The Door to Yesterday vol. 3, No 18. Alan Warner. 2019

 

 

 

Hot Fun and Sunny Afternoons. The World Of Summer Songs. The Door to Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 Summer songs fall into two categories…on one hand, they’re compositions that specifically refer to

 the summer season and on the other, songs which rule the charts during the physical summer period 

between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The latter grouping naturally embraces all genres of music ranging

 from The Doors’ LIGHT MY FIRE which was a dominant favorite during the summer of ’67

 and WHEN DOVES CRY by Prince which blew us away in July & August ’84 

thru to more recent chartwinners such as BLURRED LINES 

by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams in 2013 

and OLD TOWN ROAD by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus 

which can certainly claim to be one of the Songs Of Summer of this current year.


In this blog, I’m concentrating on the former category – songs which refer to idyllic vacation days 

of years gone by when school was out, the weather was hot, the beach was the ultimate destination 

and romance was high on the agenda.

 

Here is my personal Top 20 list of outstanding Pop & Rock summer songs of years gone by…


THE BOYS OF SUMMER 

(Don Henley/Mike Campbell) 

by Don Henley

Pro: Don Henley, Danny Kortchmar, Greg Ladanyi & Mike Campbell

 (Geffen: 1984) US #5 Pop & UK #12 both in ’85.


CALIFORNIA GIRLS 

(Brian Wilson/Mike Love) 

by The Beach Boys

Pro: Brian Wilson 

(Capitol: 1965) US #3 Pop, UK #26. The west coast beach and surf culture of the 60’s 

created a slew of summer classics including the Beach BoysSURFIN’ U.S.A and I GET AROUND,

 Jan & Dean’s SURF CITY and Bruce (Johnston) & Terry(Melcher)’s SUMMER MEANS FUN. 


CRUEL SUMMER

(Tony Swain/Steve Jolley/Sarah Dallin/Siobhan Fahey/Karen Woodward)

 by Bananarama

Pro & Arr: Tony Swain & Steve Jolley 

(London: 1984) 

US #9 Pop in ’84, UK #8 in ’83.

  https://youtu.be/AEo_hR9n7ys

   Song was a major hit again in ’98 by Swedish group Ace Of Base.

 

 

Dancing In The Streets. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 DANCING IN THE STREET 

(William Stevenson/Marvin Gaye) 

by Martha & The Vandellas

Pro: William Stevenson 

(Gordy: 1964) US #8 R&B, #2 Pop, UK #4

  https://youtu.be/9KhbM2mqhCQ

  With its ‘Summer’s here and the time is right’ theme, it was later revived

 successfully as a duet in ’85 by David Bowie & Mick Jagger. 

Another Martha favorite for the sunny times: (Love Is Like A) HEAT WAVE.


GROOVIN’

 (Felix Cavaliere/Eddie Brigati) 

by The Young Rascals

Pro: The Young Rascals 

(Atlantic: 1967) US #1 Pop, #3 R&B, UK #8. 

We’ll keep on spending sunny days this way’.  


HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME (Sylvester Stewart) 

by Sly & The Family Stone

Pro: Sly Stone 

(Epic: 1969) US #3 R&B, #2 Pop. 

That’s when I had most of my fun’ 

https://youtu.be/FCgygATJIOY


IN THE SUMMERTIME 

(Ray Dorset) 

by Mungo Jerry

Pro: Barry Murray (Janus: 1970) US #3 Pop, UK #1.   

Originally released in the UK on Pye’s Dawn label. English guitarist Ray Dorset was Mungo Jerry’s lead singer

 and their follow-up BABY JUMP also topped the UK chart. 

IN THE SUMMERTIME was revived by Shaggy featuring Rayvon 

25 years later after Mungo Jerry’s first release.


SCHOOL IS OUT 

(Gary Anderson/Gene Barge)

 by Gary (U.S.) Bonds

Pro: Frank Guida (Legrand: 1961) US #5 Pop, #12 R&B. Written by Gary Bonds 

under his real name Gary Anderson along with R&B saxman Gene Barge whose melody 

A NIGHT WITH DADDY G was the basis of Gary’s debut hit QUARTER TO THREE. 


SCHOOL’S OUT

 (Alice Cooper/Michael Bruce/Glen Buxton/Dennis Dunaway/Neal Smith)

 by Alice Cooper

Pro: Bob Ezrin 

(Warner Bros: 1972) US #7 Pop, UK #1

  https://youtu.be/f0Q9en-GEBU

    SCHOOL’S OUT returned to the UK charts in 2000 via a revival by Daphne & Celeste. 


SUMMER 

(Thomas ‘Papa Dee’ Allen/Harold Brown/Morris ‘B.B.’ Dickerson/Lonnie Jordan/Lee Oskar/Charles Miller/Howard Scott/Jerry Goldstein)

 by War

Pro: Jerry Goldstein in assoc. w/Lonnie Jordan & Howard Scott 

(United Artists: 1976) US #4 R&B, #7 Pop. An addictive slow jam.

  https://youtu.be/041NENL2-I0


SUMMER BREEZE Pt. 1 

(Jim Seals/Dan Croft)

by The Isley Brothers

Pro: Ronald Isley, O’Kelly Isley & Rudolph Isley 

(T-Neck: 1973) US #10 R&B, #60 Pop & UK #16, all in ’74

. https://youtu.be/Vm1fBzWoPFw

  Seals & Croft’s original had been a Top 10 Pop hit two years earlier.

 

SUMMER IN THE CITY 

(John Sebastian/Mark Sebastian/Steve Boone) 

by The Lovin’ Spoonful

Pro: Erik Jacobsen 

(Kama Sutra: 1966) US #1 Pop, UK #8.

 https://youtu.be/QT9_CJOw7E4


SUMMERTIME 

(George Gershwin/DuBose Heyward)

 by Billy Stewart

Arr: Phil Wright

Pro: Billy Davis (Chess: 1966) US #7 R&B, #10 Pop, UK #39.  

https://youtu.be/wFlvza-RknU  

Billy Stewart turned the Gershwin classic on its head with a pulsating brass-driven arrangement.

  

SUMMERTIME 

(Robert Bell/Ronald Bell/George Brown/Robert Mickens/Claydes Smith

Alton Taylor/Dennis Thomas/Rich West/Lamar Mahone/Craig Simpkins/Will Smith) 

by D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

Pro: Hula & K. Fingers 

(Jive: 1991) US #1 R&B, #4 Pop, UK #8.

  https://youtu.be/9YZZkKF27qQ   

Will Smith rapped his way up the charts with DJ Jeff Townes

The song sampled Kool & The Gang’s SUMMER MADNESS

 

 

Eddie Cochran Summer Time Blues.The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 SUMMERTIME BLUES 

(Eddie Cochran/Jerry Capehart) by Eddie Cochran

Pro: Jerry Capehart 

(Liberty: 1958) US #8 Pop, UK #18.

 https://youtu.be/y1uYK8yILTQ 

 Superb teen angst classic. Eddie’s finest 45. 


SUNNY AFTERNOON

 (Ray Davies) 

by The Kinks

A Shel Talmy Production 

(Reprise: 1966) US #14 Pop, UK #1.

  The bard of London’s Muswell Hill, Ray Davies teases the idle rich in this,

 the third of his three Kinks UK chart toppers. 

 https://youtu.be/TYIl6n_SRCI


SURF CITY 

(Jan Berry/Brian Wilson) 

by Jan & Dean

Pro & Arr: Jan Berry 

(Liberty: 1963) US #1 Pop, UK #26.

 The ultimate dream: 

Two girls for every boy’  

https://youtu.be/ERrwjR4ZlfI


UNDER THE BOARDWALK 

(Artie Resnick/Kenny Young) 

by The Drifters

A Bert Berns Prod. 

(Atlantic: 1964) 

US #1 R&B, #4 Pop, UK #45.

 https://youtu.be/PSddD6w5SKc  

Johnny Moore sang lead. 


VACATION

 (Kathy Valentine/Charlotte Caffey/Jane Wiedlin) 

by The Go-Go’s

Pro: Richard Gottehrer 

(I.R.S.: 1982) US #8. 

https://youtu.be/W45qh29wp0U 

 Not to be confused with the similarly titled 1962 Connie Francis seller. 


WIPE OUT 

(Bob Berryhill/Pat Connolly/Ron Wilson/Jim Fuller) 

by The Surfaris 

(Dot: 1963) 

US #2 Pop. 

https://youtu.be/0hXcu-siGqc   

A demented scream kicks off this superlative surf instrumental bolstered by a deliriously crazed drumbeat! 

OK, so it’s not a song per se but a 1987 revival by the combination of The Fat Boys and The Beach Boys 

did contain a lyric. 


And finally, here’s a group of lesser known yet distinctive 45’s…


AUTOMATICALLY SUNSHINE 

(William Robinson) 

by The Supremes

Arr: Paul Riser

Pro: Smokey Robinson/Exec.Pro: Berry Gordy 

(Motown: 1972) US #21 R&B, #37 Pop, UK #10.

  https://youtu.be/591FQbomd6M

   On this track, The Supremes were Mary Wilson, Jean Terrell & Cindy Birdsong.  


DOWN THRU' SUMMER 

(Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice) 

by Ross Hannaman

Arr & Cond: Mike Leander

Pro: Bob Barratt & Tim Rice 

(UK Columbia: 1967)

 https://youtu.be/drm4WecMj2A 

 London-born singer Ross Hannaman

 with an early Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber collaboration; the ballad featured a portion of melody 

that later reoccurred in the song BUENOS AIRES in their 1976 landmark rock musical “Evita”. 


IT’S GOING TO BE A LOVELY SUMMER 

by Albert Jones

A Choker Campbell Production (Kapp: 1970)

 https://youtu.be/pkKw2R3ZjtE

  Leased to Kapp, this was Detroit singer Albert Jones’s second single recorded 

for saxman Choker Campbell’s Saginaw-based label Tri-City. 

Choker’s Big Band recorded  for Motown. 

 

LONG HOT SUMMER NIGHT 

(Jimi Hendrix) 

by The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Pro & Dir: Jimi Hendrix 

(Reprise: 1968)

 On this track from Hendrix’s “Electric Ladyland” album, 

the piano was overdubbed by Al Kooper.


THE OTHER SIDE OF SUMMER (Elvis Costello) 

by Elvis Costello

Pro: Elvis Costello, Kevin Killen & Mitchell Froom 

(Warner Bros: 1991)

https://youtu.be/tR_9f1xuloo  

From Elvis’s album “Mighty Like A Rose”.  


SUMMERTIME, SUMMERTIME

 (Sherman Feller/Thomas Jameson) 

by The Jamies 

(Epic: 1958)

 https://youtu.be/9nMrHN1Bo-E

  Novelty doo-wop song from an east coast group of whom the lead singer was 

Serena Jameson, sister of the song’s co-author & vocalist Tom Jameson. 


Rock on.


Alan Warner



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