Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I’m up in the Berkshires for the week while my little guy’s at a morning skateboard camp here with his nephew, my grandson.

On the way up listening to the radio I got to remembering favorite songs that I first heard in summer and that became summer anthems at different points in my life.

So last night, falling back asleep after the dog barking woke me up, I made a little alphabet list, or as much as I could, of my favorite songs that I associate with a particular summer of my life:

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, The Beatles (the summer of…)
BOYS OF SUMMER, Don Henley (I ran into him at a Restaurant in Hollywood that summer and complimented him on the song and video which I have to admit I dug a lot, not that he needed kudos from me)
CALIFORNIA GIRLS, The Beach Boys, CRAZY, Gnarls Barkley
DANCIN’ IN THE STREET, Martha and the Vandellas, (and then several years later, in 1972, Laura Nyro’s incredible version)
FEVER, Peggy Lee (it was banned from the radio when it first came out for being too sexually provocative! So when it finally got back on the air one summer in the 1950s it seemed like it was coming from every portable radio on the beach, those old big ones before transistors)
GROOVIN’, The Rascals, GOOD TIMES, Chic
HEY GOOD LOOKIN’, Hank Williams (I remember falling in love with this song as a boy during a Jersey summer, especially the line about “I got a hotrod Ford” or something like that), A HARD DAY’S NIGHT, The Beatles (the summer of ’64, the film changed my life, or at least my taste in music and what I was playing), HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME Sly and the Family Stone
IN THE SUMMER TIME, ? [had to look it up: Mungo Jerry!)
JERSEY BOUNCE, Count Basie (although I think a lot of swing bands did this tune, the first Jersey anthem I was alive for, or at least I remember my sisters teaching me to jitterbug to the 78 one summer when I was like five or so, though the record could have been from much earlier since my brothers were already teenagers when I was born)
KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE, The Carter Family (I wasn’t around when they first did this, but the summer I married my first wife Lee, she brought a Carter Family album with her, among many other great music she turned me on to, and this song became one of our favorites of that summer)
MOONGLOW AND THE THEME FROM PICNIC (still some of the most romantic music I know for me, I listened to the 45 a lot one summer), THE MESSAGE, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five (?), MY SHARONA The Knack
NANCY WITH THE SMILING FACE, Frank Sinatra (Jersey homeboy’s paen to his wife and daughter, as I heard it, just before he left them for Ava Gardner, sort of like Billy Joel’s reaction to JUST THE WAY YOU ARE, fast forward to UPTWON GIRL)
ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG, Billy Joel (one summer in a loft in what became known as Tribeca my older boy who was eight or nine at the time was in love with Billy Joel’s music so we played it a lot) OFF THE WALL, Michael Jackson (it seems like it was the same “Tirbeca” summer that I couldn’t get enough of this LP and it became the soundtrack for every party I threw in my loft that summer, which by the way was illegal and rented for two hundred a month! And was almost 2000 square feet which my son and daughter would roller skate around in! and Indian Larry parked one of his motorcycles in while he worked on it most afternoons that summer)
PALISADES PARK, Freddy Canon (a Jersey summer anthem that year)
REMEMBER, The Shangra Las, ROCK THE BOAT, (? I forget that group’s name, but this song always reminds me of the late great poet Ed Cox and DC disco joints we danced in those early ‘70s summers [The Hues Corporation! I looked it up])
SUMMERTIME BLUES, Eddie Cochran, SUMMERTIME SUMMERTIME, The Jamies, STAND BY ME, Ben E. King, SURIN’ USA, The Beach Boys, SUMMER WIND, Frank Sinatra, SUMMER IN THE CITY, The Lovin’ Spoonful, SITTIN’ ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY, Otis Redding
THEME FROM A SUMMER PLACE, Percy Faith (or Heath?), TWENTY-SIX MILES ACROSS THE SEA, The Four Preps (I thought of this song every time I looked out across the sea from Santa Monica the summer I moved to Southern California, even though most days the smog kept Santa Catalina hidden from view, but the summer it came out when I was a kid I couldn’t stop dreaming about that “isle”), THE THINGS WE DID LAST SUMMER, The Lettermen (also from the ‘50s and another song I found highly romantic at the time), THOSE LAZY HAZY CRAZY DAYS OF SUMMER, Nat King Cole, TAKE IT EASY, The Eagles
UNDER THE BOARDWALK, The Drifters, UP ON THE ROOF, The Drifters (I associate both these songs with summer but can’t remember exactly which ones)
WILDWOOD DAYS, Bobby Rydell (another Jersey anthem one summer by a guy I later met as he was a friend of a friend of mine from Philly—Rydell’s real name if I remember correctly was actually Riderelli, later used as a name in GREASE), WIPE OUT, The Safaris
YOUNG LOVE, Sonny James?, YAKETY YAK, The Coasters, YOU SHOULD BE DANCIN’, The Bee Gees


Tom King said...

How about plain old Summertime? Let's say the Miles Davis version, or Ella's version in Berlin.

Tore Claesson said...

And Macarena, the huge #1, one hit wonder, the summer of 2002, I think? So childishly banal that it could really make a summer feel free from all responsibilites. Just like a great summer hit should.

Toby said...

"It's My Party" (and I'll cry if I want to), Leslie Gore. Or was it the follow-up that was the summer song?

Butch in Waukegan said...

"The Heart of a Saturday Night" - Tom Waits.

Surprised you didn't mention his (and Springsteen's) "Jersey Girl".

Lally said...

Tom, Summertime is absolutely right. Miles' version from his PORGY AND BESS LP, an album that was one of my top three favorites for years after it came out (still is one of the top) and Janis Joplin's version with Big Brother & The Holding Co. on CHEAP THRILLS, summer of '68 if I remember correctly. Never forget the first time I heard it as I got out of a car and headed into a farmhouse outside Iowa City where poet Darrell Gray was living at the time and throwing a party. As for the others, just don't associate them particularly with any of my specific summers for some reason. But food suggestions, for the most part.

tp said...

The Lovin' Spoonful's album, Do You Believe in Magic?, from the summer of 1966 (in my bio, anyway), is a major summer memory trigger for me. And The Incredible String Band's Hangman's Beautiful Daughter a year or so later---esp. "May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You"--evokes the hot deep summer of the hippy past.

Lally said...

I meant "good suggestions" of course, but "food suggestions" is an interesting idea for a future song list.

lauren said...

I know this has nothing to do with your post, but I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your (much earlier ca. 2007) post about the death of the poet Frank Polite.

I knew him in Berkeley and only today learned of his death, after pulling out a poem he gave me in person at Cafe Med in 1975 called "Lantern" from his Luna Pier series. I've hauled it around in my treasure trove of memory ever since, and just today, seeking to learn more, found your wonderful blog.

I'm going to take the libery of posting some of his poetry in my own blog, for remembrance and pleasure, and hope no one minds.

Thank you........

Lauren Raine