Next to Christmastime, summer is a part of the year that evokes the most emotion. Perhaps it starts in childhood when school is out, and the world seems full of wonder and adventure. Family gatherings, cookouts, playing with friends, and enjoying nature are many kids’ first memories of summer.
Later in life, romance enters the picture. These emotions attached to summer run deep and are reflected in many popular songs.
It is hard to choose a few out of the dozens of songs available, but for you, readers, we have here 13 of the best songs about summer. Let’s get started!
1. “Summertime” By Ella Fitzgerald
Let’s start with Ella Fitzgerald’s “Summertime.” This is one of the world’s most popular songs about this particular season of the year.
This slow-moving lullaby uses a jazzy sound and descriptive lyrics to paint a picture of a hot, lazy summer day in the south. Noticeably, the song’s lyrics talk mainly about positive things such as having your parents by your side. However, an underlying sadness suggests that all may not be as perfect as it seems.
Many musical stars have covered the song throughout the years. Fitzgerald’s soulful voice, though, is just perfect for conveying the depth and emotion of the song.
2. “All Summer Long” By Kid Rock
For many of us, the summers of our youth stand out as enduring memories. With school out and friends around, the nights are long and the possibilities seem endless.
That’s the spirit that Kid Rock reminisces about in his 2007 song “All Summer Long,” from his album Rock n Roll Jesus. It became a hit and somewhat of a comeback for the singer.
The song’s lyrics describe Kid Rock’s youth in Northern Michigan. He and his buddies spent summer at the lake, flirting, drinking, and getting wild. The upbeat tune of “All Summer Long” features the catchy rhythm of “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
3. “That Summer” By Garth Brooks
If one wants a song of looking back to the past, let’s go no further than “That Summer.” Nostalgia abounds in this Garth Brooks song.
“That Summer” describes the experience of a young man who is far from home and in need of a job. He goes to work for an older widow who has been operating her wheat farm alone since her husband died. They eventually develop a passionate relationship—the first the man has ever had.
The story gets told from the young man’s perspective as an adult as he looks back on this pivotal summer in his life. He talks about how the memories have stayed with him all these years.
4. “Cruel Summer” By Bananarama
When we hear the word summer, we automatically think of wonderful experiences. For young adults, this is the time to hang out with a crush or friends. But Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” is the dark side of this season.
The song captures the misery of a summer spent alone after a breakup. It talks about the oppressive heat that’s suffocating as well.
The singer also complains about being on his own, with his lover gone and his friends away, while summer passes by. That’s definitely a frustrating way to spend a supposedly fun season.
5. “Summertime Blues” By Eddie Cochran
When you’re a young adult, making a living is a bummer. More so when you have to balance youthful fun with responsibilities.
That’s what rockabilly star Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” is all about. The song is from a teenage guy’s perspective. He wants to complain about working all summer for a meager salary. He can’t even borrow his parents’ car or take a vacation. He is left wondering what he could do to cure the summertime blues.
As with many popular songs, this one has been covered by many artists, like Buck Owens, the Who, and Blue Cheer. However, Cochran’s version is memorable due to its tune and rocking guitars.
6. “Hot Girl Summer” By Megan Thee Stallion Ft. Nicki Minaj
The song “Hot Girl Summer” by rapper Megan Thee Stallion was everywhere in 2019. When the teaser featuring the song’s title got released in July, girls everywhere jumped on the phrase, making the term “Hot Girl Summer” a viral trend.
The song itself is a danceable jam with lyrics about—you guessed it—being a hot girl. While this may seem like a celebration of shallowness, it isn’t all about looks. The lyrics also refer to being educated, resourceful, and talented.
Deeper meaning aside, it’s a song to have fun while chilling around the pool with friends and feeling feisty, so consider adding it to your summer playlist!
7. “Summer In The City” By Lovin’ Spoonful
Unlike other summer-related songs, Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City” isn’t all about how wonderful summer is. Instead, it talks about the scorching heat and discomfort that comes with it. Surely, many can relate to the “neck getting dirty and gritty” due to sweat and dust.
According to the song, the city becomes different after the sun has gone down. The night brings relief and, with that, the urge to try something fun such as looking for a girl and dressing up.
The song’s chords reflect what the composers wanted their listeners to feel. Minor chords are used during the “daytime” portion of the song; however, the “night” portion shifts to an upbeat major key, signifying the joy the evening brings.
8. “Endless Summer Nights” By Richard Marx
Lots of romances begin—or heat up—during the summer. Unfortunately, many of these summer romances don’t last long. They’re often infatuations built on physical attraction and naturally fizzle out.
“Endless Summer Nights” is Richard Marx‘s ode to a summer relationship that ended too soon. It talks about his sense of loss after the breakup and how he wishes he could be back in his days of carefree lovemaking and happiness.
It’s a pretty standard “love and loss” song. But many folks can identify with it, judging by the song making it to #2 on the charts in 1988.
9. “Summer” By Calvin Harris
While “Summer” by Calvin Harris is mainly an electronic instrumental dance song, it has some lyrics similar to many songs about summer.
The song doesn’t have much lyrics-wise, but it talks about two people meeting in the summer and falling in love. The romance goes bad when the object of the narrator’s affection misleads him.
Despite the sad lyrics, the song has a happy, upbeat tune. “Summer” served as a party song for many young people during the summer of 2014 when it was first released. Now it’s a summer nostalgia song for many of them as they face adulthood.
10. “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of Summer” By Nat King Cole
In our present day, “Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer” might seem a bit hokey. When it was released in the 1960s, it was a novelty song that became popular after superstar Nat King Cole recorded it.
The fun song is an excellent soundtrack for a picnic, a day at the beach, or a dip in the swimming pool. You’ll hear lines about packing up food for the beach or going to a drive-in movie.
It may surprise some that “Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer” was first written and recorded in German and later translated into English for American audiences. It has a couple of clues that it’s German in origin, specifically the shout-out to “pretzels and beer.”
11. “Summertime Sadness” By Lana Del Rey
Some singers get recognized for their edgy songs like Lana Del Ray. Her single “Summertime Sadness” was released in 2012 from her album Born to Die.
The song isn’t explicit in its message, but the music video depicts the true meaning. It’s about a couple who tragically takes their own lives after a breakup and reminisces about better times before they die.
Despite its dark backstory, “Summertime Sadness” ended up being one of the popular dance party songs of 2013. Most people simply enjoyed the beat, and few thought about the grave subject matter.
12. “Summer Wind” By Frank Sinatra
Looks like there are more summer-related songs that talk about falling in and out of love during this season. “Summer Wind” by the legendary Frank Sinatra bears the same message.
The song is about a man who falls in love with a girl and later loses her when she feels the call of the summer wind. We take it that she presumably gets bored of him and decides to do some wandering.
“Summer Wind” has a dreamy tune that effectively paints a picture of a warm, breezy summer’s day. It makes you want to kick back on the beach with an old-fashioned cocktail in hand!
13. “Summer Of ’69” By Bryan Adams
Here’s another nostalgic song to help you reminisce about your summer adventures. “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams reflects on the joys and struggles of a young man trying to figure out his path in life.
He is torn between settling down into a “normal” life and chasing his dream of being a famous rock musician. In between, he ponders his options while enjoying the moments of his youth.
Some people have suggested a racier story behind the song’s title. But likely, it refers to 1969 and the upheaval and changes that went on during that pivotal year in the narrator’s life.
Summing Up Our List Of Summer Songs
Long days, cool nights, and a certain carefree feeling … It makes sense that summer is an inspiration for many artists trying to evoke nostalgia. Whether happy or sad things happen in summer, it’s a season that one can always go back to.
Did you enjoy this list of summer songs? Surely you have recognized many of them. The next time you feel like bringing back summer memories, play one of these songs. Or two or three. Who knows? You might find your new favorites. Let us know!