Each decade has definitive songs that we all love which sing about the hot lazy days of summer. The ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s each gave us iconic songs about heat, fun, romance and lost days of youth that reflect the current events of their time but are still popular today.
Summer Songs of the 1960s
One of the biggest summer hits from the 60s reflects the turbulent times of that era. “Summer in the City” by the Loving Spoonful in 1966 reflects gritty urban life in the heat and features cars horns and jackhammer sounds throughout the song. The song reflects on the heatwave of that summer, the domestic tensions from the Vietnam War and riots gripping the nation.
“Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone from 1969 is happy-go-lucky, light-hearted and reflects on the good things about summer. Released just after the band’s performance at Woodstock, the song peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop list and Rolling Stone magazine lists it on their list of “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
Summer Songs of the 1970s
British rock band Mungo Jerry had a hit in 1970 with the playful song “In the Summertime.” Only taking 10 minutes to write, the band scored a #3 spot on Billboard’s Top 100 singles chart with this carefree song that sold 30 million copies.
“Summer Breeze” by Seals and Croft from 1972 is a harmony-rich, dreamy song about “feeling fine” during the lazy, sweltering months. It’s a radio staple on classic rock stations today and you are sure to hear it many times between Memorial and Labor days.
Summer Songs of the 1980s
Baby boomers hit middle age in the 80s and that was reflected as songs from this decade reminisced about youth. Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” from 1984 longs for the past and mourns the love that got away as Henley sings that “summer’s out of reach.”
Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” from 1983 lives “in-the-now” of sweltering heat, being stuck in the city while everyone else is off vacationing and not spending the carefree months with the one you love. Summer is not always about fun and games and, as this song notes, it can be quite cruel. But it’s catchy synth beat makes you want to dance, despite being sweaty and lonely!
Summer Songs of the 1990s
LFO’s “Summer Girls” from 1999 is another light song about the season but it was never meant for release. Recorded as a demo and containing several inside jokes from the band, this tune with its nonsensical lyrics and ’90s pop references was leaked to a radio station in Washington, D.C. and became the group’s biggest hit.
And finally, you either hate it or love it, but once it’s in your head, it’ll be there for a while. We’re talking about Hanson’s MMMBop. The lead single from its Grammy-nominated Record of the Year, Out of Nowhere, had us all cruising around town singing lyrics of made-up words with a peppy beat for company.
For these and other songs about the lazy, hazy months of June through September, be sure to listen to Pop-Daze radio for the best of the 1960s-1990s and sign up for our Fan Club for games, discounts and special merchandise bundles. And if you missed it, don’t forget to check out Part 1 more great summer tunes!