Welcome to the Songs of Summer bloghop, hosted by the Armchair Squid, Cygnus and Suze. Please join us by posting 5 of your favorite summer songs and sharing some memories about them. Maybe between us, we can build the perfect soundtrack to accompany us over the next few months. If possible, include links so we can hear these gems. And, if you're in the southern hemisphere, join us to dance those winter blues away!
"This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie is a song I remember from summer campfires. Growing up in the endless asphalt of suburban Maryland, the woods of Pennsylvania and West Virginia were our escape. Campfires were an important ritual, particularly at Cacapon, a West Virginia state park we visited a couple times.
"The Billboard Song" by Doc and Merle Watson was one of many goofy songs we learned at summer camp. The version I remember had slightly different lyrics, probably simplified to teach to kids. Before tracking it down for this post, I'd never heard the song in any other context.
"Who's Next?" was one of many Tom Lehrer songs I learned by heart on family road trips. I've written about Lehrer before here. This was one of the first to catch my ear. I was a map nerd as a child, a sucker for a song with lots of place names. It's also a great summation of international relations in the 1960s.
I have told my "Twist and Shout" story before, here, but as that post was about a different song, I feel I should give "Twist and Shout" its due. The connection to summer: my sister and I went to see Ferris Beuller's Day Off the day after school got out. The movie changed my life. The scene with this song blew me away. I spent the rest of vacation falling in love with the Beatles, the first step on a road of musical self-discovery I still follow today.
My Wife and I have a long-standing joke about George Gershwin's "Summertime." The jazz standard has been recorded over 25,000 times. Every pop singer who sticks around long enough to record his/her covers album inevitably sings it. Whenever we hear a recording by, let's say, Sting, we smile at one another knowingly, "Ah, he has reached the 'Summertime' stage of his career." In fact, I considered simply using five different recordings of the tune for this bloghop but decided that would go against the spirit of the exercise.
Of course, it truly is a great song worthy of homage. But then, which of the 25,000 to choose? I don't know if this one's the best but it's certainly by one of my favorite singers, the great Sam Cooke.
Please be sure to visit others sharing their Songs of Summer. Feel free to add your name to the list as well.