Friday on My Mind: Songs for the Summer

Summertime... best time for listening to music! / photo by Brittney Bollay

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind, the weekly blog post with videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and the fine people at King 5 News. Today is all about Songs for the Summer.

Wednesday officially marked the Summer Solstice and while warmer temperatures have arrived throughout most of the country, Seattle continues to teeter between grey skies and glimmers of sun rays. As we wait with bated breath for the summer weather to remain longer than a day or two, now is the time to pull together your playlists of summer jams. Here are a few songs, along with videos, that we think no one should go without:

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Summertime

Summer of 1991 and “Summertime,” which samples Kool & The Gang’s Summer Madness, was THE song to play loud with the windows down. The West Philly Duo of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince concocted the summer jam of all summer jams. “Summertime” was their biggest hit to date and earned the pair a grammy. How you go wrong with rhymes like these:

give me a soft subtle mix
and if ain’t broke then don’t try to fix it
and think of the summers of the past
adjust the base and let the alpine blast
pop in my CD and let me run a rhyme
and put your car on cruise and lay back cause this is summertime

So 90’s. So perfect.

Bananarama – Cruel Summer

DUDE. 1983- I was young, impressionable, and bananas were my favorite fruit. To me, Bananarama were the female counterparts to Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Free spirited, lots of energy, overalls, and videos made on no budget. I was still getting over my Go-Go’s addiction when this song came along. To me summer was awesome, but for this track, the ladies bemoan the heat and talk about the frustrating parts of a long summer, all while being chased by the cops in a Dukes of Hazzard like fashion. Many a bananas and peels were sacrificed. In all seriousness, at the end there are a few great clips with the Twin Towers in the background. I don’t know about you, but whenever I see the towers in old images it’s as if they’re trying to tell you what’s going to happen. Maybe I’m nuts. Anyway, great summer jam from 1983 and beyond.

Sly & The Family Stone – Hot Fun in the Summertime

The year was 1969 and this song entered the charts the same month that the band played one of the most important festivals in history, Woodstock. This timeless classic should be played during every hot summer day at any given opportunity and just lay back and enjoy the day. EVERY aspect of this song and video are badass. The amazing bass line, great horns, piano lick, and the lyric “That’s when I had most of my fun… those summer days.”


Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues

It was 1958 and Eddie Cochran had to work all summer. This was a harsh wake up call for someone who had become accustomed to being lazy all summer long. The day comes when everyone has to get a job, and with that goes the will to live. “Summertime Blues” was used in the movie Caddyshack giving it even more life and cred.

Janis Joplin – Summertime

“Summertime” is the laid back and somewhat spooky standard by George Gershwin. The song has stood the test of time and is the most recognizable song from Gershwin’s 1939 jazz-opera Porgy & Bess. The staying power of the has been demonstrated through the decades and over 25,000 recordings of the song exist. This song has been sung by the some of the best vocalists in history including this rendition from Janis Joplin in 1968.

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