While we wait for the elusive "summer song of 2017," let's enjoy these infectious tunes.
Summer is about halfway over and there hasn’t been a true “summer song” song that’s swept the nation. We’re talking about those songs that make you stop and listen from the moment they start, or maybe songs that end on one station and immediately begin on another and always sound fresh.
So while we wait for our favorite artists to release the song which defines this summer, we put together this list of great songs that are instantly recognizable and fun to listen to while driving around on a nice summer day.
1) All I Wanna Do – Sheryl Crow (1994)
Sheryl Crow’s breakthrough hit from her 1993 debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club. This was her biggest US hit, at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it remained there for six weeks. The tune was later covered by English singer-songwriter Amy Studt, at the personal request of Crow.
2) (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones (1965)
One of the most successful bands of the British Invasion, The Rolling Stones released “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in 1965 as a 7″ single. The three-note riff that drives the song was originally intended to be replaced with horns on the final recording, but this idea was later abandoned in favor of keeping the rugged sound of the guitar.
This tune was also featured on their fourth album, Out of Our Heads. It became their first song to reach #1 on the US charts.
3) MmmBop – Hansen (1996)
“MmmBop” was written by the brothers of Hansen when they were just boys. It is by far their biggest hit, reaching #1 in 27 countries. It has appeared on many “Top 100” lists and should be in any conversation about the most perfect pop songs of the last 25 years.
We have posted a more recent version, because we were really impressed with the change in their sound, but if you’d prefer to hear the original you can find it here.
4) Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves (1985)
Irresistible from the first beat and horn blast. Written by lead guitarist Kimberly Rew, “Walking on Sunshine” was released by Katrina and the Waves just before the summer of ’85. The catchy summer hit reached the top 10 in US, UK, and Australia and continues to get air time today. It was estimated in 2010 that “Walking on Sunshine” still brings in about a million dollars every year in royalties.
5) Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra (1977)
ELO released “Mr. Blue Sky” on their seventh studio alubum, Out of the Blue. The song peaked at #6 on the UK charts and #35 in the US. It was written by frontman Jeff after he locked himself away in a Swiss chalet trying to find inspiration. He described what it was like in an interview with BBC radio:
“It was dark and misty for 2 weeks, and I didn’t come up with a thing. Suddenly the sun shone and it was, ‘Wow, look at those beautiful Alps.’ I wrote Mr. Blue Sky and 13 other songs in the next 2 weeks.”
6) Dancing in the Streets – Martha and the Vandellas (1964)
“Dancing in the Streets” was originally written by Marvin Gaye, William “Mickey” Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter, but only became popular after Martha and the Vandellas released it on a single with “There He Is.” It peaked at #2 in the US, #4 in the UK, and became one of Motown’s signature songs. It was later covered by The Mamas and The Papas, Van Halen, and David Bowie with Mick Jagger.
7) Come and Get Your Love – Redbone (1974)
“Come and Get Your Love” was written by Redbone band members Lolly and Pat Vegas. It was the group’s biggest hit, reaching #5 and staying in the top 40 for 18 weeks. It was originally released on their 1974 album, Wovoka, but has since appeared on multiple “Greatest Hits” albums.
8) I Wanna Dance with Somebody – Whitney Houston (1987)
“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” was written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam of a band called “Boy Meets Girl” and was originally intended to be a country song. Producer Narada Michael Walden transformed it into a dance tune and Houston’s singing led to an early Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
9) Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen (1975)
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of those songs that you never, ever, turn off when it comes on the radio; you just raise the volume. It was written by Freddy Mercury for Queen’s album A Night at the Opera. The tune enjoyed commercial success immediately, rising to the top of the UK charts, where it would stay for nine weeks. It became the UK’s third-best-selling-album of all time and has been used in countless movies, TV shows, and pop-culture references.
10) Karma Chameleon – Culture Club (1983)
Culture Club released “Karma Chameleon,” credited to the entire band, on their 1983 album Colour by Numbers. The song spent three weeks at #1, becoming the band’s biggest hit. It was also an international hit, reaching #1 in 16 countries. Frontman Boy George spoke about the inspiration for “Karma Chameleon” in an interview:
“The song is about the terrible fear of alienation that people have, the fear of standing up for one thing. It’s about trying to suck up to everybody. Basically, if you aren’t true, if you don’t act like you feel, then you get Karma-justice, that’s nature’s way of paying you back.”
11) Girls Just Want to Have Fun – Cindy Lauper (1983)
“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was originally written by American musician Robert Hazard, as a demo, in 1979. Cindy Lauper bought the tune from him and turned it into her breakthrough hit, which stayed at the top of the charts for nearly two years. The music video won a Grammy Award and the tune has been covered live or in the studio by more than 30 musicians.
12) Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry (1976)
“Play That Funky Music” was written by frontman Rob Parissi and Wild Cherry released it as a 7″ single with “The Lady Wants Your Money” on the B side. It reached number 1 on the US charts and was listed at No. 73 on Billboard magazine’s “All-Time Top 100 Songs” in 2008.