The month of August can feel bittersweet, with the end of the summer season in sight and many schools already starting, but there’s no need to rush it! We still have a nice chunk of time left to enjoy the warm temps with friends. With that in mind, we’ve assembled a brief list of a few songs that play on the word Summer, all full of so much more meaning than just the weather. What are your favorite summer tunes?
- My Sweet Summer by the Dirty Heads: A reggae groove characterizes this catchy, melancholy melody about a lost romance.
- Magic by The Cars: This 80s classic is a happier twist on summer love. If you’ve been reading along with us, you already know how much we love The Cars!
- Girls in Their Summer Clothes by Bruce Springsteen: Before I moved to Boston, I remember hearing a friend who went to Boston University describing what a stunning sight it was every spring to see girls in colorful dresses walking along the Charles following many long, dark months of seeing only people wearing parkas and mittens. When this song came out in 2007, I thought Bruce had truly captured that feeling of strangers around you lifting you up just by the way they’re dressed for the season.
- Summertime, written by George Gershwin as part of the opera Porgy and Bess, has become a jazz standard and has been recorded many times by many people, including the likes of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Sam Cooke. The slow tempo and soulful lyrics evoke the browbeating heat of a southern summer like nothing else.
- Summer Nights, from the musical Grease and as sung by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John in the 1980s movie, feels especially poignant this summer after the ever-lovely and brave ONJ’s passing earlier this month following a decades-long battle with breast cancer.
If pictures are worth a thousand words, a thoughtfully curated play list is worth a thousand memories.
Some of us still recall picking up a three pack of Maxell or TDK cassettes. The nervous energy of getting together friends to make a killer tape. If you were lucky one friend was an artist. The plain jacket provided with the tape was then decorated with cool designs or graffiti titles.
I tried to explain the thought process in buying an LP to my 22 year old son. A week or two’s allowance could buy an album for a mix. An album you liked but your friends didn’t already own. Probably didn’t know more than two songs on it. No cherry picking artists and songs. You were committed.
It wasn’t just listing songs to tape…it was a ritual and efforts were hopefully rewarded with praise from listeners. Creativity lay in the imperfection of making the mix. Names and titles were misspelled as often as lyrics were incorrectly sung. Details of artists were thought to be gleaned from album covers or sleeves, maybe a booklet tucked in the cardboard cover.
Mixes boasted titles like “Grad Party ’87”, “Road Tip ’88” or “Germany Crush”. Apps now auto select, sort and title playlists. BUT…Sometimes a friend will make one with that same caring we had for music when we were young. Those mixes and the ones we remember bring back thousands of memories. We can remember what it was like to be at that time and place and amongst friends. Making those moments…even after a long pause…endless.
Thank you for your Summer Mood Music Sara.
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Thanks for sharing! What a vivid recollection of the mixed tape era. Music history, but great memories for those of us who lived it!