Three songs: Summertime

What with Memorial Day just a couple of weeks away (holy crap!), summer is lurking right around the corner. And so it is somehow appropriate that the third line of the “Song Ask” post asks for a song that reminds you of summertime. Now, I think it is safe to say that for many if not most of us, of the four seasons summer is the one to which more musical memories are tied than any other. And, of course, there is more than one way for a song to put one’s mind into summer mode. Your memory bank might tie a song to a particular time of year based upon when it peaked in popularity as seen through the public eye; other times, it is more about the overall vibe than it is about timing. Whatever works, as they say.   And so, presented to you for your listening enjoyment, three that do it for me:

Night: “Hot Summer Nights” – The summer of 1979 created a ton of memories that remain with me yet today, and this particular song was one of the most memorable entries to that summer’s soundtrack. Blasting from my car radio, thumping through the open door at Gundy’s bar following a softball game…it was the perfect summer song for that particular time in my life. But, at the same time, this song was much more to me than simple background music to those hot summer nights. Although on the surface the song is about friends forming a band, the underlying theme is just as much about the bonds of friendship as it is about making music. And for those who worked at or hung around Nino’s back then, 1979 was probably the year when those bonds really began to take hold – when the Nino’s crew really became something of one big family…which gives the words to the first half of the second verse a meaning beyond anything to do with music:


T. Rex: “Hot Love” – Okay, maybe the title – and the song itself – have nothing at all to do with summer per se. This song was on the air in the earliest summer days of 1971, though, and there was just an indescribable feeling that it conjured within me for no particular reason…a mental image of spending the day at some mythical faraway beach. And, somewhere between the imaginary swimmers, sunbathers, umbrellas, beach balls, and everything else, an unseen radio was playing that endless closing chorus of “la la la, la la la la, woahhhh….”:


Spyder’s Gang: “Waitin Line” – Again, here is one where the content of the song itself had nothing to do with the season. I am not sure why, but the summer of 1972 seemed – even more than usual – prone to many of my favorite songs coming and going far too quickly. This was one of those songs; it got a month of airplay (if that) and then faded into oblivion. But, for whatever reason, it seemed as though every time I went to the local swimming pool in the late summer of ’72, this song was playing on the radio. To this day, the song inexplicably conjures in my mind the scent of chlorine mixed with coconut oil (as well as the memories of where the coconut aromas were coming from, if you get my drift; somehow, trips to the pool took on a more visual aspect that summer). True summer song or not, though, this one deserved a far better fate than what it got…give it a listen:


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