Summertime season is that time of year that everybody is longing for. Wherever you are in the world, it symbolizes escape, recreation and a renewed sense of spirit. The soul of this spirit has been consistently captured in popular songs that venerate these idealized months.
American films such as Dazed and Confused have tried to represent the coming of age exploits of the American summer kids and bands like the all-American Beach Boys and the unconventional maverick Frank Zappa have all attempted to make songs that sound and feel like a summer’s evening. They may not be entirely realistic, but the following playlist features songs from different genres and decades that heighten life- isn’t that what music is all about?
1. Miles Davis: Summertime (1958)
This effortlessly cool and laconic three minute instrumental perfectly evokes those long summer nights and is one of Davis’ best known compositions. Jazz that could appeal to anyone.
2. Beach Boys: All Summer Long (1964)
The group have created too many songs about the lures of sun, girls and teenage awakening to mention, but none are more effective as this one. Two minutes of pure pop joy that had to be used in the closing credits of a Simpsons summer holiday episode.
3. Janis Joplin and the Holding Company: Summertime (1968)
This slow and heavy number feels like a humid day and is accompanied by the distinctive vocals of the American singer Joplin who tragically died in October 1970. For further listening, her No 1. US hit Me and Bobby McGee is more of a good time summer song.
4. Frank Zappa: Peaches En Regalia (1969)
Zappa may not reference any time of the year here but the summer can be felt in this sweet and breezy instrumental. It would be a mistake to call this background music as it works more effectively as the title to the soundtrack of an imaginary film, unusual for a man equally known for producing withering social satire.
5. Vashti Bunyan: Just Another Diamond Day (1970)
Bunyan’s other-worldly vocals accompany this pastoral, goose-bump experience from the English singer-songwriter’s debut album. The folk album sold poorly upon it’s first release but was brought to public attention after its recent use in a T-mobile advert.
6. Brian Eno: The Big Ship (1975)
Eno’s ambient sound experiment from his Another Green World album manages to place the listener to a hypnotic, trance-like state, almost as if they were floating in an ocean. The ex- Roxy Music keyboardist has never been more engaging.
7. Captain Beefheart: Semi-Multicoloured Caucasian (1982)
This angular instrumental from Don Glen Vliet’s, aka Captain Beefheart final album differs from his surreal Trout Mask Replica album, but is clearly from the same creative mind. The influence that this had on bands like Bloc Party could not be more apparent.
8. Eels: Mr E’s Beautiful Blues (2000)
Life-affirming and wide-screen pop from the maverick musician Mark Oliver Everett, which was later used in the film Road Trip.
9. Ash: Walking Barefoot (2001)
A strident and joyful tune that is the opening track to the Irish three piece’s 2001 Free All Angels album. It’s music like this that has the power to conjure up good memories.
10. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: Clap Your Hands (2005)
This loose and childlike two minute song from CYHSY sounds as though it was recorded
in a carnival, amply accompanied with clapping hands, an accordion and percussive instruments.
A guest post by Tim Woodward.
About the author: Tim Woodward, a 25-year-old student, is based in Cornwall, the land of fantasy novels. He is passionate about any kind of black and white and independent films, classic pop and rock music and lives in a house with people that it’s hard to stop laughing with.