboard of craft beers, watching the sunset at the Venice Ale House on the boardwalk. I first heard Summer Heart ‘I Wanted You To Stay On The Other Side’ as I ate breakfast in the Surfer’s Lodge Peniche earlier this year and so it reminds me of sunny days spent in the ocean on (but mostly off) my surfboard.
At what I consider to be the beginning of summer (the end of May usually) I always play the same couple of albums, for pure nostalgia more than any other reason I guess. Matchbox 20 ‘Yourself or Someone Like You’ as it reminds me of sunshine filled holidays as a late teen – I used to play the song ‘3am’ on repeat. Also Gwen Stefani’s ‘Love, Angel, Music, Baby’ as it was the soundtrack to the second summer I spent with my now husband, my favourite track was ‘Cool’ (as I write I’m playing it in the background and it feels like summer, you know?).
As my wedding was the end of May I do tend to play quite a few songs that remind me of that day too, Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’ and Damian Rice “The Blower’s Daughter’. I also have a soft spot for Hootie and The Blowfish, ‘Hold My Hand’ which was what I was listening to sat by the pool on honeymoon when I decided to give this blogging lark a go…!
From a nostalgic point of view I would have to go for both Morcheeba ‘By The Sea’ and All Saints ‘Pure Shores’. Both remind me of slightly hazy Sunday mornings watching ‘Shipwrecked’ dreaming of warmer climes and beautiful people, convincing myself that I would be far more productive if I were left on a desert island.
Daft Punk’s ‘Digital Love’ holds some pretty poignant memories for me too, reminding me of the last weeks of the academic year lazing in Nottingham’s Arboretum, reluctant to escape the university bubble and face the world of work.
Like Miranda, I believe a few chill-out tunes have to make their way to a summer playlist so Groove Armada’s ‘At the River’ has to make it to a summer playlist. It’s not original but I imagine quite a few have experienced a sunset to this track.
Way before Odetta’s ‘Hit or Miss’ made it to a Southern Comfort advert, it appeared on my brother-in-law’s iPod. He designed an awesome playlist for the first barbecue we held when we moved to our current house. Now that was a good party!
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We’ve compiled a playlist of all the music we talked about today… Select ‘play all’ if you want to sit back, relax and enjoy our 20 summer scorchers in order or, you can dip in and find your favourites by selecting from the playlist menu. Enjoy!
What’s your soundtrack to Summer 2014? What tunes remind you of holidays gone by?
We’re not sure that’s there’s any place for Las Ketchup here but we’re all ears to your other favourites!