The 100 Greatest Summer Songs of All Time!

4 Martha and the Vandellas
''Heat Wave''
Summer of '63

One of the earliest smashes from Motown's legendary Holland/Dozier/Holland songwriting team, this rollicking song's central metaphor was driven home by music as riveting as Martha Reeves' scorching vocal delivery. With the Vandellas urging her on (''Go ahead, girl!''), the singer seemed to be courting heatstroke as she worked herself up into an impassioned frenzy. Hotter than July.

5 The Drifters
''Under the Boardwalk''
Summer of '64

Sadly, it's now impossible to reenact the romantic scenario dreamily laid out by the Drifters, at least under the boardwalk, at Coney Island; two years ago, the formerly cavernous space under the decaying planks was filled in with sand. (The homeless and all, you know.) But do we cherish the ballad any less as a period piece? Not on your life — this make-out place is a safe haven we can always retreat to in the shade of memory.

6 The Doors
''Light My Fire''
Summer of '67

Anything went during the Summer of Love, or so goes the mythology of the '60s, and this monster proved it. At what other time could a six-and-a-half-minute song hit No. 1 on the pop chart? Credit goes to Jim Morrison, whose voice made sex sound mysterious and dangerous, and Ray Manzarek's interminable lounge-organ solo, which captured what it meant to feel stoned on the beach even if you weren't.

7 Martha and the Vandellas
''Dancing in the Street''
Summer of '64

Martha wasn't just describing a furtive bout of the twist under a traffic light; this was the heralding of a worldwide block party. And, with the civil rights movement taking shape, why not imagine the marches and riots of the early '60s superseded by a coast-to-coast frug-fest? This oldies staple may be long divorced from its context, but it sounds even more celebratory with civic hurts kept in mind amid the partying.

8 Madonna
Summer of '84

The headlines belonged to Walter Mondale's slow death march against Ronald Reagan. But the airwaves succumbed to that poignant opening keyboard lick, burbling disco melody, and masochist-delight lyrics. If infatuation is an essential summer experience, then so is romantic frustration. Pleading while standing up for herself, Madonna scored her first top 10 hit and made romantic disappointment as uplifting as it'll ever be.

9 Sly & the Family Stone
''Hot Fun in the Summertime''
Summer of '69

One of Sly's most sophisticated productions, this remarkable record blended piano, strings, brass, and post-doo-wop harmonies into an enduring hymn to the soul-stirring effects of free time and hot weather. Has there ever been a more meaning-packed non sequitur than ''Bop-bop-a-bop-bop when I want to'' for conjuring pleasures both wholesome and illicit? Buoyant and melancholy, this is one for the ages.

10 The Rolling Stones
''(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction''
Summer of '65

Small wonder this record has endured: It distilled the sexual frustration and angst of the nation's adolescents as succinctly — and catchily — as any song ever has. There was no mistaking this rude little masterpiece for anything but the cry of a male animal in heat. The nagging guitar hook, Jagger's tough, bitter vocals, and that mantralike chorus made this libido-soaked howl impossible to escape or deny.

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