Yeah, pretty much anyone can (and does) make up lists of summer songs. The difference here is the "not as predictable as most" part, which I think will be obvious once you read through the list of songs. And I am proud to say that in the CNN article just out today entitled "Billboard's Hottest Summer Songs," only three of the "top" songs from their list of ten made my list of 40+.
Putting this list together was fairly self-enlightening as well. There were some songs that I just assumed would be on here: Blue Cheer's version of "Summertime Blues," for example. But even though I had played the single to death way back then, when I listened to it now I was like "Man, this kind of sucks." But then some others from the same period, Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime," for example, still sound just as good to me. (I know, lots of people hate that song; I'm not one of them.) This is a fairly even combination of the old and the new. Just like me. (Har dee har har.)
My "Not-As-Predictable-As-Most Summer Mix" is actually a bitchin-made-with-Jam three-CD set [NOTE: I suddenly find myself with an extra set on my hands--if you're interested, let me know] but since I didn't feel like making a playlist that big these are the best of the bunch. Anything that long has gotta have some clunkers, plus they're two different animals, so to speak.
The most ironic thing about this playlist? I really don't like summer all that much, especially the past few.
- Turn Down Day -- The Cyrkle
Although I do LOVE "Red Rubber Ball," this song is great as well but not half as well known.
- It Might As Well Rain Until September -- Carole King
Apparently, this was recorded as a very fleshed-out demo for the song itself, since she wrote it. Her vocals aren't great--especially for the time--but this is a good version of a song that tends to get overly schmaltzy. I especially like the fake rain drops at the end. I definitely wouldn't mind if it did rain until September.
- Surfin' Bird -- The Trashmen
Disagree with me all you want, none of the cover versions of this song are as good as the original. Not the Cramps--and I LOVE the Cramps--and definitely not the Ramones. This one is it.
- Sunshine in a Bag -- Gorillaz
- Let's Twist Again -- Chubby Checker
How do you follow up a classic song that was way bigger than anyone thought it would be? Change the title and the lyrics just a little and basically do it over, a la "Gravy" and "Jim Dandy Got Married."
- Pineapple Princess -- Annette
This song has so many good lines I can't narrow it down to one to quote here. My goal is to someday have a girl consider me her princess, but apparently that's going to happen the same time monkeys fly out of my butt. I was very good at finding a girl who strung me along (on and off, whenever it was convenient for her, of course) for 2 1/2 years, and then dumped me when she finally got a job and started to get her life back on track. Gee, glad I hung in there and supported her all last summer when she was at her lowest and and when I couldn't really integrate her into my life.
- Honolulu Lulu -- Jan and Dean
My most favorite Jan and Dean song.
- Catch a Wave -- The Beach Boys
- Summer Song -- Tuuli
- Cruel Summer -- Bananarama
This song DID make the "Billboard" list, but it was the incredibly lame version by (gasp) Ace of Bass. Oh, the humanity. And this is turning out to be quite the cruel summer indeed. . .
- Wipeout -- The Beach Boys vs. The Fat Boys
You have to hear it. Can I say something about me recently being wiped out, or would that be too pathetic?
- Indian Lake -- The Cowsills
- Pool Party -- The Aquabats
If the spoken part at the beginning of this song doesn't take you back to high school, then nothing will.
- Green Leaves of Summer -- Peter and Gordon
A lesser know but excellent Peter and Gordon song. (It's no "Lady Godiva," but. . .)
- The Summer of Joycelynn Mae -- The Breakup Society
I could go into a whole thing the uncanny significance this band name has to my life, but it's actually kind of sad so I'll spare you.
- School's Out -- Alice Cooper
- Here Comes Summer -- Dave Clark Five
It's a shame that the DC5 was always overshadowed by The Beatles, because they could be subtly brilliant. As in this one, where the line "Oh let the sun shine bright on my happy summer home" is sung to the melody of what's essentially the same line from "My Old Kentucky Home."
- Surf Rider -- Dick Dale
- Sunny Afternoon -- Stereophonics
- All Summer Long -- The Beach Boys
As lame as it is, this is one of my favorite Beach Boys' songs. ("Remember when you spilled coke all over your blouse.") Really, Brian, and you weren't even in the sandbox yet.
- Gidget Goes Hawaiian -- James Darren
The movie: not as good as the original; the song: kick-ass better.
- California Nights -- Lesley Gore
Her Top 40 swan song, and what a pretty swan it is.
- Heatwave (Love Is Like A) -- Martha & The Vandellas
There aren't many songs that you can do the Pony AND the Jerk to.
- See You In September -- The Happenings
Ah, if summer loves were the only thing you lose people to, life would be so much easier to figure out as adults. (Although I wouldn't be at all surprised if this did turn out to be true in my case.)
- Beechwood Park -- The Zombies
Ahead of their time, as always.
- California Sun -- The Riveras
Okay, for baby boomers who used to be in bands, how many learned this as your first song in your very first band--a show of hands. Everyone? I thought so.
- Sea Cruise -- Robert Gordon
- Palisades Park -- Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon
I would see the ads for Palisades Park in the summer comic books and always really wanted to go, but never got to. Terry went with her sister Lorraine and Lorraine's boyfriend though. She said she got so scared on the Himalaya that they actually had to stop the ride so she could get off. Good one.
- Ride the Wild Surf -- Jan and Dean
My second-favorite J&D song.
- I Wanna Be A Lifeguard -- Blotto
Sometimes I miss the 80s, sometimes I don't. This is a don't.
- You're an Ocean -- Fastball
You must be, I mean you've been trying to drown me for the past couple of years.
- Love Letters in the Sand -- Patsy Cline
Much better than Pat Boone's version. Should I admit that this song actually made me cry last night? I think it's the only non "summer is a happy time" song on here. (Besides the last song of the list.) Ironic, since this summer is NOT a happy time for me at all.
- Moonlight Swim -- Elvis Presley
A gem from "Blue Hawaii" (which was not a gem).
- Swollen Summer -- The Bravery
The more I hear these guys, the more I like them.
- Surf City -- Jan and Dean
- Summer in the City -- The Lovin' Spoonful
I like "Six O'Clock" much better.
- In The Summertime -- Mungo Jerry
- Tequila -- The Champs
Definitely what the rest of my summer budget will be spent on. . .
- Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine -- The Fifth Dimension
Is the moon really ever in the seventh house?
- C'Mon and Swim -- Bobby Freeman
Do the dog paddle, baby.
- In the Summertime -- Thirsty Merc
No, it's not the Mungo Jerry one.
- Wipe Out -- The Surfaris
- I Can't Surf -- Reverend Horton Heat
And neither can you.
- Rock-A-Hula Baby -- Elvis Presley
Another great one from "Blue Hawaii." I'd like to be somebody's rock-a-hula baby. Or baby in general. And not just have her say it, but really mean it. Or actually mean anything she said. Oh well, maybe someday.
- Surf Wax America -- Weezer
- Surfer Girl -- Homegrown
No, not that one. This is a summer romance beginning and ending in four minutes. Best line: "Later that day, a friend of mine did tell that she went to Mexico--THAT BITCH!" I have always wanted to say that in a song. (As opposed to muttering it constantly to myself these days, including on the subway and having people think I'm crazy.)
- Theme From a Summer Place -- The Lettermen
- Sealed With a Kiss -- Jason Donovan
- Summer and Sandy -- Lesley Gore
Not one of Lesley's best by any means. But it's SO bad on SO many levels you just can't stop listening.
- Up the Ladder to the Roof -- The Supremes
- Girl Watcher -- The O'Kaysions
Now THAT'S a band name. My favorite part of this song is where they (try) to rhyme "female" with "swell."
- Papa Oo Mow Mow -- The Rivingtons
No, it's not "Surfin Bird" even though lots of people confuse these two songs.
- Vacation -- Connie Francis
I can't say I agree with Connie on the virtues of "vacation." The first one I've taken in years cost me over 700 bucks AND ended up getting me dumped again. (And my friends wonder why I don't like going on vacation. . .)
- Summer Holiday -- Cliff Richards
- Surfing on Heroin -- The Forgotten Rebels
"I'm so doped up, I'm so fucked up, I'm surfing on heroin."
- Glad I Didn't Waste 30 Bucks on a Bottle of Gin
I've heard gin is bitter, how appropriate. You know, when love is mutual, it's the best feeling on earth. But when you find out the other person didn't mean it and you're the only person in love, it hurts so much I can't even describe it. I really can't. Actually that feeling may be second to coming to the realization, hey--you know that person you wanted to share your life with and who you would have done anything for? You obviously didn't ever really know her at all. Not at all, and that is so scary. Oh, NOW I remember why summer has sucked for the past few years. God, is it fall yet?