45 Best Songs About Summer

Best Songs About Summer

All seasons of the year can be amazing, but there’s something magical about summer, isn’t there?

Many of us associate it with hot weather, hitting the beach, going on vacation, and taking a break from normal everyday life, even if we don’t get a lot of time off.

Musicians are just as tuned into this as anyone else. When you think about it, the word “summer” can be used literally, but it’s a territory rich with metaphor as well.

In this guide, we look at some of the best songs about summer or just songs that are great to crank up during the summer. These are sure to brighten up your day. Enjoy!


“Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles

Song year: 1969

“Here Comes The Sun” is a serious ear worm of a song, and a celebration of the life-giving sun. Just listening to it makes you happy and feeling like you’re sitting in the warm glow of the sun on a long summer day.

“Summer Nights” by Van Halen

Song year: 1986

Party-rockers Van Halen brought us this scorcher of a rocker in the 80s, with Eddie’s blistering hot guitar signal and Sammy singing about attractive, scantily clad women on a hot summer night.

As usual, the masterful guitar work, musical arrangement, and unforgettable melodies far outshine the lyrical content, but we don’t mind when the results are this pronounced. My favorite part is the solo section, which gives you a little taste of rock-jazz fusion a la Allan Holdsworth.

“School’s Out” by Alice Cooper

Song year: 1972

To grade school children, summer always meant one thing – complete freedom! Most can’t wait to get out of class, blow off homework, and spend the season playing outdoors.

“School’s Out” is the undisputed anthem rejoicing the arrival of an extended break from the humdrum and monotony of school life.

“The Boys Of Summer” by Don Henley

Song year: 1984

The emotive “Boys Of Summer,” with its decidedly 80s synthpop vibes, sprung from Eagles lead singer and drummer Don Henley’s imagination. And it refers to upper-class boys he saw out and about town, enjoying themselves.

Lyrically, the song embodies several cultural contradictions, but musically, it can still bring the heat.

“Summer Breeze” by Seals & Croft

Song year: 1972

Layers of instruments. Sophisticated arrangements. A melody that tweaks and challenges the ear. What ever happened to music of the 70s? Why would you want to change anything when it’s this good?

This song reminds you of the pleasant life-giving summer breezes that offer a brief reprieve from the heat and make you come alive.

“Saturday In The Park” by Chicago

Song year: 1972

Everything that could be said about “Summer Breeze” could also be said about Chicago’s “Saturday In The Park,” with its masterful arrangement. Lyrically, it’s a bit of a cheeseball, but musically it’s sweltering from start to finish. Would you expect any less from Chicago?

“Magic” by The Cars

Song year: 1984

The thing that The Cars did so well that sometimes goes unrecognized is just how masterful they were at creating memorable musical hooks and melodies. Whether it’s the guitar playing, the synth, or the vocals, every piece of the puzzle is like a polished gem, even if simple.

Layers of simplicity can create complexity though, and that’s something bands like The Cars (and also the Eagles) understood well.

This song expresses the excitement, angst, and even the disorientation of burning love.

“Island In The Sun” by Weezer

Song year: 2001

The obsession of summer love is all well and good. But sometimes you just want to kick back and catch some rays in a hammock. Who’s for a bit of sunbathing?

For those lazy dog days of summer, “Island In The Sun” is the perfect companion. Enjoy your tropical paradise.

“Steal My Sunshine” by Len

Song year: 1999

The oddly paired combination of a growly male vocal accompanied by a gentle female vocal somehow worked for the catchy, repetitive strains and mellowed out vibes of “Steal My Sunshine.” To be fair, it represented a fast-changing time for music.

In the 90s, FOMO wasn’t a thing yet. But if you wanted to express it, this is how you did it. Listen to Len.

“Cruel Summer” by Bananarama

Song year: 1984

For Karate Kid fans, this song will always be remembered as the backdrop of a teenaged Daniel LaRusso’s failed efforts at trying to fit in at a new school and environment.

The song itself is cheesy and melodramatic, and the video hasn’t aged well in the slightest, but it can still hit home for anyone who’s been burned during summer.

“Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Song year: 1991

I’m sure there are differing opinions on this, but for those who say Will Smith didn’t come into his own until he went solo clearly haven’t listened to the boiling beats of “Summertime” and the equally searing rhymes.

If Will sounds like a slightly better Vanilla Ice, or try-hard, it’s only because that’s what hip-hop sounded like back then.

“Hot Fun In The Summertime” by Sly & The Family Stone

Song year: 1970

Sly & The Family Stone’s “Hot Fun In The Summertime” opts for a late 60s ballad vibe instead of the usual tight, sizzling funky beats they band is known for. But as with “Summer Breeze” and “Saturday In The Park,” this song has got a spicy arrangement and a laid-back vibe that’s sure to please.

“Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran

Song year: 1958

“Summertime Blues” is a song with a long history, and you might even know The Who or Rush’s version better. But it all started here with Eddie Cochran.

Even summer can be a downer, and this song reminds us that we’re not alone when the season doesn’t deliver our desires. In that sense, it’s a little like “Cruel Summer.”

“Lovely Day” by Bill Withers

Song year: 1977

A masterpiece plain and simple. From the arrangement to the production, “Lovely Day” is a diamond among ordinary stones.

For a gentle, feel-good in-love groove with expertly sung vocal layers, opt for Bill Withers.

“Dancing In The Street” by Martha And The Vandellas

Song year:  1965

You can banish images of David Bowie and Mick Jagger dancing and singing together from your mind. I’m not sure even Bowie would be proud of that moment were he still here. Van Halen’s celestial rendition was compelling in its own way, but it still stands as a symbol of a band that was beginning to find more differences than common ground.

No, Martha And The Vandellas’ version of “Dancing In The Street” is still the red-hot, definitive version to get you up and moving, and it’s just as catchy as you remember.

“Summer Of ‘69” by Bryan Adams

Song year: 1984

How old would Bryan Adams have to be for the summer of ’69 to be the best year of his life? Suspend such trivial thoughts if you want to enjoy this song for what it is, because let’s face it – it’s not about the year, it’s about how it sounds in a lyric. And to be fair, Adams wrote it with his songwriting partner James Douglas Vallance who is a few years senior.

“Summer of ‘69” is a sentimental ode to simple but enjoyable, restless times of self-discovery in youth.

“Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina And The Waves

Song year: 1983

The up tempo “Walking On Sunshine” is a euphoric favorite, for all those in-love feel-good highs that don’t seem to go away. A perfect song to work up a sweat to as well.

“Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys

Song year: 1993

Truth be told, you’d be hard pressed to find a Beach Boys song that doesn’t evoke images of hot summers, beaches, bikinis, and surfing. “Good Vibrations” is just one draw from their remarkable catalog of music.

Listen to this number and get into the good vibes.

“In The Sun” by Blondie

Song year: 1976

The surf meets new wave “In The Sun” is the perfect tribute to the coastal music that came before it. It would be fun to ride in a convertible down by the beach while listening to this number.

“Goldilox” by King’s X

Song year: 1988

There is something about watching someone from afar that can make you break a sweat. Especially when it’s someone you deeply admire.

“Goldilox” features the smoldering guitar and bass combo of Ty Tabor and dUg Pinnick, but the song itself is about pumping the breaks and cooling the engines out of respect for the one you admire. A rare message in a sexed-up world.

“One More Summer” by No Doubt

Song year: 2012

The moody “One More Summer” dramatizes the ebbs and flows of a passionate and obsessive relationship. The music is a bit reminiscent of U2, and while it’s undeniably catchy, artistically it is one of No Doubt’s better moments.

“Mas Tequila” by Sammy Hagar

Song year: 1999

Another party rock, sports pub anthem from the Red Rocker himself, Sammy Hagar. What else would you expect from one of Van Halen’s lead singers? This song is sure to add fuel to any party, and so is tequila, in the right doses.

“Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses

Song year: 1987

What do you long for in life when you’re going through hell? Well, if you were to ask Axl Rose, he would probably tell you that “Paradise City,” where the grass is green, and the girls are pretty is the escape you need.

The song may start out as a half-time ballad, but it quickly heats up as it approaches the verses, and keeps a high-octane beat throughout the rest of the song.

“In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry

Song year: 1971

“in The Summertime” features a whimsical, laid-back groove. And it’s all about “enjoying the sights” if you get our meaning. We won’t judge.

“Sunny Afternoon” by The Kinks

Song year: 1966

Things seem to be going quickly south for our narrator in “Sunny Afternoon.” Then again, not every summer can be the best one of your life. And as the song suggests, sometimes the best you can do when things go awry is “Lazing on a sunny afternoon / In the summertime.” Nothing wrong with that!

“Summer In The City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful

Music for a tropical paradise

Song year: 1966

What’s not to like about The Lovin’ Spoonful’s infectious “Summer In The City?” Dancing all night has never felt as good as it does in this tune.

“Dancing Days” by Led Zeppelin

Song year: 1973

Innovative Led Zeppelin’s “Dancing Days” is all about the party and how it unfolds on hot summer nights. The slightly out of tune slide guitar gives it a floaty, hippie vibe, and so do the lyrics. This is a secondary Zeppelin favorite.

“Beautiful Girls” by Van Halen

Song year: 1979

For those who refuse to acknowledge the Van Hagar era, there’s always the bouncy “Beautiful Girls” from the early Roth period.

As per usual, Eddie Van Halen’s guitar is a swinging blaze in the celebratory “Beautiful Girls,” and it’s packed with a youthful and frantic energy.

“California Gurls” by Katy Perry ft. Snoop Dog

Song year: 2010

Katy Perry’s cheeky and sugary sweet (also purposely misspelled) “California Gurls” quickly became a party and cruising favorite in 2010. It would be impossible to hit the clubs or even a wedding reception without an appearance by this song.

The Beach Boys may have made California girls the focal point of coastal life, but the sizzling Katy Perry basically made them legendary.

“Miami” by Will Smith

Song year: 1997

Will Smith tore up the airwaves with his disco- and R&B-tinged, hooky hip hop in the 90s, and we ate it up like candy (kudos to anyone who got that reference, wow). But the temperature rose sky high when the sexy and lazy groove of “Miami” told of the hottest beach destination in the world, “the party in the city where the heat is on.”

Smith has since revised his opinion, and has pointed to other destinations as being the “best,” but we don’t mind the plug for Miami one bit.

“Summer Madness” by Kool & The Gang

Song year: 1974

The sexy grooves of “Summer Madness” have shown their auditory curves in more than a few films. If you want to shift the mood from cool to hot in an instant, this classic instrumental is bound to bring the room to a boil. Great for all those private moments.

“Summer Babe (Winter Version)” by Pavement

Song year: 1992

Pavement’s “Summer Babe (Winter Version)” has got that Weezer-esque, mumbling garage rock esthetic. Some call it “noise pop.” You might even mistake the vocalist for Rivers Cuomo listening to it, but it’s not.

The lyrics to this song are abstract, kind of like in grunge music, and I’m not sure they’re supposed to mean anything.

“Walkin’ On The Sun” by Smash Mouth

Song year: 1997

Every part of this song drips and oozes summer. And if for some reason it doesn’t speak to you, the music video should.

It’s a wonder we don’t find this song on more “best of” lists. We know that Smash Mouth ended up being a bit of a one trick pony, but hey, give the boys a break.

This coastally influenced tune is sure to make you feel like you’re walking on the sun, too.

“All Summer Long” by Kid Rock

Song year: 2007

We don’t think too highly of the Skynyrd influenced “All Summer Long,” (it doesn’t make us hot – it leaves us cold) but if there’s one thing we’ve got to give the Kid credit for, it’s knowing where to steal from, something Aerosmith did better than any band or artist you can name.

No surprise a proven formula went hot for the Kid. Throw a few bikini-clad girls in a music video, and let the whisky flow.

“Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx

Song year: 1987

The slow grooves of “Endless Summer Nights” are decidedly sexy and a tad melancholy. Unsurprisingly, the song tells the tale of love gone wrong, and the narrator expresses his desire for his significant other to take him back.

For all those times you find yourself reminiscing, there’s always “Endless Summer Nights.”

“Genie In The Bottle” by Christina Aguilera

Song year: 1999

The moment solo female pop sensations became a proven industry formula, the music scene was flooded by the likes of Jessica Simpson, Many Moore, and of course, Christina Aguilera.

Her debut chart-topping hit is all about treating a girl right if you want her to give you the time of day – which was a rather popular trope in 90s pop music. But don’t expect top 40 to mess with a formulation that prints money. Oh, it doesn’t hurt that the young Christina is smoldering hot in her low-cut top either.

“Summer Kisses, Winter Tears” by Elvis Presley

Song year: 1965

The title kind of says it all. “Summer Kisses, Winter Tears” is basically about finding love in the summer but being left on your lonesome in the winter. That is, generally, the problem with summer love. But no one quite tells it like the King.

“Summer Night City” by ABBA

Song year: 1979

“Summer Night City,” with its up-tempo disco grooves and breathy vocals is sure to heat things up in a hurry. The melodrama makes it especially fun and is quite characteristic of Swedish pop group ABBA.

“Vacation” by The Go-Go’s

Song year: 1982

We’ve all felt like we need to get away at different times, and this 80s pop song is like an anthem for those who can’t wait to go on vacation and hit the beach.

“Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer

Song year: 1979

Dripping with sexuality, Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” is sure to leave you huffing and puffing, and sweaty all over. And it’s worthy of inclusion because it’s Donna Summer. Yep, we went there.

“Summertime” by Sam Cooke

Song year: 1958

“Summertime” was originally composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. But this slinky jazz standard obviously captured the imagination of many a singer, including Billie Holiday, Ricky Nelson, Billy Stewart, and of course, Sam Cooke, because they all recorded their own versions.

We don’t claim that this is the definitive version, but we do give Cooke credit for being terse.

“Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett

Song year: 1977

Parrothead culture is all about the easy-going laid-back tropical life. So, you could say most if not all Jimmy Buffet’s music is tailor made for summer paradise. The easily recognizable “Margaritaville” is certainly no exception.

“Soak Up The Sun” by Sheryl Crow

Song year: 2002

“Soak Up The Sun” became a big hit in the early 2000s. Maybe because it speaks of a typical white-collar life of spending time at the office and wanting to hit the beach instead (although, to be honest, it seems to allude to most “typical” lifestyles). Its relaxing grooves certainly help its cause.

“Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” by Jack Johnson

Song year: 2005

When it comes to beanie wearing beach bum musical culture, Jack Johnson is like the poster child, though these days we can’t find the poster anymore.

This song specifically is about a love that didn’t pan out, but musically, the vibe is easy going and hammock worthy.

“Sunshine Song” by Jason Mraz

Song year: 2009

Jason Mraz is another artist that fits nicely into the “beach bum” category, with the difference that Mraz is genuinely talented and has had some longevity, even if he doesn’t make his presence known on the charts all the time.

“Sunshine Song” is about the fact that things don’t always go your way but that we can all share in the “sunshine.” Go out there and share your sunshine with someone today!

Tops Songs About Summer, Final Thoughts

Summer is a great time to sit back, crank up the tunes, relax, and enjoy the weather.

There are plenty of fair-weather activities that you can indulge in, be it swimming, surfing, or BBQ.

And maybe a summer love story is just waiting to unfold for you, too.

We hope you enjoyed this list and that you’ll come back for more.

Be well!

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