It’s summer, and it’s time to crank up the AC…and the tunes! Here are seven love songs to get you in the mood for summer, for finding that special guy or gal, or simply for enjoying a long walk on the beach.
1. Summer Nights – John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, and the cast from Grease
This ode to summer love is a happy, bubbly sing-along that spreads a triple-fudge frosting of nostalgia on the cake of your memories—one for the fifties style it emulates, two for the seventies soundtrack that produced the song, and three for all the times you danced to this in your high school gymnasium!
2. Summer Love – Justin Timberlake
This song about a man who “can’t wait to fall in love” with his date claims that the emotions he’s feeling and she’s feeling “just can’t be summer love.” Of course, Timberlake’s promise of permanence is disproved at every turn by the sexy groove of the song, by the multiple women in the song’s video, and by the horrendously vapid words of devotion in the lyrics. Still, this song has the beat, vocal beauty, and flickering promise of the summer sun itself—and what could be more appropriate for holiday summering than standing in the shallows?
3. Sleepwalk – Santo & Johnny
This might seem like a strange inclusion, since it’s an instrumental song with no mention of summer in the title. But there’s magic and mystery from this song, performed by a couple of New York kids with a love for Hawaiian guitar, that’s particularly summery. Anyone who’s experienced young love in the sweaty summertime knows that there’s a magic in the mugginess, and this song brings it out faster than a banana cream pie brings out the ants.
4. Summer Madness – Kool & the Gang
Here we have another instrumental, this time a funky, slow jam that was later sampled by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince for their hit “Summertime.” This ode to sexy synthesizers has a Barry White vibe, with a solid bass groove that’s perfect for those hot, hot nights.
5. Sealed With a Kiss – Bobby Vinton
This classic love song evokes a time when long-distance calls were priced out of practical range, and texts and e-mails were just a twinkle in technology’s eye. So the couple in this song was more than able to perpetuate the fatuity of their temporary high school love in this melodramatic ode to staying faithful through a whole three months of hot temptation. The pain of this song is familiar to anyone whose parents’ vacation plans squashed their hopes to get to second base with the hottest girl or guy in the tenth grade.
6. Walking on Sunshine – Katrina & the Waves
This song may be the most danceable, bubbly song in history, a living testament to the happiness and joy and excitement that comes when a casual fling turns into devotion. Sure, it’s a bit cheesy and a bit eighties, but fewer songs are better at getting you pumped when you’ve got the top down and the stereo up and you’re cruising to the beach.
7. Time of the Season – The Zombies
We can’t have an article about summer love without including something written in the Summer of Love, and this refreshing Zombies hit is the pinnacle of coolness on a hot summer day. We don’t know if we totally trust the narrator of this song (“What’s your name? Who’s your daddy? Is he rich like me?!?”), but we don’t question his devotion to making this a time and a season for loving. And what season lends itself better to love than the hot months of summer?
These are just some of the many great summer love songs. We’ve left out tunes by the Beach Boys, the Brady Bunch, and a whole lot of other sunshine favorites.
What are your favorite summer love songs?