It’s my namesake, for crying out loud.
If I hear one more “Summer Breeze” reference, I’m going to shoot myself.
But other than the obvious puns I have dealt with since birth, the lovely season of summer is one for hot weather, cool frolicking in whatever sort of water is nearby, barbecues and picnics, road trips, driving with the windows down and cranking the stereo.
So what songs remind me of the summertime? Who cares! I brought a bunch of friends along and we’re all jamming together. Because that’s what summer is all about.
Def Leppard, Pour Some Sugar On Me
THE STORY: Driving down Loras Boulevard at 4am, my friends and I had just spent all night in Wal-Mart’s parking lot. I don’t remember why we went there originally, but it was sometime around midnight, and we stumbled across some $1 suction cup dart guns. We each bought one. I also picked up a nice new shiny version of Hysteria because I didn’t own it on CD. We spent the next four hours in the parking lot shooting each other with suction cup darts. After that, we threw the disc in the CD player, pumped the subwoofers, and never looked back.
Beach Boys, Good Vibrations
THE STORY: As a kid, I couldn’t get enough of this song. As an adult, it makes me want a theramin. It’s the Beach Boys and although damn near all of their songs are “summer songs,” this was by far my favorite. It also helped that it was used in commercials for orange soda, as I recall, and I love orange soda.
Journey, Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’
THE STORY: Though always a great song, it became even greater when my mom and I took a roadtrip to the Quad Cities for some shopping and the two of us wailed along with this track at the top of our lungs. She can’t sing at all, bless her heart, but it was such a bonding moment. I feel sorry for anyone on the highway with their windows down that passed us.
Cocteau Twins, Pearly Dewdrops’ Drops
THE STORY: I had acquired the very coolest compilation album ever in the universe (seriously, it’s two discs and it’s called Alternative ’80s — find the right one and you’ll be in love). I listened to it contagiously as background fodder but it wasn’t until I threw it in the discman for a long walk that I discovered this song. Walking the hills of my town, song pounding in my ears, sweltering in the heat and just enjoying the moment. It’s an instant image every time I hear it.
Dr. Dre with Snoop Doggy Dogg, Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang
THE STORY: Oh man, the summer that baby hit, it was all over The Box and us little white children in middle America were loving the culture clash. There was a lot of playing outside that year with suburban gangstas in the making.
Motley Crue, Dr. Feelgood
THE STORY: I’ll never forget seeing the video for the first time and getting completely addicted to the Crue for the first time ever. My upstairs neighbor bought the tape; that summer, we spent so much time sitting on his steps, just jamming along to the entire album as if it were the second coming. Porches + boom boxes = summertime.
Beastie Boys, Fight For Your Right To Party
THE STORY: I was pretty young when this one was a hit, but there were two occasions this song came up and wouldn’t die. Once was sitting outside of my great-grandmother’s house with her neighbors, two boys about my age. It was a lovely hot summer night, and the two of them were trying their damndest to rap as much of the whole song as they could. And the next summer, hanging outside with my neighbors at home, they cranked the tune from their balcony as they dumped a giant bottle of pickle juice on some obnoxious kids below who had egged our house.
Madonna, Into The Groove
THE STORY: There’s no real story aside from loving Desperately Seeking Susan and always finding the right time to crank this song for perfect summertime atmosphere. Remember to turn the hand dryer nozzle up so you can air-dry your pits after dancing!
In that vein, more great songs, not enough stories:
Chroma Key, “Colorblind”
Guns ‘n’ Roses, “Paradise City”
Prince, “Raspberry Beret”
Foo Fighters, “I’ll Stick Around”
that dog., “Retreat From the Sun”
Depeche Mode, “World In My Eyes”
And now, the Friends Of Gloom:
Kenny: Gandharvas, “Watching The Girl”
THE STORY: As a hip young man, I’m not prone to spending much time out in the sun and I’ve never really enjoyed summer. Yet, there is one song that stands out, mainly because of the impact this one song had on my life. I was working as a DJ at a small radio station, and this girl called me. She flirted with me on the phone, and asked if I remember who she was, and honestly, I did not. She proceeded to tell me who she was and to my shock and amazement, I remember her. Now, she was upset about her ex-boyfriend, and she wanted to hear a song. So, because I was bored and a fan of the Gandharvas, I decided to spin her their single from 1998 called ‘Watching the Girl.’ She was impressed with my mad radio skills, and we decided to hang out early the next week. Needless to say, I spent the majority of the summer watching that girl in many interesting positions… Really, it’s the only song that stands out for me relating to the summer.
David: YES, “I Would Have Waited Forever”
THE STORY: It’s an upbeat AOR song that kicks off the Union album. I recall one day in high late high school years when I had the day off from work and it was a bright sunny day and I had the portable cd player in the car, and I was driving around getting food, shopping etc, and I recall thinking how great it was to be so sunny and carefree with energetic good music playing, and why couldn’t life be like that? When hear that song I tend to think of my feelings on that bright sunny day and how great it felt.
Brandon: Everclear, “So Much For the Afterglow”
Rachael: Billy Joel, “Only The Good Die Young;” Cheap Trick, “I Want You To Want Me;” The Eagles, “Hotel California;” Lou Reed, “Walk On the Wildside;” Queens of the Stone Age, “Feel Good Hit of the Summer;” The Prodigy, “Smack My Bitch Up;” Sublime, “Santeria;” and anything by the Violent Femmes, particularly “Blister In the Sun” and “Just One Kiss”
And then there’s Jesse and Rob, who had more to say on this topic in fifteen minutes than I had to say in this whole damned column:
Jesse: Rob says Will Smith’s “Summertime” (Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff)
gloomchen: Yeah, that’s the obvious one
Jesse: Actually, the two I think of immediately are “Boys of Summer” by Don Henley and “In The Summertime” by Mongo Jerry
Jesse: “Smooth” by Santana and Rob Thomas
Jesse: “Hot Child in the City” by Nick Gilder…
Jesse: “Mambo #5” by Lou Bega
Jesse: Rob says “Hell” by the Squirrel Nut Zippers
gloomchen: You guys know exactly what I’m looking for!
Jesse: 38 Special, “Caught Up In You”
Jesse: “California Girls” and “Yankee Rose” by David Lee Roth
Jesse: Bob Seger, “Night Moves”
Jesse: Rob says “Walk the Dinosaur”
Jesse: I don’t get him
gloomchen: bwahahahah man I hate that song
Jesse: me too
Jesse: Chicago, “Saturday In The Park”
Jesse: OOO OOO OOO Meatloaf’s “Bat Out of Hell”
Jesse: “Jack and Diane” by John Cougar Mellencamp
gloomchen: oh that’s definite
Jesse: Al Stewart, “Year of the Cat;” America, “Ventura Highway”
Jesse: Idiot Rob says “Batdance” [Prince]
gloomchen: ahahah “Batdance”!
Jesse: “Batdance.” What an idiot.
Jesse: Gerry Rafferty, “Baker Street” does it for me
Jesse: Todd Rundgren, “Hello It’s Me”
Jesse: Little River Band, “Cool Change” but any Little River Band does it for me…
Jesse: Seals and Crofts, “Summer Breeze”
gloomchen: EEEEEP NOOOOOO
Jesse: No? No what?
gloomchen: No “Summer Breeze”!
Jesse: Okay no “Summer Breeze”
Jesse: Rob says “Shiny Happy People” [REM]
Jesse: That stupid Barenaked Ladies song, “One Week” or whatever
Jesse: Fatboy Slim, “Praise You”
Jesse: That does it for me
gloomchen: that’s definitely more than enough!
And people think I talk a lot about music all on my own. Look what happens when I get encouragement!
Enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the heat, and a friendly reminder from your local power company: keep the air conditioning at 80 degrees and operate all heavy appliances in the evening!
And to think nobody said “Summer of ’69”,